Many kids go from sport to sport, looking for one that fits his or her likes and abilities. You know the drill: soccer one season, baseball the next. Between registration and sport-specific equipment, all this dabbling gets expensive.

IN PICTURES: 8 Money-Saving Tips For Sports Fans

The costs definitely add up once your child decides to pursue a particular sport to a higher level. You can expect to add higher coaching fees, travel costs for competitions (including gas, hotel and food), event entry fees, membership fees and more specialized equipment. While we want to encourage our children to be physically and mentally active, we don't want to go broke in the process. Here are seven ways to help you pay for your child's athletic pursuits.

  1. Individual Sponsors
    Soliciting the financial help of your friends and relatives can be uncomfortable, yet most people you ask would be willing to donate a few dollars to go towards a specific goal. Cite specific reasons why you child needs X amount of dollars before a certain date. For example, "Josh needs $100 to attend a two-day camp that will really help develop his skills as a goalie."
    Depending on your child's age, he or she can be the one to approach friends and relatives. Ongoing support from any sponsor is ideal because it's money you can count on.

  2. Business or Corporate Sponsors
    Chances are slim that you can get signed on with Nike when your kid is eight years old, but you can secure financial assistance from local businesses. Again, it is best to approach the business with a particular goal in mind, or at least a set of statistics. Provide them with the average yearly costs associated with participating in the sport, and the positive individual and community aspects of the sport. Cite possible advertising opportunities, and offer to write a thank-you editorial in your local newspaper.
    Think of creative ways to incentivize the business. Most businesses like to be associated with helping kids be fit and active - it's good PR.

  3. Product Donations
    Rather than donating cold hard cash, some businesses might consider giving products such as equipment, or unrelated goods that can be raffled off to raise money. Make sure the donor approves of the raffle; chances are they will since it can provide great publicity. This can be a good opportunity for a team fundraiser. (Interested in getting your child involved in youth sports? See how much you might expect to pay to play in The Most Economical Sports For Kids.)

  4. Work a Deal with the Organizer
    Some sports, such as gymnastics or tennis, require expensive monthly tuition in order for your child to participate. If you have a special skill that the organizer can benefit from, or you don't mind "volunteering" at the front desk, you might be able to strike a deal for reduced registration. Depending on your skills, you could offer to design their website, repair a piece of equipment or sew costumes. Think of ways you can save the organizer money, and offer it in exchange for payment.

  5. Make a Website
    Many young athletes have websites to let the world know about their dreams (see http://www.michalsmolen.com/ for an example). Be sure the website includes detailed directions for making a donation, such as a PayPal "Donate" button. Donors enjoy seeing what the athlete is up to, so be sure to update competition results and other achievements. Let everyone know about the website, and ask them to share it with people who might be interested.
    Many kids are tech savvy enough to create and maintain their own websites; just monitor it for safety reasons and to ensure that it remains professional and relevant to their sports training.

  6. Fundraising
    People who are reluctant to fork out cash just for the warm fuzzy feeling they get supporting your kid might be encouraged to donate if they get something tangible in exchange. You and/or your child can make something to sell - anything from cookies and cakes (include an ingredient list in case people have allergies), to necklaces or even plants (start the seeds at home and sell when they are ready to plant in the garden). Ask a local business if you can set up shop in front of the store, and if so, advertise in the local newspaper, including the place, date, time, sale items and what the sale benefits.

  7. Put the Kids to Work
    If your child is pursuing an upper level sport, the reality is that he or she will not have much time leftover to devote to making money. That being said, your child can still help out by earning an allowance (even though this is your money anyhow, it teaches the child to work towards a goal and you get some chores done in exchange), or by doing odd jobs as his or her schedule permits. Older kids can mow lawns or babysit; younger kids can offer to feed a neighbor's cat while they are away or pull some weeds in a neighbor's garden. (These affordable sports are self-powered, providing participants a valuable workout, usually in a beautiful setting. Don't miss 7 Affordable Summer Adventure Sports.)

The Bottom Line
Sports are pricey, especially once your child gets to a competitive level. All of the travel expenses, equipment, coaching, memberships, doctor visits (gulp) and fees add up, and you as the parent or guardian have to come up with the money somehow. Rather than mortgage the house, you can hunt and gather bits of money from several different avenues..

Catch up on the latest financial news in Water Cooler Finance: Buffett Speaks Up, AIG Deal Collapses.

Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    Super Savings for Your Super Bowl Party? Bet on It

    Prices for wings, avocados and TVs are all coming down, which will make your Super Bowl 50 festivities less costly.
  2. Investing News

    Are Super Bowl Ads Worth Their High Cost?

    Are Super Bowl ads worth the investment? A look at the cost and how they're received.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The Top 4 Entertainment ETFs for 2016 (PEJ, XLY)

    Learn more about the entertainment sector, the companies that are included and the four ETFs that provide investors with exposure to this industry.
  4. Markets

    Top Investment Banks in the Sports Industry

    Find out why the top investment banks in the sports industry tend to be smaller niche players and are prepared to battle the Wall Street giants for business.
  5. Retirement

    How Pro Athletes Can Choose the Right Advisor

    When it comes to finances, professional athletes can be vulnerable. Here's what they need to look for in a financial advisor.
  6. Investing

    How FanDuel and DraftKings Work

    DraftKings and FanDuel lead the daily fantasy sports industry, supported primarily by advertising, entry fees, media companies and sports leagues.
  7. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Five of the Best Yacht Clubs in Seattle

    Seattle doesn’t have a year-round sailing environment, but there are lots of opportunities for boating enthusiasts, from modestly priced to high-end clubs.
  8. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Four of Miami's Best Yacht Clubs

    Choices abound in Miami for boating enthusiasts, from high-end, high-priced yachting clubs to no-frill groups that still offer races, cruises and more.
  9. Taxes

    Tax Breaks For Volunteering

    Your volunteer ventures could earn you some welcome tax deductions, along with the satisfaction of helping others.
  10. Professionals

    Helping Your Teen Find Their First Job

    Parents can help their teens along the path to landing a first job with these strategies and tips.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Why is Manchester United (MANU) carrying so much debt?

    The takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family beginning in 2005 saddled the historic club with substantial amounts ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are Manchester United's (MANU) largest revenue sources?

    Manchester United is one of the most popular U.K. soccer teams. Its principal stadium is Old Trafford, located in the heart ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Does Manchester United (MANU) own Old Trafford stadium?

    Old Trafford Stadium was built for and is currently still owned by Manchester United Football Club (Man Utd.). This means ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What's the biggest sports endorsement deal ever signed?

    According to Forbes, basketball player Derrick Rose holds the largest endorsement deal as of 2014; the deal is for more than ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the biggest stadium naming rights deals of all time?

    The top three stadium naming rights deals of all time were all for stadiums hosting New York City teams. The largest was ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between a mutual fund and money market fund?

    The Herfindahl-Hirschman index can be used to determine competitive balance in sports. Competitive balance is desired in ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  2. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
Trading Center