Saving (for) your sporty child’s dreams
03 November 2017
Does this sound familiar?
Your little one is born and the world is their oyster. You will move heaven and earth to give them the moon and the stars and your instinct to give them the best has already kicked you into savings mode. This little one will have the best you can offer.
Your cute, squishy baby soon develops into an active and very mobile little person with distinct traits, habits, moods, and eventually, talents. You can already picture them excelling at everything they take on.
The world’s best supporter - You
Time and time again, research and popular culture tells us that sport helps children socialise, builds character, and teaches valuable life lessons. The values taught run the gauntlet from hard work, perseverance, sportsmanship and being gracious in victory and also defeat.
So of course your child will, amongst other extracurricular activities, take on a sport or two, and of course you will fling open the doors of opportunity for any and every sport they want to pursue. You’ll be there, watching every match, every recital, and practicing a new technique they learned after every Sunday lunch. You’ll buy every piece of equipment, uniforms, socks, a kit bag, sunscreen, a hat, and even more socks.
Soon your baby might grow into a phenomenal sportsperson, or at least an enthusiastic one. This will inevitably lead to more uniforms, better equipment, extra coaching, tours and even more socks.
Preparation, plans and principles
Many true words have been spoken about the value of taking the time to plan and map out goals. This is especially true when your hopes, or that of your child, depend on finite resources such as time and money.
Sporting pursuits can carry a high price, but parents need not sacrifice life and limb while making their prodigies’ dreams come true.
Map it out
As your child grows, consider their phases, and the type and amount of activities you foresee them taking part in. Once your ambitious projections are written down, ask some questions and do some research.
- What programmes do we have access to? Is my child taking part in a school, club, or community programme?
- How much does it cost? Is this activity free or is there a fee involved? Is the fee annual, monthly, or per session/lesson?
- Will my child need an additional uniform for this activity? Will I need to buy a tracksuit or a tutu for their exam recitals?
- Will my child need specialised gear or equipment to take part? Consider every aspect from the big items (like golf clubs or a racquet) to the nitty gritty “accessory” items (like hats and mouth guards).
- Is this activity seasonal or year-round?
- Will my child take part in more activities? Follow the process above and map out the various aspects for each probable activity.
Starting this process well ahead of time will give you more time to prioritise and save.
Plan the work, work the plan
Now that you’ve had a look at what you might be in for in the year(s) ahead, you have a rough idea of the amount of money you’d need to invest in your child’s sporting activities before and during participation.
- Research it
Have a look around at your options for each extra curricular sport you’re considering. Find out what’s available, which free facilities you can enjoy and what discounts your child qualifies for.
Does your local driving range offer memberships that include lessons or a discounted rate for children? Perhaps your municipality has facilities where weekly soccer/rugby/netball/cricket/tennis matches are hosted. You might be astounded at what is available outside of the great school programmes we rely on.
- Try it before you buy it
Your child is the light of your life, but they might not quite light up the athletics track. An activity might fill your child with dread or boredom, rather than joy. Encourage your child to give everything a try to see if they enjoy it, before you start spending your savings committing to annual memberships and equipment.
- Ask, borrow and swop it
Hold back the urge to splurge. This step is important, perhaps the most important of them all. When it comes down to uniforms, practice kit, sneakers and everything it encompasses you could spend a fortune and your little athlete will outgrow it before the season is done.
Reach out to friends, family and neighbours with children a bit older than yours. More often than not, people are happy see the clothes, shoes and equipment their offspring has outgrown put to good use.
Build your network of trust and don’t be shy to borrow a kit bag for your child’s rugby tour or a leotard from a friend’s collection ahead of a dance performance. Ignore the pressure to buy items you will not use regularly.
Second hand clothing shops at schools have become very popular. These clothing banks facilitate the buying and selling of school and sportswear that other kids have outgrown.
- Balance it
When it comes down to equipment expenses, it’s important to know which items will add long-term value. Weigh the value of expensive brand name equipment against how fast your child will outgrow it. Consider if the more expensive equipment: golf clubs, racquets, running spikes will raise your child’s performance enough to justify the expense. More often than not, well-made items from lesser known brands or manufacturers will serve you well.
Remember that investing in items such as a mouth guard, scrum cap and shin pads will add a degree of safety and lets you rest easier, so please include these items in your budget.
- Spread it out - or don’t
Consider how much time will be spent on after-school sporting activities per year. You could spread out activities by signing up for a yearlong programme, or perhaps make the commitment to only one summer and one winter sport. Decide what suits your family and child’s needs best.
- Prioritise it
When you have a grasp of how much pursuing a sporting activity will affect your finances, it makes it easier for you to prioritise it in your overall household budget. Knowing what is most important, will make spending decisions a lot easier from the get go!
As we said, sporting endeavors often come with a price tag, but when your little one takes to the field, the pitch or the floor with their confidence soaring, you will know that this was well worth the investment.
It is never too early, or too late, to start saving. If you would like to investigate the right savings and investment options for you, check out our great comparison tool - click here.
Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.