Transitioning: Managing Increased Costs of Tournaments
So, your child has taken the big step from a Recreational or Local Team to a Competitive Team. Welcome to the world of Tournament Travel. Now, let’s chat about what that might entail financially. Your family will want to ensure that this move doesn’t put unmanageable strain on your pocket book. Consequently, taking the time to assess the financial expectations of a more competitive league before the season starts will be important. According to a survey conducted by Ipsos for Global News:
“Over the last school year, the average family spent about $1,160 on extracurricular activities for kids, up slightly from the $1,120 parents spent in 2016-2017, according to the poll.
Millennial parents (ages 18-34) seem to be the ones struggling the most, with nearly four in 10 saying that they have gone into debt to pay for their kids’ activities. That compares to around three in 10 (28 per cent) gen-Xers (35-54) and two in 10 (22 per cent) for baby boomers with children under the age of 18.”
Therefore, let’s focus on planning and budgeting now, so that you can avoid going into debt to fund your child’s extracurricular sports.
Moving from Recreational to Competitive Teams
Let’s be honest, transitioning from recreational teams to competitive teams can be accompanied by a whole lot of sticker shock.
- Registration fees are higher
- Tournament play is a requirement (usually including out of town/province travel)
- Tournament travel costs will include hotels, gas, meals, registration fees, coaching/referee fees
- Coaches are generally no longer volunteers but payed and licensed
- There is an expectation to support raffles/lotteries
Take a big breath, put on your big kid pants. Managing Increased Costs of Tournaments starts here.
Here are 5 tips to help you start thinking about managing increased costs of tournaments
Budget in advance:
- First, if you know your are going to have to travel on tournaments next season, make sure that you are consciously setting aside the funds to accommodate those events. Consider, putting a bit away every month so that it doesn’t feel like such a hit in the moment.
Shave off equipment costs
- Beg, borrow (but don’t steal). Keep an eye out for deals and hand-me-downs. Facebook Buy/Sell/Swap pages, Kijiji, friends and family members are all good resources for used equipment. Just make sure you know what sizes you need and that items are in good condition. However, helmets are generally one item you might want new as you can’t be sure what/how many hits they have taken. You know, keep that big ol’ beautiful growing mind safe!
Make gift giving about the sport they love
- Ask friends and family members to think about supporting your child’s sport for Birthdays and at Christmas. After all, wouldn’t a hotel gift card look pretty nice with a bow on top? And what kid wouldn’t love to find a stick/ball/glove/leotard/board/swim cap…under the tree?
Suggest a Fundraiser
- In addition, managing increasing costs of tournaments can be off-set by finding a great fundraising platform/campaign. Ideally, you would want to focus on selling quality products that people want to buy for their families. Using an on-line fundraiser platform takes the stress out of having to manage everything yourself. For example, TeamFund keeps track of sales and profits per participant in real time. You’ll never have to distribute or collect order forms, cash or cheques. Also, there are no upfront costs or campaign set up fees, no need to hold inventory. Just pure profits. It can’t hurt to suggest this to your team managers, it benefits everyone in the end.
Resist guilt driven spending
- Finally, the kids don’t need the best and newest, they don’t need to participate in everything and not all events need to be over the top FUN. Maybe, their equipment doesn’t have that new “fresh out of the bag” smell. But, at least you aren’t up at night worrying about the next Visa statement. Also, perhaps bowing out of the team dinner at the pricey restaurant one time won’t hurt anyone. More importantly, when your team is in the tournament planning stage, do your part to reign in over the top plans. Keep it simple, let them play the game and cheer. It’s all your kid wants anyway.
Final word on Tournaments and Managing Costs
In the end, taking the leap from recreational teams to competitive teams just means thinking ahead and preparing for the increased costs associated with tournaments.
These are just a few ideas for planning for and saving money on tournament travel. If you have any other suggestions to share, we’d love to hear them!