You can really spend a ton on your kid's sports, especially if you have more than one child playing. Here are some ways I've cut the cost:
1. Be involved. Many team organizers don't even think about being frugal, but other parents will breathe a sigh of relief when you do. If you're willing to be the team mom, you get to decide on lots of stuff.
2. Hold team parties as picnics in the park instead of a pricey gathering at a pizza arcade.
3. You don't need to buy the team pictures.
4. Give the coaches nicely framed, signed team photos instead of a gift card.
5. Volunteer to get the team banner so you can make it yourself — or ensure it's ordered economically. I saved $30 by picking up ours at a local company myself instead of having it shipped.
6. Look for coupons from sporting goods stores and buy cheap — the kids are probably going to demolish or lose the equipment anyway. A 9-year-old doesn't need a $160 bat he's going to leave at practice.
7. Shop at stores like Play It Again Sports, a chain where you can trade in your old, used equipment and buy more used equipment.
8. Look in the classifieds for used equipment. I found cleats for my son for $20, compared to $70 for new. They'd barely been worn.
9. If you're really in a financial jam, ask the league if there are scholarships available. American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) offers a few to families who can't pay. Look on the national website ( http://www.ayso.org/ ) for details and apply now.
10. Organize an equipment swap day at your league, where everyone can bring their old and outgrown stuff to sell or swap.