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July 12, 2021

Cost of children's sports out of control: poll

The spiralling cost of enrolling children in organized sports and an increase in user fees for renting arenas, sports fields and other recreational facilities is becoming a real burden for families, reports the Ottawa Citizen.

Almost two-thirds of Ottawa residents believe the cost of sports is too high. More than half say the municipality isn't doing enough to maintain low-cost parks, rinks and gymnasiums, according to a recent survey.

Registration costs have risen in all sports, as the cost of renting facilities has increased by as much as 40 per cent over the past two years.

In addition, sports associations have been faced with a dramatic increase in insurance costs and, in certain instances and provinces, HST woes. The sports groups, in turn, pass those costs on to parents in the form of registration and user fees.

Newmarket Ont., for instance, employs user fees to bridge the gap between the cost to operate and maintain a facility and the amount covered by the tax base. For youth activities, the 2012 target recovery rate is still only 40%. For adults, it’s 70%.

Many families spend as much as $6,000 a year on sports-related expenses for their children. While some try and pare this down by buying used equipment, car pooling and steering clear of more expensive sports like hockey in favour or soccer or basketball, others simply stay home.

We may want to provide a large number of activities for our children to experience, but the reality is that it's just too expensive to be involved in everything. Although it's tough sometimes, have your child choose his or her favourite activities.

Here are a few more tips to help you save when it comes to your child's sport experience.

Has your family shouldered these expenses and still had a great time through sports? What’s your secret to stretching those dollars?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...