So with the new year underway, maybe one of your resolutions is to be more organized about your finances.
I mean, I know it’s one of mine.
And maybe hockey for one of your kids is on your radar for next session.
But you’ve heard over and over and over how expensive hockey is.
Not going to lie, it is. There are ways to make it less so (hello second hand equipment), but it is expensive. But what I’ve found is that pretty much any sport has the potential to be expensive. It’s just the way it is. For me, I want the boys to find a sport they like. It took me 30 years to figure out that I dislike team sports, but I love the challenge of running. I don’t want it to take them 30 years.
What this means for us is that we have a budget line for Kids Activities. And a separate bank account. I have set up a biweekly transfer to move money to the account since my pay days are every two weeks. (As a side note, I also do this for mortgage pre-payment, it’s not a lot but it has reduced our amortization significantly. Fun fact.)
The Kids Activity line accounts for sports fees, equipment replacement, team fees, travel (because Boy#1 now has out of town tournaments, depending on the coach and the level of hockey he’s in). I also try to account for a week or two of summer sports camp, should they opt for it.
Now, for the love of all that is kind and good and sane, please remember that these are estimates and based only on my experience with our league. For your own peace of mind, do a quick Google search on the hockey association in your area and see what you come up with for fees and such. Ask other parents in your area if you know of any with kids in hockey (or any other sport for that matter).
With that out of the way, I always err on the side of expensive. So I take the higher end total and divide by 26 to come up with what I need in the account for the year. Oh and because there is more than one kid in hockey (lucky me), I multiply by 3. For those of you playing along, this means that I try to put $225 aside every two weeks.
*cue cash register bells*
The one thing that often saves me in this is that not all the money is due at the same time and we are able to split payments over three months. Thank you local hockey association!
Registration opens for our league in June. As mentioned above, we opt to pay the fees over the summer months. Though I’ve planned to have enough saved so that we don’t have to do this next season.
Also this is only for winter hockey. There is a spring hockey session that we forego as our schedule isn’t conducive to spring hockey. And usually by the end of the winter season, our boys are often burnt out on hockey. They need the break as much as we do.
Team fees aren’t due until the end of the first month of hockey (typically end of October in Initiation and end of September for Novice). Equipment….well at this point, we have the bulk of what we need. And in a variety of sizes. After that, thanks to some wonderful, generous hockey parents, we get first dibs on hand-me-down equipment for Boy#1. Thankfully, that equipment lasts us, for the most part, through Boy#3. Hand-me-downs for the win.
Of note, this will change I’m sure as they get older and if they choose to continue with the sport. Registration fees get more expensive, travel occurs more often, equipment becomes more expensive or specialized, and so on.
So, if you follow this, we make payments on hockey costs in June, July, August, September and October.
But wait, there’s more.
You’ll notice that I didn’t include the cost of summer hockey camp. For us, summer hockey camp is a luxury and is dependent on the year and the plans for the summer. The one camp we prefer is approximately $500 per week for a novice player. And registration/payment is due in January. We can wait it out until March, but in order to get the weeks we want, I err on the side of caution and book as early as the budget allows. We’re still figuring out the new normal so I haven’t figured out how the summer is going to look. I expect at least two weeks of camp for each. What type of camp and when still remains up in the air.
Every year we give the boys the option of continuing with hockey or finding a new sport. So far, they have always chosen hockey. Regardless, it helps me to know that I have something set aside to fund their sport of choice.
Do you have a sports line in your budget?
See you at the rink,