There's been a lot of web chatter about how much money parents spend on youth sports these days, baseball included. There are $200 bats, snazzy gear bags, brand new cleats, tournament fees, travel expenses, heat gear, cold gear, etc., etc.... so much to spend to help your kid keep up with the Joneses.
But it doesn't have to be that way. We don't have to always hand the best products and experiences to our children on a silver platter. It wasn't all that long ago that we swung cheap hunk-o-metal bats while wearing Toughskins and sneakers. I'm not against modern improvements to the game, but there are ways to do youth baseball without dipping into that home equity line. Here are some:
1. Buy last year's bat model. It may not have this year's paint job, but it's the same bat and it's $100 less. www.CloseoutBats.com.
2. Or better yet - just use the team gear. Most youth teams have their own bats, helmets and catcher's gear. If they don't, they should.
3. Shop online for discount clothing and cleats. Baseball pants, sliding shorts, undershirts, gear bags, gloves... You can find it all at clearance prices just like anything else. www.BaseballSavings.com.
4. Play Little League Baseball. No child is turned away because of an inability to pay.
5. Play on one team at a time. Playing for (and paying for) two teams during the same season can lead to overuse injuries anyway. Save your money and your kid's elbow.