How Can a Family of (Almost) 8 Afford Athletics?

We have had our share of team practices and tournaments with our oldest daughter -- who was active in volleyball until last year.  During her years playing, we were always at Walmart.  It seemed like we were constantly finding out at the last minute that we needed extra snacks or an extra pair of socks or practice clothes or a gift for the coach!  Having a Walmart open up just 20 minutes from our hometown was such a blessing to us.  It was easy to pop into our Walmart on the way to the game and pick up what we needed.  We never ended up disappointing my daughter or her team.

We admit to being very relieved to have a little more flexibility with the sports that the boys have taken up, however.  Part of the joy of having 4 young boys (and soon to have another one) is that they are creative with their play.  They are almost always outside.  They get dirty, they sometimes get hurt, and they always have fun.  They are also very content to ride bikes, skateboards, and play ball in the yard, something that can be much more affordable than traveling with teams and paying admission for weekly games.  (It's also so much easier to schedule around!)  No organized sports yet for the Knerl Boys!

One way we keep our costs lower on the sports they enjoy is to take advantage of Roll Back pricing at our local Walmart.  My son's new bike was purchased with his own money when it was on Rollback. (You can read the story of how he saved and even had it delivered, assembled, to our door.) We also use innovative ideas to use household goods for storage of all of our sporting equipment.  (We got rid of our garage when we turned it into a spare room.)  See how we used this towel rack from Walmart as a clever way to hang the boys' skateboards in the hallway outside of their bedroom?

We store our helmets, shoes, and protective gear in one place that all kids can access.  When one outgrows something, it's easily passed down to the next kid.  And when accessories like skate shoes get worn or don't fit right as a hand-me-down, we know that picking up a pair at Walmart won't completely kill the budget.

Check out how affordable these OP Nathan Skate Shoes are (just $13.87.)

Compare that to the $40-70 you may pay for skate shoes elsewhere.  (Which is ridiculous when you think that little boys wear shoes for such a short time!)  We can also buy new boards, helmets, and protective gear when they go on sale, which is at least 2 times a year at our local store.

All in all, we know that we are probably spending as little money on sports as we ever will in our lifetimes.  The boys are growing up.  They have new interests every year.  We understand that sports will get more expensive as they join teams, and that we will have to find creative ways to squeeze it into our budget AND take care of their equipment and clothing so that they can last for more than one child.

What ways do you work athletics and hobbies into your family budget?  How would you suggest saving even more money for a family with 6 kids?

As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I've received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.