When your son or daughter begins playing a sport for the first time, there are many things that might make you nervous. How to explain sportsmanship? How can I help them stay safe while playing sports? But what parents might not consider when their child shows an initial interest in a particular sport is how that passion can take a toll on their finances.
As a child becomes more skilled at a sport, the minimal per-season fee can increase to become a costly commitment, especially if you have multiple children who want to participate. The necessary items for a child to be on a sports team, league and tournament deposits, coaching fees, travel costs, equipment, uniforms and other apparel, can not only take up space in your home, but they can also clear out your wallet, costing up to thousands of dollars per year!
Cutting down on the cost of kids’ sports doesn’t have to mean giving up the game. Here are some money saving tips that can help your child, and your finances, win:
Don’t invest until your child is committed to a sport
When your child is still deciding which sport he or she likes best, there’s no need to invest in expensive equipment that might only gather dust in a couple months. Only buy what is necessary until he or she finds the right fit.
Along the same lines, while select leagues may seem exciting, for a child still trying out a particular sport, this type of commitment might be a waste. Instead, start your child off in a recreational league, which only requires a couple hundred dollars to participate, versus a select league, which requires a far more expensive deposit, larger travel fees and a packed schedule of practices and out-of-town games.
Encourage children to try cheaper sports
If you’re child hasn’t picked out their favorite sport yet, push them to try sports that require less upfront costs. Leagues are usually cheaper when kids are young, so that is the best time to try a range of sports that don’t require pricey equipment. Here are some of the least and most expensive youth sports to help you pick the right activity.
Cheap sports for kids to play
Keep an eye on the deals
Many parents and sports organizations support and facilitate trading, selling or buying gently-used uniforms and equipment in order to cut down costs and waste of perfectly good apparel. If you can’t find the items you need in your community, check online retailers for clearance sales.
If you need to travel and are free to book your own lodging, look online for cheap hotel deals on sites like Kayak.com, Hotwire, Expedia and many more. It is also worthwhile to explore hotel loyalty programs, which can help you accrue points for future trips to get future savings.
Search for athletic sponsorship's
Some athletic organizations offer sponsored scholarships for skilled children who lack the financial resources. If you think you have the next MVP, check to see if you are eligible.
Get involved in leagues or organizations
Sometimes you can do more to help your child’s dream, beyond just providing transportation, equipment, and a cheering section. If you have time to become a member of the booster club, you may be able to take advantage of waived fees in exchange for membership.
You may love the heat of summer, but you need to help your car keep its cool when temperatures rise. An engine that runs too hot can damage the vehicle and threaten your safety. Here are some tips we’ve compiled to help prevent your car from overheating:
Preventing Your Car from Overheating
1. Park in the shade
You can feel the temperature difference between the shade and the sun – and so can your car. Parking in the shade not only keeps you cool, but can prolong the life of your car. No shady spot? Use a sunshade to reduce heat inside the car.
2. Tint your windows
A local dealership or auto body shop can apply tinted windows to help keep your car cooler, and protect your interior from sun damage.
3. Use a sun shade
Keeping a sun shade in the car is helpful because you can’t always guarantee that you’ll find a shaded or covered area to park in. These UV heat shields will keep the interior from getting super-hot, plus it protects your interior from the damaging effects of the sun. You might even consider getting a custom-made sun screen that is designed to fit your make and model of car. These special shades can be more effective at keeping all of the rays out.
4. Get rid of hot air
Closed windows trap hot air, and the glass serves as a conductor that helps heat up the enclosed space. Leave your windows open slightly so the air can escape – and if you have a sunroof, crack that, too. Make sure the opening is not large enough for someone to reach through. If you leave your windows cracked, remember to keep an eye on the weather – one sudden summer storm could lead to a soggy interior.
5. Turn the floor vents on
Most people get in the car and turn the upper vents on “high” to get the air flowing. But you’re actually better off directing the air through the floor vents. Hot air rises, so switch to the bottom vents and put your blower on the maximum setting to push that air out. Then, once the car begins cooling, you can open the upper vents again.
6. Use the fresh air setting on your A/C
Using the re-circulation setting means you’re just moving that hot, trapped air around your vehicle, so that’s something you want to use after your car has had the chance to cool down. Give it 10 minutes or so, then switch over.
7. Keep your eye on the temperature gauge
Located on the dashboard, the device has a needle that should always be pointing toward the center. If it points toward hot, pull over, turn off the engine and let the car cool down.
8. Turning on the heat
Turning on the heat may be the last thing you want to do on a hot summer day, but it can pull hot air from the engine compartment and cool the engine. It won’t fix the underlying problem, but it’s a good measure for long drives.
9. Add engine coolant
This is especially important in hot months. To check the coolant level, open the hood and locate the coolant reservoir. The coolant level is shown by indicator lines on the reservoir. If too low, simply add the appropriate amount of coolant and reattach the cap. Engine coolant is often sold as a 50/50 mix of water and coolant. You can also buy concentrated coolant and mix it yourself.
Safety tip: Never add coolant to a hot engine. Wait for the engine to cool before removing the cap or pouring in coolant.
10. Have your cooling system flushed by a mechanic
Even if you keep engine coolant at the right levels, it will eventually get dirty and need to be replaced. Flushing involves draining old coolant from the radiator, cleaning it with flush fluid and adding new coolant. Mechanics recommend a flush every 40,000 miles, but check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation.
11. Consider replacing your battery
If your car battery is older than three years, it may not be providing the power it once did, so your car has to work harder and can overheat. Your mechanic can help you determine whether you may need a new battery.
If you find yourself in a situation where your car overheats, follow these steps to ensure you and your vehicle remain safe:
SPI Reflections Blog
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