Dealing with the rising cost of playing hockey

If you’re a parent with a kid who loves hockey, you can score and save at the same time.

A poll last week by Scotiabank found that hockey parents will have to spend an average of $849 for the 2014-2015 hockey season. Although that’s down from $1,026 in 2010, some parents are still less than thrilled.

While 65 percent said the hockey season is relatively affordable, one-third (35 percent) disagree – and 4 percent said they expected to pay more than $1,000 on their child(ren)’s hockey season this year.

“Hockey means so much to Canadians, especially for kids as they learn about sportsmanship and working together as a team,” says Ahmad Dajani, a Scotiabank vice president. “It is also a sport that can be expensive for parents, especially as their kids get older.”

And it’s not just equipment, with 74 percent of parents listing accommodations for away games as the biggest expense, followed by food (14 percent) and transportation (12 percent).

Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, offers these tips for dealing with the rising cost of playing hockey:

EQUIPMENT: ASK THE COACH

“As a parent, you should introduce yourself to the coach just to be nice – and also to know who’s mentoring your child” Schwartz says. “But there’s a financial reason, too.”

Coaches often talk to other coaches, and they might know which family is trying to shed some pads or skates quickly. Whether a child has outgrown the equipment or even the sport, not all harried parents have time to advertise a sale, so you might be able to pick some up cheap.

And don’t forget that the federal government cut tariffs on sporting equipment last year, and as the National Post reported last month, “A Bauer Challenger stick previously priced at $49.97 is now $40 after eliminating the tariffs, saving consumers about $10. Shoulder pads, gloves and helmets are also anywhere from $3 to $5 cheaper.”

FOOD AND TRAVEL: PLAN IN ADVANCE

It might offend national pride to take hockey advice from U.S. parents, but USA Hockey Magazine asked hockey moms and dads how they save on food. The answers…

  1. “Mastering the art of crockpot cooking has been both a time and money saver. That way you can prepare delicious and nutritious meals that will be ready by the time the family comes home from the rink.”
  2. “Veteran parents also know the virtues of packing a cooler with snacks that not only provide kids with nutritious snacks, but it also saves a lot of money over the course of the long season by providing an alternative to the drive-through window.”

If you’re looking to save up money for your child’s upcoming hockey season, Consolidated Credit has several budgeting tools to help you manage your money. But if you’re skating on thin ice with your finances, call a trained Consolidated Credit counsellor, who will give you a FREE debt analysis.

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