The 2012 Games have a lot of youngsters starry-eyed with dreams of Olympic glory right now. But an Olympic-sized commitment to a sport can take a financial toll on a family. If your budding Olympian wants to dive into a sport head first, Kiplinger's Personal Finance advises taking things slow at the start.
Kiplinger's Janet Bodnar says, "It's really good to give your kids, I think, a broad experience, but you don't want to overdo it. You don't want to overdo it on yourself, and you don't want to overdo it on the kids."
Sports equipment can be a waste of cash if a child loses interest, so don't buy new right away. "Get something used," says Bodnar. "Get something used first, at least for the first one, maybe even through the first couple of seasons, until the kids, again, really make a commitment to this."
Buy new equipment at the end of a sport's season when items are likely to be on sale. With gas prices still high shuttling kids to and from practices and travel team matches can add up. A carpool is a cost-saving -- and time-saving -- move. And for multiple kids, ask if the local youth league, pool, or gym has a discount for families.