The cost of cheerleading can unfortunately make it hard on families to participate or even keep athletes from trying out for cheer at all. Luckily, there are ways cheerleaders and cheer parents can manage the costs of cheer, and there are even things coaches can do to help out. Here are three ways coaches can keep cheer costs down: Choose reasonably priced cheer gear. Just like with any other thing you shop for, you have a choice when it comes to cheerleading uniforms, warmups, shoes, poms, etc. You can get quality products for a lower price rather than paying more for a uniform or other item that isn’t really any better than the budget option. So shop around, read reviews to make sure you’re getting good items, and, ultimately, you’ll save money on your cheer gear costs‚ which will make your cheer parents very happy! Order together. You probably already do this for uniforms, but consider doing it for other items as well, especially ones that are required, like shoes. Rather than just telling your cheerleaders or their parents which cheer shoe to order, place the order together. This way you can take advantage of team pricing options. Plus, many companies offer free shipping on larger orders, so if a group of you place an order together, you’ll likely qualify for free shipping. It might not seem like this will make a huge dent in your overall cheer costs, but these things add up! Every little bit helps. If collecting sizing information and money from your athletes sounds like a hassle‚ and one you won’t have time or patience for‚ put your team captain in charge of collecting the money and sizes, or ask if a team parent would like to volunteer to help. You know cheer parents love to be involved and help any way they can! Hold smart fundraisers. Fundraising can help offset the costs of cheerleading for your athletes and their families. It may sound like a fantasy, but if you run a really successful fundraiser, you could even completely cover cheer fees for the families on your squad! But, who wants to spend all their time fundraising? You are here to cheer, after all! That’s why you need to fundraise smart. There are always stories about teams raising lots of money with their great fundraising ideas. You can brainstorm and think of something that will be easy and effective and, with family and community support, hold a successful fundraiser. A really easy way to do this though is to use fundraising scratch-off cards. You can use these by themselves or along with one of your traditional fundraisers. The way it works is you ask someone to scratch off a section of the card to reveal a donation amount, and then he or she donates whatever amount was revealed. These amounts range from $.75 to $3.00, which may not seem like a lot, but each completed card results in $250 for your team. Since the cards only cost $5, that’s a 98% return on investment. Think how much money you could raise if each team member commits to getting one card filled! Cheer coaches, what other tips do you have for keeping cheer costs down?