Signing your kid up for a sport or activity is just one of many expenses your family will incur for them to participate. Once they’re registered you will need to make sure they have the appropriate equipment. Of course, some activities have more to purchase than others, but never underestimate how quickly costs can add up for uniforms, shoes, rackets, balls etc. Purchasing sports gear shouldn’t stress you or an already tight budget out. Here are ten tips to save money on your kids’ sporting gear in Des Moines.
1. Swap It
My daughter’s dance studio has a bin for each of the different types of shoes that they use. If your child has grown out of a pair of tap shoes, say midyear, you can look in the bin to see if there are a pair in their size. If there are, you can take them and then leave your child’s old shoes for someone else. I’ve also seen bulletin boards, both real and digital, where parents can post equipment they want to sell. Again, it’s a win-win. You can make a little money back from gear your child has outgrown, and another family can find a great deal on pre-owned equipment.
2. Get the Word Out
Post on Facebook that you’re looking for a tennis racket and you may be surprised how many of your friends and neighbors, not only have one, but that they’ll give it to you for FREE. If your family is like ours, you have sports equipment in the garage that you don’t know what to do with, and would be glad to give it to someone else that will put it to good use. Also, if you know a family with kids that are slightly older than yours and play the same sport, you may want to let them know that you’re willing to purchase their old equipment once their kids have outgrown it.
3. Borrow or Rent It
Especially if your child is just starting out in a sport, look into borrowing or renting their gear. Some leagues loan out equipment for beginners, or you can ask friends and neighbors with older kids if they have anything to share. Sports like figure skating and hockey will allow you to rent skates and other gear, which may help you get through a couple of trial years, before your child decides if the sport is something that they’re going to stick with or not.
4. Consign It
My son purchased his first pair of wrestling shoes at Play it Again Sports and they looked like they had hardly been worn. Resale and consignment stores focused on athletic gear are great places to pick up both used and sometimes new gear. They’re also a great way to make a little money back on your own gear. And don’t forget about regular thrift stores or consignment shops. I was surprised by how many pairs of athletic shoes were for sale at Once Upon a Child. Especially for little tykes.
5. Shop Garage Sales
Keep an eye out for local garage sales and you may be surprised at what you find at them. Again, many families are just wanting to unload equipment to get it out of their basement or garage and you can get it for a fraction of the cost of new. At our last garage sale, we sold a ladies set of golf clubs. They were a perfect purchase for a family with girls just learning to golf.
6. Look Online
Of course you can look on sites like EBay and Craigslist for sports equipment. You can also turn to social media. Local Facebook resale groups can be great places to buy and sell a variety of items, including sporting goods. Keep your eyes peeled for what you’re looking for or you can also post the items and someone may have just what you need at a price much lower than what you’d pay in a retail store.
7. Shop End-of-Season Sales
Kids grow so fast, it can be tricky to estimate sizes. But if you can make a good guess (or have more than one child who needs equipment), you can save money by buying sports equipment at the end of the season–new or used. Make friends with store staff and ask them when the final mark downs for items will take place. Many leagues also receive special discounts at sporting goods stores. Be sure to ask if you can combine discounts for an even deeper savings.
8. Make A Wish List
Sports equipment makes for great gifts for your child’s birthday or for Christmas. When grandparents or other gift givers ask for ideas, be ready with a sports gear wish list. Include basics such as gloves and balls or extras like workout clothes, duffel bags, water bottles and so on.
9. Is It Necessary
This is an especially useful tip for kids just starting out in a sport. Figuring out what is a necessity and what you can live without can save you a significant amount of money. If you have a young baseball player, do they really need baseball shoes or can they just use their regular tennis. Do they need their own bat and batting gloves?
10. Take Care of It
There’s nothing more frustrating than paying for a bunch of sports equipment and then finding out it’s been lost or ruined because it was left out in the rain. Have a discussion with your kids about being responsible for and taking care of their equipment. They need to know how expensive it is and what the consequences are if it’s lost or damaged. Will they not get a new one? Will they have to come up with the funds on their own to replace it?
How does your family save money on sporting gear for your kids?