Any sports parent that has been involved with youth sports for even a single season knows that it can get very expensive very quickly. Before you factor in the costs of transportation, half-time snacks for the team, tournament registration fees, private lessons and so forth, just outfitting your youth athlete for the season can put a sizeable dent in your wallet. Here are five ways to help save money on sports gear and equipment:
1. Buy (or trade for) gently used equipment.
There are some great used sporting good stores out there where you can find gently used sporting equipment for easily half the cost of brand new gear. Since youth athletes grow so fast, some of this equipment might have only seen one season! A lot of used sporting good stores will also let you trade in your own used gear, giving you store credit (sometimes even cash!) so you can buy what you need.
2. Make your own uniforms.
This is a great idea for younger teams (think 5 and 6 year old soccer or baseball). Instead of purchasing more expensive uniforms from a retailer, make your own! All you need is a basic t-shirt and some iron on numbers. If you wanted to get a little more creative and have some team bonding time, tie-dying the t-shirts is also a fun way to make your own uniforms.
3. Create a league loaner program.
Every year kids leave sports programs. Maybe they go on to high-powered travel leagues or school teams, maybe they decide to try a new sport or maybe they decide they want to belong to a different extra-curricular activity like music. For whatever reasons that player graduates out of your sports league, chances are they have a ton of old sports gear and equipment they no longer need. Instead of selling it to a used sporting goods store, you could start a league loaner program. Kids can rent equipment each season instead of buying new gear. As long as the equipment is in good shape, this is a great way to fundraise for your sports organization.
4. Plan ahead and shop for end of season deals.
If you’re fairly confident that your athlete is going to play the same sport next season, you might luck out with some great end of season deals on sports gear and equipment. This is a great time to buy a new baseball glove or hockey stick or other pieces of equipment you don’t need to worry about your athlete outgrowing between seasons.
5. Buy in bulk with team parents.
Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy in bulk for the little things like tennis balls, hockey stick tape and so forth. Instead of having each sports parent buy their own set, get the whole team together and invest in team equipment that everyone will be able to share.
What are you doing to save money on sports gear and equipment? We’d love to hear your money saving tips!