Fall Sports – New Season, More Gear
Back in 1989, Monday Night Football began asking the question, “Are you ready for some football?” With the 94th season of the NFL just around the corner, they will no doubt be asking us that same question again when the NFL season kicks off. And while the pros have been practicing all summer, school athletics are just now gearing up for the return of Fall sports.
Football is of course only one of them. Let’s not forget soccer, swimming, tennis, cross country, cheerleading and lacrosse, to name a few. Each sport requires equipment, some a lot and some only a piece or two. In an effort to help keep the costs from piling up, here are a few smart ways to save money on youth sports.
Don’t Buy New Gear
Equipment gets expensive, especially the premium brands. If you need new gear from a top brand, use a discount code to find the best deal. Opt out of paying more than necessary by finding gently used items instead. Some strategies for getting the good stuff:
Thrift Stores – Check your local thrift stores for great bargains. Be sure to examine equipment thoroughly prior to purchase, as there is usually a no return policy.
Second Hand Sports Stores – There are stores that specialize in carrying used gear. Expect to pay at least 40% less than new. Check for a nearby Play It Again Sports store or something similar. Ask the manager for your specific item, and if they don’t have it, they will often keep an eye out for it if you leave your number or email address.
Trade – Remember our post last week about organizing a swap? Try it again for sports items as well. It’s amazing how many people have old equipment around that they don’t use!
Borrow – A lot of parents keep equipment to pass on to the next child. Perhaps there is a gap in between ages though, and you can reap the benefits.
Forget the Frills
There are hidden costs of Fall sports as well; the ones that creep up throughout the season. Here are just a few ways to trim those:
Travel Teams – More and more kids are playing on elite teams that travel throughout the season. The additional costs here are immense: gas, food, lodging, not to mention the price paid for coaching. Check in with your child to be sure he is truly committed at that level before committing your budget to it.
Be An Early Bird – There is usually a discount for signing up early. By doing this you can easily save up to $20 per child, per activity.
Carpool – Work it out with friends and neighbors to swap up on driving. This saves both time and money.
Don’t Do Pictures – Chances are good you can get an equally great candid of your child’s team just by asking for the other parents’ help. It’s also likely that many would prefer this kind of picture as well!
When To Spend
There are times when spending will be necessary. Some items should always be new, like mouthpieces. Perhaps you just want to buy new shoes or a new outfit your child will be proud to wear. Regardless, just apply the normal shopping savvy skills you use in other areas and you can still save.
End of Season – Grab end of the year gear at the lowest prices possible before it’s off the shelf.
Rewards, Coupons, Newsletters – Shopping at a store that offers a rewards program can help you cash in for extra savings. You’ll also find many great coupons online for both gear and clothes. Stay vigilant about your favorite store or website’s newsletters so you don’t miss a deal.
Online – Be sure to check out online options before a major purchase. Online retailers often have bigger selections of close-out and bargain gear. And of course, there are always Amazon, Ebay, and SelectAware.com!
Youth sports are a great way for kids to compete, exercise, meet new people, and (most importantly) have fun! You will be able to enjoy it too if it doesn’t break the budget in the process. In a few short weeks you will be cheering on your young athlete and getting caught up in the excitement of the game too. Save money on the gear you need for the Fall sports season, and you will cross your own finish line.