With the thrill of the Winter Olympics under way, many Americans have been bitten by the sports bug. The Olympics inspire us to greatness, showcasing the top athletes in the world performing breathtaking feats, and this happens to be a time when we see a surge in sports enrollment. Personally, I’m ready to get more active after being cooped up inside during a snow-filled winter, affectionately nicknamed "Snochi.”
Maybe the Olympics have inspired you to try a new sport, work out more regularly or take the plunge and give into your children's plea to enroll them in lessons and sports teams. You've probably realized that all the gear that accompanies most sports can cost a bundle. Luckily, these six tips can help you save on sporting equipment:
1. Buy from consignment stores.
You don't need to buy everything brand new. A great way to save on both new and lightly-used items is shopping at consignment and secondhand stores that specialize in sporting goods. Play It Again Sports is a popular chain, with close to 300 locations across North America, which advertises 20 to 60 percent off retail prices. You can also trade in or consign your own outgrown or unneeded gear to earn some extra cash.2. Ask parents of older team members.
Another great savings strategy is to approach other parents at practice or events. If parents with children older than yours have outgrown uniforms or equipment, you can ask if they'd be willing to sell you those at a steep discount. You're helping them clean out their closet and they’ll likely be happy to give it away to another young athlete. Some leagues even organize seasonal swaps of uniforms and equipment; if this practice doesn’t yet exist for your league, then you can consider helping to set one up.
3. Look on eBay or Amazon.
Online retailers are a great place to look for new and used sporting equipment. You'll find more variety and selection and can easily compare prices and review customer ratings and reviews.
4. Check on Craigslist and Freecycle.
Just as you might check sites like Craigslist or Freecycle for furniture and other household items you need, be sure to look under the "For Sale/Wanted" section of your local Craigslist for the category "Sporting Goods." You'll find an array of used gear, equipment attire, typically on sale for a deep discount. You can also join your local community's Freecycle Yahoo group to get access to all the local listings of free items being offered. Keep your eye open for any sporting equipment or gear being given away.
5. Search Facebook.
Facebook users can easily search and join a “yard sale” group that covers their city, county or region. These groups can be a great place to find used sporting equipment. Through a quick Facebook search you can also find a “sport equipment exchange” in your area, and then request to join the group to see listings.
6. Clearance and end-of-season sales.
Be sure to shop the clearance section at your favorite sporting goods retailer, as well as any end-of-season sales. For example, once baseball season has ended, retailers will typically try to clear out some of their existing seasonal baseball products to make more room for in-season products. Plan ahead and try to purchase items for next season at the end of the current season, when discounts are the highest.Start implementing these six tips when purchasing sporting goods and go for the gold – in savings. Remember to buy used when it makes sense and to use your frugal shopping skills to hone in on the good deals. Soon you'll be good to coach other Sochi-inspired consumers, as they glide to the finish line to save more money and attain the coveted medal of financial freedom.