Friday, August 20, 2010

Sports equipment on the cheap!

Are you ready for some Football! Or Soccer! Or Baseball! Or Dance! Or Golf! Ok...I'll stop now.  Fall sports practice is in full swing in our neck of the woods.  In every field or park in our little community there is a football or soccer practice going on, dance and gymnastics class registrations are popping up too.  I love my girls to be involved in sports and activities, I was as a kid and even had modest track & field and soccer scholarships in college.  Sports develop self esteem, confidence, team work and many other great character traits,  but they can also pack a little punch on the ole' wallet.

Between registration fees, uniforms, gear, equipment and travel parents can shell out a small fortune.  According to a recent NBC report parents will spend an average of $2000 throughout their child's life on sports. Some sports however are much more expensive, here are some yearly averages I found at various websites:

Baseball: $20 - $400 (for AAU) for registration plus $40 to $150 for equipment
Soccer: $10 - $700+ (for competitive travel teams) plus $35 - $200 for equipment
Football $50 - $400+ plus $75-$200+ for equipment
Hockey $450 - $1600++ (for travel teams) + $200 - $450 for equipment
Basketball $10 - $700 (for AAU) plus $40 - $150 for shoes and uniform
Dance and Gymnastics $350 - $1000+++ (for extensive coaching) plus $100 - $300 for uniforms

So, you get the picture, sports are expensive.  But most parents will do whatever they can to ensure that little Billy and Susie have that wonderful childhood experience.  But alas, here are some tips to lower costs:

1. If you know you can't afford an expensive sport like hockey or dance try to steer your child toward something else that is more affordable.

2. If you kid is determined to play an expensive sport ask about payment plans or scholarships.

3. Pitch in! I read that several leagues that allow coaches, assistants, and Board of Directors kids to play free or at a reduced rate.

4. Buy used equipment!!
 This can lead to massive savings and may be the easiest! If you live in a bigger area you have probably heard of Play It Again Sports, a chain store that sells, buys, and trades used sporting equipment.  Right now on their website they even have a $5 off coupon after you select your location.  Another option is my old standby,! A quick search a minutes ago produced $6 Adidas soccer cleats, $4 Nike shin guards, $6 Umbro soccer balls, $12 youth football shoulder pads...the deals go on and on.
Last year when my oldest decided she wanted to do dance I was able to get everything she needed for less than a 20 bucks!  We found $3 NEW Ballet shoes, $0.99 tap shoes, a $4 Tutu, and 2 leotards for $7.50! The cost of just the ballet shoes new was well over $20, I was quite proud of my deal finding, especially since she was a one hit wonder in the dance world and didn't want to sign up again.

5. Set up a trade day with your league.  I was really impressed that our small town youth soccer league does this.  At our end of the season fun day you can bring your equipment that is getting too small and trade it in for larger sizes for free.  It may take a bit of leg worth but may be worth getting it set up in your league.

If anyone else has money saving tips sports feel free to share the comment section!

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