We’ve known for a long time how important it is to keep our bodies moving. And it’s easy enough to remember how much we wanted to as kids. Group sports are a great way for our kids to stay active and healthy, learn new skills, boost self-esteem, and burn off some extra energy.
But the one potential downside to playing sports at any age is the price tag. Especially when our kids are at the age that they grow a size or two between sports seasons. TD Ameritrade found that 63% of American families spend from $100 to $499 per child each month on youth sports.
Thankfully, we’ve got a fix for that. Actually, we’ve got several. Read on for our favorite alternative ways to find sports equipment without breaking the bank.
The first rule in saving money and sticking to a budget is to buy used whenever possible. Now, we understand that there are certain items and even full categories of items that we don’t want pre-loved. But sports equipment isn’t on that list.
Buying used is a great way to save money on youth sports and give an old item new life, especially when it comes to some of the pricier sports, like hockey. Some of the best places for buying used sports equipment are Play It Again Sports, Goodwill, local sales, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist.
Whether your kids are gearing up for hockey, lacrosse, soccer, or another youth sport, Play It Again Sports is a great store to visit. This chain buys and sells both gently used and new sporting goods.
If you have gently used gear from last year or the year before that doesn’t fit your kids anymore, bring it in with you and see if you can make a trade. They’ve got locations across the country, making it easy to shop and sell at a store near you.
While they won’t buy back your kids’ old sports gear, Goodwill is another good place to check. Fall and winter sports often involve the most expensive gear. To play hockey, for example, they’ll need skates, pads, helmets, and sticks.
Buying all of this new can get unreasonably expensive. But because a lot of people clean out their garages and get ready for a new school season toward the end of the summer and throughout the fall, now is a great time to find gently used gear at an incredible discount at Goodwill and other local thrift stores.
Speaking of cleaning out garages and basements around the start of a new school year, have you been to any tag sales recently? While the majority of them tend to take place in early to mid-summer, plenty of people host late-season garage sales, too.
If you live in a kid-friendly area, you could get lucky and find used youth sports equipment for next to nothing. And if you’re strolling through garage sales in your neighborhood, you might make a new friend with kids around the same age, which brings us to our next point.
If you’ve been browsing for a bit and haven’t found any budget-friendly sports gear yet, start asking around. Borrowing or trading is another excellent option for finding affordable youth sports equipment. And don’t just casually mention it to a friend before giving up.
Ask your friends, relatives, coworkers, and neighbors with kids around the same age. Most people are happy to help when they can; all you have to do is ask.
When borrowing or trading among friends or neighbors isn’t an option, there’s another community-based platform that might be. Facebook’s Marketplace and Buy Nothing Groups are two favorites among budgeters, declutterers, and busy sports parents.
You can not only browse for the items you need on these platforms, but you can also post about what you’re looking for, too. That way, if someone has a bin full of old sports equipment that they haven’t gotten around to posting, they might see and grant your wish for pre-loved hockey gear.
They may also know someone else who’s getting rid of their kids’ sports equipment from last year, and they can help you connect.
If you’re looking for sports equipment for a full team rather than a kid or two, fundraising is a great way to accomplish this goal. Take a look at this list of the best youth sports fundraising ideas. Some of our favorites: