Buying Sporting Goods
Think about this for a moment. The moment you dribble the new basketball or kick the soccer ball, it becomes used. Buying new sporting goods is like buying a car and driving it off the lot. Once driven 1 mile the value goes down 30%. As a family of five, and always looking for ways to stay active, I’ve come to realize that buying used sports equipment is the way to go. As our children get older we want to expose them to as many sports as possible. Some sports stick and others are epic failures. When trying to provide those opportunities, as the Frugal Family, we always look for the least impact on the wallet. Here are a few tips to try to get you the best deal on sporting goods.
TIP 1: Talk about the sporting adventure with your family and friends. This is not something intentional, just something you do. We always catch up with family and friends and these conversations just happen. Over the years we have received baseball bats, gloves, catchers gear, footballs, soccer balls, and running clothes for zero dollars. We never ask for the gear, friends and family usually ask if would take gear they want to pass along. Almost all of the gear we received is in great shape. Like I shared before, you dribble the ball once and it now becomes used.
TIP 2: Look to craigslist (www.craigslist.org) and eBay (www.ebay.com) for your sporting good needs. I’ve purchased soccer nets for $5 from a local seller and bought other used gear online from eBay. I’m a marathon runner and love to gather running gear from races I’ve run. After running the Boston and Chicago Marathons I look to eBay to find those items I saw in the stores for a ridiculous amount. I’ve purchased $100 jackets for $30 because they are gently used. Now, not only did I get something I can wear with pride, but I also WON because I got it for 70% off! Winning is part of the Frugal Family motto! Remember, worn once and already reduced to used prices. When shopping, read the reviews, look at the pictures and buy with confidence!
TIP 3: Thrift shops and used sporting good stores can be very friendly. I don’t often use thrift shops for gear only because I want to maximize my time. You never know when they have something in stock or not. At times I can stumble across an item that I might need or know I’ll need for a later date. I was able to buy some used baseballs (new doesn’t matter when trying to build up your collection for batting practice) and a bat recently for my daughter. I shop at used sporting good stores for those hard to find items that I know I don’t want to pay full price. My daughter signed up for a summer golf league and she could either borrow a set of clubs from the school or buy her own. She started with the set from the school and ended up loving golf after only a few weeks. We went to Play It Again Sports (www.playitagainsports.com) and found a used set of kids Calloway clubs for 80% off what they would be the store full price. They were/are in great shape, and my daughter wants to play golf again next summer! Another thing to consider is resale value. When you buy good stuff used the resale value doesn’t fall off a cliff. I had the option to buy the Calloway clubs that were a bit older, or a newer, but used set of off-brand clubs. I went with the Calloway clubs because I knew they were marked down more due to the age of the clubs, and I could get better resale value when it comes time to sell/trade them.
TIP 4: DON’T buy used shoes. This is one thing that can mess up an athlete. As you read this you might be saying “dah,” but I just needed to say it. Used shoes are like used underwear, you just don’t do it. The prior use of the shoe can mess up the new athlete trying to use them. We never buy used cleats, running shoes, or any other type of sporting shoe used, ever.
The goal of this post was to provide you with many options to consider the next time you go out and look for sporting goods. My ultimate goal is to maximize my life, and the life of my family, without breaking the bank. These tips will help you do just that. Now, get out there and get moving!