Parents whose children play sports know that back-to-school also means an increase in money spent on uniforms, team fees and equipment. Travel fees are also an undeniable part of the back-to-school sports budget. The recession is already burning some serious holes in many back-to-school budgets, and school sports can add more money stress on top of what’s already there.
If you are concerned about the cost of school sports, here are some things you can do to try and alleviate the pressure on your wallet:
1. Buy Used Equipment
There are plenty of places to buy quality used equipment. If you don’t get essential equipment as part of your team fees, consider buying used. You can find used equipment on eBay (Stock Quote: EBAY) and Craigslist. It is also possible to take advantage of Play It Again Sports. Play It Again Sports offers used sports gear at low prices. Best of all, you can bring in your own used equipment and get store credit, further helping you stretch your dollar.
2. Rent Sports Equipment
Your kids are growing. Chances are, the sports gear you buy this year won’t fit next year anyway. Many school districts allow you to rent sports equipment, and many local parks and recreation programs have sports equipment rental programs. Renting often costs much less than buying—and you don’t get stuck with stuff you can’t use the following year.
3. Shop the Sales
Shop the sales when purchasing sporting equipment. Look for clearance sales of last year’s items. It is often easy to find shoes, shorts and other sports-related clothing that is marked down in order to make room for new items. Sign up for catalogs or e-mail alerts so that you know when the sales are likely to happen. Look for coupons and special events to help you save money.