As I try to keep my family healthy, I encourage all of us to engage in sports activities as often as I can. Where’s the fun in spending our time huddled in front of the television? I would much rather we spent our Saturday morning at a soccer game or start our morning with a quick workout. I’m convinced that everyone has a sport that he likes; he just has to discover it.
The only downside to sports is the cost of equipment. Soccer players need shin guards. An indoor workout may require a treadmill. Even something as simple as a game of basketball in the driveway requires you to buy a basketball.
So how do I manage to fit the cost of sports into our family’s tight budget? Well, I do not spend an exorbitant amount of money on gear for each member of our family. Rather, I’ve got a few tricks to help me save money on sports equipment:
So many people buy sports equipment for a new sport only to give up the sport in a few months. Their loss is your gain, though. The thrift store in my neighborhood always has a treadmill or exercise bike for sale; I bet the one in your neighborhood does, too. You can also look for used equipment on Craig’s List or at a store that specializes in used sports equipment. Also check out those spring garage sales!
Buy as little as possible.
When you or a family member takes up a new sport, it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying all kinds of gadgets to make the sport more fun. If you end up deciding that this sport isn’t the one for you, you’re left with a bunch of barely-used equipment that you don’t need (see above). You can avoid this problem by only purchasing the gear you have to have right away. Over time, if you stick with the sport, you can always add to your equipment.
Ask your friends and family
When your children want to try out a new sport, ask around to see if you can borrow or even buy used equipment from friends. Kids outgrow gear pretty quickly. My kids have been fortunate that their cousins play the same sport. Gear gets passed down pretty regularly which is a big savings for us!
Don’t think you’re a professional.
Whatever your sport is, you probably don’t need the latest and greatest gear for your sport. If you like to play golf, for instance, you probably don’t need to have the most expensive clubs available at the pro shop. Your five-year-old also doesn’t need expensive cleats to play soccer. Enjoying a sport doesn’t mean that you have to spend a ton of money.
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