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Family Money

How much have you spent on your kids’ hobbies over the years? Do you usually buy new equipment or bargain hunt? If you do the former, here’s a challenge for you: can you frugally piece together gear without breaking the bank?

Most of the parents I polled said they shopped at Play It Again Sports for second-hand equipment. A few mentioned buying developmental gear at Weecycled Wardrobe for young children. I’ve found as my son grows, he’s rougher on his gear and buying second-hand cleats are no longer an option. Since we are “invested” in his sport, I have no qualms about buying $100 cleats.

A popular buying option for new gear is Amazon where you can compare prices and get good deals. It’s also a good idea to think about the following ideas before heading out to the big box stores to purchase new equipment:

Buy gently used.

Shop consignment stores, second-hand clothing shops, and eBay for equipment others have loved and are ready to pass along. Don’t be shy about asking parents of older children if they’d sell their outgrown uniforms and equipment. I love getting hand-me-downs from friends and family since I know they wouldn’t use gear/equipment that isn’t safe.

 

Rent to own.

Ask about renting gear with the possibility of purchase. This is a good idea when trying a new musical instrument or other equipment your child will outgrow. Just be sure you understand leasing agreements.

 

Buy basics that are necessary to play and keep them safe, skip the extras.

Share the cost of less utilized gear with teammates like goalie shirts and practice equipment. Go in with other families and buy disposable essentials in bulk like eye grease, sports chalk, and support tape. Make sure you keep dress codes in mind. For example, if your daughter wants to be a budding ballerina, don’t start out with frilly tutus, just buy the basic leotard.

 

Plan ahead and purchase items in the next size or two.

Don’t have that UGH! moment on game day when your child had a growth spurt overnight. I always stock up when I see end of season and clearance sales at my favorite stores or on my biannual trip to the outlets. I also bookmark my favorite stores online.

 

Recoup your money.

When your kids outgrow their equipment, sell to parents with younger children, sell on Facebook Marketplace and other local online sites, or sell it back to Play It Again Sports.

 

Suggested sites from my frugal-minded hive.

Baseball Express 

Dancer’s Wardrobe

Discount Dance Supply

KBI Music Shoppe

Roberson’s

Sierra Trading Post

SwimOutlet.com

As an extra bonus, many of these sites offer discounts to new customers and have a clearance corner, too.

So, it is possible to support your kids’ stardom while keeping costs to a minimum by using these buying tactics. Just keep in mind that after you’ve gathered all the gear for one hobby, your little one’s interests may have already moved onto something else!

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Village Fathers

Village Fathers is a fatherhood education program and support group sponsored by Healthy Families Rappahannock Area. Its goal is to help fathers improve their parenting skills by promoting healthy and positive attitudes towards fatherhood and parenting.

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