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Playground Equipment Blog
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Saving on Team Sports

Last week, we discussed some fun outdoor games that can be played as alternatives to increasingly expensive team sports. This week, we’ll discuss some ways that you can lower the cost of team sports to better fit your price range.


Hand Me Downs


This tip works especially well with families that have multiple children that share similar interests. To get the most out of this tip you need to do the following:


  • Plan.
  • If you know that all of your children want to play the same sport, you can start by buying good quality items for the first child and then handing them down. This is only with sharable items like balls, bats, gloves, shorts, jerseys and the like. For more personal pieces of equipment, like mouth guards, shin guards, and cups, you should plan to buy a new one for each child.
  • Teach them basic equipment care. Equipment lasts a lot longer if it is properly cared for. Some equipment needs to be aired out after each use, some needs to be hand washed instead of machine washed, and some even needs special oils. Learn how to take care of your children’s equipment so that you can teach them. And then the hand me downs will last even longer!
  • Reward keeping items in good condition. Anyone that has come from a large family knows that there is always a Pig Pen or destroyer in every bunch. If one child, even if it is the oldest, consistently destroys their equipment, make them the receiver of the hand-me-downs and the other child(ren) get the better quality gear that year. Even if it’s just one small item, it will make the other children feel valued and the destroyer will learn that there are benefits to taking care of their equipment.Anyone that has come from a large family knows that there is always a Pig Pen or destroyer in every bunch. If one child, even if it is the oldest, consistently destroys their equipment, make them the receiver of the hand-me-downs and the other child(ren) get the better quality gear that year. Even if it’s just one small item, it will make the other children feel valued and the destroyer will learn that there are benefits to taking care of their equipment.

Equipment Exchanges


A close relative to the Hand Me Down strategy, you can exchange equipment. Maybe Suzy didn’t like basketball and wants to try soccer and Sam didn’t like soccer and wants to try basketball. You can save some money by having Sam and Suzy trade equipment if they want to try the other sports. If you have enough of a group, children can try different sports over time.


Buy Second-Hand


There are lots of places to get second hand equipment: yard sales, pawn shops, and some sports stores just to name a few. Second-hand immediately lowers the cost and at times, it is almost as good as new.


Ask for Alternative Payment Methods


Spring and summer are always interesting times of year because its when you see the most team car washes. Car washes and bake sales are not the only ways to make money for your child to play a sport. Sometimes, there are ways to volunteer for events to pay fees and purchase equipment for your child. Another popular way to pay is an exchange of services. Some people pay for sports and musical lesson by exchanging babysitting services or lawn maintenance services. Your child may even be able to pay for their own equipment and fees in this way teaching them more about responsibility. Never hesitate to ask, because they just might have a way for you to pay other than cash.


Sign Up Early


Planning ahead is almost always essential to save money. Generally, there will be an early admission cost that is lower than signing up later.


Have Your Child Try it Before You Sign Them Up


This is probably the best way to help your children learn to be savvy spenders. As an adult, you often learn the true value of a dollar, which can be deduced to time spent at work. You’re much less willing to go out and buy the best equipment for a sport if there’s a risk that you might go to one practice and hate it. There’s several ways to get children to try out sports:


  • PE and Gym Classes. That’s right, have them try it out at school! The PE curriculum is designed to build many different muscles groups and skills as well as introducing children to many different sports. If they come home from school after the unit on bowling and want to play, you can always try the next tip before you spend on a sport.
  • Try it as a Family. You can always go outside with a kick the ball around together to find out if they like soccer, set up a night to go bowling if that’s what they’re in to, or just borrow a baseball and bat to play together.
  • Look for Local Events. There are often community groups that host little events or are willing to let you try a game for free.

Team Sports are Possible!


There are definite advantages to playing team sports that are difficult to replicate in an individual setting. As with almost any financial investment, it is worthwhile to take the time to calculate the costs, both in time and money, before taking the plunge in signing up for team sports.


How did you start playing in team sports? Does your family have any ways that they cut costs? Did your family growing up have any tricks to making it more affordable? We’d love to hear them!


Written by: Parker Jones

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