It’s September and the beginning of a new sports season. How to keep sports for kids fun and frugal?
Select sports that require less equipment. Soccer requires cleats and shinguards while footballs needs several sets of pads, a chin guard, mouthpiece, practice uniform, cleats, and whatever else the coach requires.
Select a sport that can be played as a pickup sport in the driveway or at family parties. This helps ensure that kids practice their new skills, plus it’s a great way to meet new people as kids get older and go off to college. Soccer, baseball, and street hockey are all great pickup sports.
Explore all the available sports programs. The local Y often offers reasonably low cost programs, though some require a program membership for signing up. Another option is a Christian or Catholic CYO. Run by volunteer parents, these are often extremely cheap, but expect to pitch in at times with equipment set up and transporting players to games. Another option is a program through your local township. These can be pricey, and require a lot of time on the part of the parent. However, township leagues often have the financial and organizational ability to set up clinics and camps for players, both beginner and advanced.
Not every piece of equipment has to be new. Garage sales, thrift shops, and the local Goodwill are places to find used equipment, but you’ll have to visit these places often to find equipment. Check your local yellow pages for used sports equipment stores like Play It Again sports. You’re more likely to find what you need in the right size.
Ebay and Craigslist are other places to look, especially if you start looking well in advance of the sports season. I haven’t done Craigs List myself, but I was successful in finding a pair of cleats for my son last year when he was playing football for at least half of what I would have paid in a sporting goods store.