In the current economic climate, we are all looking for ways to save money on the things we buy regularly. One area which can be a significant drain on our finances is buying sporting equipment.

If you are on a tight budget, you may wonder whether sporting equipment is a luxury you can afford. The fact is that most popular American sports require a range of specialist equipment, and this can be expensive to acquire, especially if you are starting from scratch.

A football player needs a helmet, pads and boots; someone even needs to buy the ball. Similarly, kitting out your local little league baseball team requires baseball gloves, bats, balls, clothing and safety equipment. Adults who pursue sport need to spend money on golf clubs, skis and so on.

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The importance of sports

But is it right to spend money on sports at all when money is in short supply? Some would argue that pursuing a sport is an essential part of keeping fit and healthy. Unlike basic exercise, sports also engage the brain and emotions in a meaningful and beneficial way. Plus, even a gym membership costs money.

If you have children, the answer is even clearer. Playing sports as part of a team is an important part of growing up. As well as keeping your children healthy and occupied, playing sports teaches them cooperation, strategy, self-reliance, discipline and the ability to think on their feet, as well as the drive to compete and work hard for something they want. And, if your child cannot take part in sports with other kids, they will be missing out on an integral part of an American childhood.

So, how can you buy and replace vital sporting equipment without breaking the bank? Here are a few money-saving tips.

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Do not always buy new

Used or second-hand equipment can often be just as good as brand new items, at a fraction of the price. Look for thrift stores and yard sales in your area, or check out eBay and Craigslist. If you are buying for your children, ask the parents of older kids if they have equipment that their offspring have grown out of that they want to sell on; just make sure that anything you buy is in good condition.

Invest in cost-effective products

Do your research and find out what items are likely to be durable and last a long time. Do not pay top dollar for something like sports shoes just because they are currently trendy and fashionable, but equally do not try to save money by buying cheap equipment that is likely to fall apart within a couple of months.

Tommie Copper, Inc. has been making quality, durable compression clothing for many years that is an essential addition to any sports wardrobe. Similar examples can be found in every area of sporting equipment and clothing.

Shop out of season

You can get significant discounts on sporting equipment if you buy it out of season or in the end-of-season sales of major sporting stores. Do not wait till the start of the football season to get new boots; buy them at the end of the previous one. Similarly, you should shop for ski equipment in the summer and golf equipment in the winter. All it takes is a little forward planning.

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Trade in your old equipment

If you are thinking of upgrading, or even giving up one sport in favor of another, do not throw away your old equipment or leave it to molder in the closet. Many sporting stores will let you part-exchange your used items in return for a discount on new. Alternatively, you may be able to sell them on eBay and the like, and you will be helping someone else get started on sports as a result.

Buy in bulk

If you, or your child, are part of a team or league, then you might be able to get together with the other players, or their parents, to buy equipment in bulk and get welcome savings. You could also buy equipment on behalf of the team that you own collectively. Sharing items like this can be much cheaper than all buying individually, and also helps foster a team spirit.

Shop at discount stores or online

Discount stores often carry top name brands at greatly reduced prices, and this can include sports equipment. Last season’s lines are likely to be just as good as this seasons. You can also find great reductions online, as web retailers have less overheads to think about than bricks-and-mortar stores.

There are many ways to save money on buying or replacing sports equipment. As a result, there is no excuse not to go out there and play the game.