Free or Cheap Sports Equipment for Low-Income Families
This information is current as of July 6, 2022.
Having kids involved in sports, whether it is baseball, football, volleyball, gymnastics, or cheerleading. The first concern that arises is affordability. This is especially true if you are already in a tight spot. So, what can you do? What are your options when on a budget?
There are a variety of ways to approach this. Consult the classified ads in your local paper. Jump on the Facebook Marketplace or any other local sales apps. Check out any local bulletin boards in your grocery stores or other retailers. Hit up your local gyms or try Freecycle.org.
Of course, there is more than one way. Still, it’s important to get out there, socialize, or even advertise yourself and what you need on local groups such as the NextDoor app, which is essentially Facebook focused on your local neighborhood.
Use Selling Apps
Some of the best appropriate local apps out there include Nextdoor, eBay, OfferUp, Poshmark, Tradesy, Meta Marketplace (Facebook), Declutter, and 5miles. All these apps have their own way of doing things and you do have to be careful when buying and selling on any of them.
You first need to look out for “too good to be true” sales on these platforms. Often, if it seems like a deal far too good to be true, that’s because it is. You must look out when dealing with strangers too.
When it comes to your personal safety using these apps, try to only buy from those who have been on the platform for a while and have good reviews from several customers. Always meet in a public place and, if possible, bring someone with you.
When it comes to apps, it’s always best to download as many of them as possible. All the above-listed apps are great, but the more you have on your phone, the better your chances of finding what you are looking for.
Many people who want to sell their used sports equipment on these apps are only going to use one, maybe two, apps at a time. It’s a pain to set up something for sale on a whole bunch of platforms, so it’s easier for them to just try and sell their equipment from one or two.
When you use a platform like eBay, ensure it is set on local items only. That way, you can look in your own area, and you can meet rather than have to pay extra money for shipping costs.
This is one of the best methods to go about when you’re looking for free or cheap sports equipment for low-income families.
Sports Equipment Retailers
We’re not talking about Academy or Dick’s Sporting Goods here. While those places are great for finding the equipment that your kids need, they only sell brand new and expensive equipment, which is precisely what you are trying to avoid.
Your primary focus should be local equipment retailers. We cannot give you a brand name of a local retailer because everybody’s local retailer is different than everybody else’s local retailer.
Sometimes parents turn in their kid’s equipment to these local retailers, especially for discounts on newer equipment. These local retailers are also highly involved with local elementary, middle, and high school sports teams, including all the surrounding league teams.
You can seek out used equipment at these places and, if you’re open and social, find some pretty extraordinary tips and tricks from the people working there.
Be More Social at Sporting Events
There are two things at play here – your pride and your ability to be social. Some of us are introverts. Introverts are the last people that you will find engaging people in conversations
Pride is a hard one. However, you should think about it like this: No one you talk to involved in your child’s sport is as important as your child. No one. Who cares what they think about your financial situation? Their opinion of you will not change your finances one way or another.
It’s best to get out there and talk to other parents participating in the same sport as your child. Some of these parents have equipment at home that their kids are now too big to use and may be willing to help you out.
Other parents are also sources of knowledge, especially if you and your kids are just getting into a particular league or school sport. Even if they don’t have any equipment you can use, they might know where you can go to get it at a reasonable price or someone else who would be willing to part with some old equipment.
Remember, your child doesn’t understand your pride at the end of the day. Your child doesn’t understand your financial situation. Your child does not understand your tendency to be an introvert and avoid social engagement. Your child will understand that you are working hard, trying to allow them to play the sport they love.
That’s all that matters.
Pay Attention to Classifieds and Local Bulletins
With the popularity of technology, smartphones, and online interactivity or socializing, people often forget the old ways of doing things are still around. You can go to any of your local convenience stores in the morning and grab a paper for $0.50.
Your grocery stores and other local retail businesses often have bulletins all over their walls, incredibly close to the entrances and exits. Remember, these local stores often sponsor local leagues, which means they are more involved with these sports teams than you would think.
Local businesses will advertise for them and post bulletins on used equipment sales and places where you can find new equipment at steep discounts. Local gymnasiums will often auction off their old equipment or sell it for pennies on the dollar.
Local gyms, like many small businesses, sponsor local teams, so there may be a wealth of knowledge and opportunities to look for.
Test the Equipment Before You Buy It
This goes without saying. However, looking over equipment right in front of the person you just purchased it from is always a little uncomfortable. To them, it may seem like you are implying that they sold you a bad deal.
However, wasting money on used equipment is worse than financially crippling yourself by purchasing new equipment. In the latter instance, at least you walk away with something useful. If you are buying used equipment, take the time to check it out before you part ways.
It may make you uncomfortable, but it’s much better than getting a raw deal.
All Things Considered
There are many ways to drive costs down when looking for sports equipment on a severely restricted budget. You just have to know where to look, who to talk to, and when to speak to them. Always set aside pride and introversion when you can. If it means your child will have an opportunity to participate, it is worth it in the end.
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
If money is tight right now, you may be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs that help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.
Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.