Sending your kids back to school and still having money left in your wallet is already a challenge. But when it comes to outfitting your kids for sports, the expense of gear -- from baseball gloves to soccer cleats and uniforms -- adds up fast.
What to Buy Used/What to Buy New:
Instead of buying expensive, high-end equipment, you can buy used sporting goods. There are a lot of used sporting goods stores and websites -- such as SportsXchange.com and PlayItAgainSports.com -- where you can find gently-worn merchandise at the right price.
Shin guards and shoulder pads are items that are easy to find used. Since kids wear them underneath their uniforms, they don't have to match.
When it comes to soccer cleats, buy used. Instead of shelling out $35, you can find cleats that have the leather intact and solid stitching for $9.99 at PlayItAgainSports.com. Since used cleats don't have a ton of cushioning, be sure to replace the insoles every year to give kids enough comfort.
Don't buy a used helmet. Concussions are serious and nothing to mess with.
Web Extra: Besides buying equipment, don't forget to sell old sports gear your family no longer needs or trade for something new. If your son or daughter grows out of a pair of expensive ice skates or needs a new lacrosse stick, you can sell the old gear online to help pay for the next size up. Here are websites where you can connect with others in your area selling used equipment: http://www.freecycle.org/, http://www.ebayclassifieds.com/.
You might want to invest in Funk Out Odor Remover or Stink Spray to keep all this sports equipment smelling fresh!
Tips for Buying Mouth Guards
Mouth guards are important for athletes, because when your jaw snaps together during sports it can create a ripple effect that causes a concussion.
There are two main types of mouth guards on the market: One is custom-made by dentists, and the other you "boil and bite" yourself.
While the custom-made style from the dentist is extremely comfortable, it costs more than $100. At that price, it's not a good idea for teens and tweens, who are prone to losing things. It's better for them to have a lot of cheap ones in their sports bag to bring to games.
The "boil and bite" mouth guard allows you to customize the fit. While it may not be perfect, it's the better option for teens' on-the-go lifestyle. The mouth guard seen on-air is available at Amazon.com.
To ensure the perfect fit, start with scissors and trim down the top of the mouth guard. Get water very hot and dunk the mouth guard. Once it's out, dip it back in the water and pinch the top so it creates suction. This makes the mouth guard less likely to fall out on the field.
Team Sports on a Budget
Ask coaches and league administrators about the ways to save on equipment costs.
Instead of having uniforms printed, which costs a bundle, buy plain t-shirts and opt for iron-on numbers. For younger kids, you can tie-die for a cool effect. This can save a ton and it's also a team bonding event!
CLICK HERE for GMA's coupon codes for sporting good discounts.