Sports on a budget tips
For $3,000, some families might rent a beachside vacation home for a week, pay tuition for one quarter at Ohio State or make a down payment on a new car.
It cost Tiffany Sexton and her husband, Doug, the same amount to outfit their sports-crazed sons with equipment and clothing for a year’s worth of athletics.
And that was a bargain.
“I bought some equipment new, some used, traded with other parents and tried everything I could to keep costs down,” said Tiffany, a 41-year-old Powell resident.
There’s some good ideas on the site. How can we translate the Columbus, Ohio, tips to Monroe County, Mich.?
- Here’s the link to the Dick’s Sporting Goods corporate Sponsorship and Donation page.
- The Community Foundation of Monroe County has scholarship, grant and special fund programs that include a youth hockey fund to help with equipment purchases for those who otherwise could not afford to play.
- Play It Again Sports has athletic equipment resale shops in Ann Arbor, Southgate, Livonia and Canton.
- Community education and recreation department leagues will give you a chance to play sports or stay in shape at at reasonable cost. Check with your city or township hall or school district. Monroe Public Schools and Bedford Public Schools in particular have very active Community Education programs.
- Pay attention to the classified ads in The Monroe Evening News, particularly the Sporting Goods section, Miscellaneous section and Bargain Busters section, for used equipment. (Or use the classifieds to sell the equipment you don’t need any more to bring in some cash toward your next purchases.)
- There is a national after-school activity grant program for children whose military parents are deployed. A Monroe County family that participated told me about the program. It’s at OurMilitaryKids.org and there is NO income requirement. Here’s my blog report.
- Your team or league may want to hold a car wash, garage sale or other fundraiser to help with equipment costs. I strongly recommend getting any fundraiser or non-profit announcement to The Monroe Evening News at least a week in advance of the event or reservation deadline so I can schedule it for the best possible publication date. Besides, the sooner a notice gets to my desk, the longer it stays posted on the MonroeTalks searchable calendar database. Some of the other free community outlets you can use – such as church bulletins and club newsletters – will need notices as much as five weeks in advance.
By the way, my daughter never played sports. But she was involved in many other after-school activities.
Therefore, we followed the concept of “pick your battles” and put our priorities of financial investment and volunteer time into whatever one or two things she was most interested in doing that year. If she wanted to sign up for other clubs or activities, they needed to be a low-cost investments.