August 19, 2011

Tip of the day—Supplies and Gear

If you have a child taking ballet lessons, in music classes, or playing a team sport, you know that the costs for gear and supplies can add up quickly.  Below are a few ways that I’ve found to save money:

  • Shop around.  Many classes will offer for students to purchase supplies through them.  I’ve not found this to be the most cost effective way to purchase. 
  • Look on Craig’s List, garage sales, thrift stores and consignment sales.  Consignment sales in particular are a great place to find dance attire and soccer gear. 
  • Use coupons.  There are going to be some products you’ll want to buy brand new.  When doing so, use coupons whenever possible.  Check the Knox County School Coupon Book (almost expired for this year!) and look on local store websites and Facebook pages.  Chain stores, like Dick’s Sporting Goods, offer loyalty cards and access to printable coupons via email newsletters. 
  • Buy packaged deals.  Some stores offer discounts on packages.  For instance, when I was taking Tae Kwon Do, I remember there being a deal on a gi, belt, patch, and certificate. 
  • Swap with friends.  We’ve had friends pass gear to us, and we’ve tried to do the same for others. 
  • Buy large.  A friend encouraged me when we were starting our daughter in soccer to buy the jersey and shorts just a little larger than she needed.  This allowed us to extend the season and use them for more than one year.
  • Instruments.  I am not the musician in the family—you don’t want me to sing for you or even attempt to play any instrument.  My sister, however, is not only a musician, but she is a music and band teacher.  I remember when she was learning various instruments, we found that the best resource for those was local music shops.  Many offer secondhand instruments for a fraction of the price of brand new.  When children are just starting out and you aren’t sure if they will want to pursue music for longer than a few months, this is a great way to buy a starter instrument.  You can also find instruments at pawn shops and on Craig’s List.  If you don’t know much about instruments, though, I recommend going through a music shop.  Sometimes you’ll find instruments that are in poor condition and an untrained eye (like mine) won’t spot the defects at first glance. 

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