Try-It-Out Tuesday: Stop the Sports Equipment Wallet Drain - Jean Chatzky - Making money make sense
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Try-It-Out Tuesday: Stop the Sports Equipment Wallet Drain

iStock_000016671923SmallTo say that Americans spend a lot of money on sports is to understate the point only slightly. A sampling of sports spending statistics reveals some whopping figures: the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) says that we spend $600 million every year on golf balls alone, while the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates fantasy football teams are worth $55 billion due to the time and resources people pour into them. And that’s just for adults. Spending data from 2012 found that parents can spend nearly $700 per child-athlete every year. Multiply that by a couple of siblings, and you’re looking at over $2,000 per year, just for your kids.

So how do you plug (or at least slow) the leak in your wallet that sports spending induces? Losing fewer golf balls and refraining from a fantasy team can be a good start, but beyond that, you might want to take a look at Play It Again Sports, a store that lets you sell gently-used sports equipment and use your new cash to buy new (or even better, discounted used) goods.

“You come into the store, you bring in last year’s gear, we’ll give you dollars for trading that in,” said Steve Murphy, president of franchising at Play It Again’s parent company, the Winmark Corporation.

Murphy says that the store will take “pretty much everything,” assuming the quality is good and the item isn’t too old.

“If you have a five-year-old golf club, that’s probably not something we’ll be able to resell, because the technology is different,” he said. “Five-year-old baseball  gloves haven’t changed, so we’re [more] likely to buy it.”

Murphy says that it’s hard to give exact prices for different prices of equipment because the Play It Again staff will need to see and feel the glove (or the helmet, or hockey stick) in order to determine its quality and how much it’s worth. But in general, Play It Again offers to buy old equipment for 30 to 40 percent of its original value.

This means that if you want your old stuff to net you enough money to completely pay for 2013’s equipment, you’ll need to bring more to sell than you want to buy. “If you want this year’s glove for $100, you’ll have to bring in a little more than just last year’s glove [to sell]. If you bring in last year’s glove and a bat and a pair of cleats,” you could net enough money that you don’t have to dip into your wallet for that $100 new glove, he said.

Murphy noted that even if you don’t have any good equipment to sell, it’s still worth taking a look at Play It Again stock, because the savings can be significant. “In general on used sports equipment if they’re buying used from us, you save 50 to 75 percent off what it would cost them new,” he said, further emphasizing that all equipment is “used, but gently used. It’s like buying a used car.”

While fall means the height of football, soccer, and lacrosse season — and a decreased appetite for baseball cleats and field hockey sticks — Murphy says that Play It Again will take any type of sporting good, any time of year. So if you need to save money on the fall sports season, bring in whatever you can now, and don’t worry if your stockpile consists of surfboards, flippers, and other items that people won’t be looking for until the tulips pop up in 2014.

“We’re pretty much buying all seasons all the time, all year,” he said. “If you [come] in end of summer and wanted to unload all the summer stuff, we’ll buy it.”

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