By Terri Bennett | McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers
We all have a favorite sport. As the mom of a son who loves baseball, soccer, basketball and football, I know that many kids today have a different favorite sport every season. All of his equipment can really take a toll on the wallet but it also takes a toll on the planet. Let me share a secret with you. There's no need to buy new when you can easily get your hands on perfectly good used equipment that still has a lot of life left. To make it easy for you to track down what you need, here are my top five sources of used sporting goods.
Used equipment stores
It's tough to tell you're in a used sporting equipment store sometimes.
That's because the sporting goods for sale have barely been used and can even be brand-new. No matter what you're looking for, you can save up to 70 percent off what it would cost you to buy new. Shops such as Play It Again Sports will even let you trade in some of your old equipment and receive cash or a store credit.
Using online auction sites such as eBay ( ebay.com) for sporting goods can get you a good deal but you may be paying a fortune in shipping costs. Instead, check out eBay's classifieds site, which lets you view only the listings that are near where you live. It's not an auction, instead the price is posted next to the listings and you can make your own pickup arrangements with the seller. Or, check out your local Craigslist postings ( tampa.craigslist.org), which work in a similar fashion.
Sometimes, it just makes sense to shop online for smaller items that don't cost too much to ship. It could be a glove your child needs or a pair of soccer shoes. In that case, there are several sports-specific online spots that will help you find whatever you may need. Amazon.com, eBay.com, and UsedSports.com are some good options.
Yard sales are where the biggest bargains can be found but it takes some work to find what you're looking for. Your best bet is to get to yard sales that advertise sporting goods early so you get first dibs on the good stuff.
Rent the expensive stuff
There are times when you need expensive sporting equipment, but only for a limited time. In that case, why buy when you can rent? You can opt for renting things like bikes, skiing equipment, and golf clubs at independent businesses or national chains.