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Save Money on Winter Recreation - Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip

Save Money on Winter Recreation

Reminder: seasonal tips about cheap Halloween costumes and uses for leftover pumpkin are in the Monthly Frugal Fun Tipsheet Archives, at I just added the three summer issues, so these archives are now current through last month. And now, on to this month's tip.

Now's the time to cut the costs of your favorite winter sports (at least if you're in the Northern Hemisphere).

Some ideas:

If you like to ski, contact ski centers to see if they sell used equipment. We found a local touring center that sold us children's ski packages--boots, poles, skis--for about $50 a pair WITH A $5 ANNUAL UPGRADE TO THE NEXT SIZE! In other words, every fall, our kids try on their ski boots. If they don't fit, we take the whole thing back, pay five bucks, and get a larger one. This, in turn, makes it possible to ski anywhere, not just at touring centers. Try the same strategy for other sports, like snowboarding and skating.

Check newspaper classifieds, local web pages, etc. for bargains on equipment. Many newspapers have a bargain column, with a free ad for items selling under $25 or $50. But even in the regular, paid ads, there will be some great deals--especially from those who either received the equipment as a gift or bought it and didn't enjoy it. And don't forget, there are still a few more weeks to find treasures at yard sales.

Investigate discounts for season passes. Some places will be substantially cheaper if you buy before the snow flies. Figure out how many times you're likely to use the pass, and divide by the cost. It may be as little as half of what you'd pay per time if you bought day passes. And of course, if you have the pass, you're likely to use it more.

Look for pre-season deals on equipment packages (this would be clearance sales of last year's model). Though most stores have probably returned this merchandise, any who still have it will want to move it out quickly and cheaply to make room.

Universities and community organizations often have used equipment sales. Check around in your area.

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