Tips on Paying For Sports Gear with Credit Cards

October 12, 2015

Not long ago I wrote an article about saving money on youth sports and I got a text message a few days later from a friend asking about putting sports purchases on a rewards card.

There are a few tips I shared that lend themselves to using a rewards credit card. I’ll talk about them in the context of a specific card, lets look at the Discover it® card.

Getting the Right Size

One of the tips I gave about buying youth sports equipment was that when something was on sale you should buy multiple sizes of the item and return the ones that don’t fit. This is a good tip if you’re buying something online or if you’re in the store and your kid isn’t with you to try on the gear but you want to buy it right away to take advantage of a sale. If you take a guess at a size and choose the wrong one then you have to return it and you miss the sale price. At the start of a new season it could also be that all the sizes you need are sold out.

The obvious downside to this tip is that you’re paying for items you don’t use. However, if you put your purchase on your credit card and you return the sizes that are too big/small right away then you don’t actually end up having to pay for them. By the time your credit card bill comes due, you’ve already returned the items and got the credit on your account.

One of the nice things that Discover offers is that if you shop online for these types of items using Discover Deals, you can receive 10% Cashback Bonus when shopping at Sports Authority online. Deals is their program that helps you find coupons and discount codes and they have a Sporting Goods category, you can see more about the deals here.

Getting Cashback on Team Fees

One of the reasons Discover can offer higher rewards to users are the fees paid by the merchants. Most youth sports organizations try to keep their costs low so this means many of them don’t accept Discover when you try to pay for league registration fees.

However, if you’re making payments on behalf of the team and you’re getting reimbursed then a rewards card can give you some cashback. For example, I registered a soccer team for a tournament last Spring and the fees ranged from $400 – $600 depending on the age bracket of the team. Typically the way this works is you pay to register and the parents of the kids pay you back their share.

So if you were using the Discover it card and you earned 1% back on the purchase you’d get $4-6 cashback. Coordinating team events is a lot of work, it definitely takes up more time than $5 can cover but if you’re putting in the effort it doesn’t hurt to get the cash back.

Off-season Purchases

Another tip I gave was to buy off season and take advantage of sales around the holidays. Discover’s rewards card program has a rotating schedule of where you earn the highest cash back rates. In the last three months of the year those categories are on, department stores and clothing stores so if you can find deals on sports equipment or apparel during times like Black Friday or Cyber Monday then you can also earn higher cash back on those purchases.


Credit Card Tips
I recently made two videos about credit cards as part of a Money Minute contest. Each one contained one simple tip, the first was to only use a credit card if you could pay off the bill each month and the other was to get a rewards card. So having read all the above, you obviously don’t want to be charging your kids sports cost on your credit card if you have to carry a balance. However, if you can pay off that balance each month then having a rewards card can earn you some cashback.

To read more about how to save money on youth sports check out my guide here and you can find out more about the rewards from the Discover Deals program here.

This post is published as part of the Discover Preferred Blogger Program.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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