1) Know What You Need
Create your list of what you need. Last week, I wrote about how to do your Triathlete Off-Season Inventory. If you haven’t done that, make sure to do so now. It’s no use shopping if you don’t know what you need!
2) Know Your Options
Once you have your list, do your research. Call up or visit your local shop, check online at a variety of stores, and sign up for to get emails on sales and discounts. Make sure to factor in shipping and handling costs- some online stores will do big discounts on products but raise the price.
3) Shop local
Did you know Amazon is going to start doing local how-to clinics, lead weekend rides, offer in-person service, and volunteer at races? You’re right, they won’t, and they never will.
There are some things online stores can never replace. Studies have shown that just a 10% shift in buying more locally can have a huge impact on your area. Make an effort to shop and support your local triathlon, bike, running and swim shops. I do buy online, but I don’t try it on in a store and then buy it online from someone else, and I also try to buy at least one thing I need from each of my favorite local shops.
4) Stock up on what you know you’ll use.
A couple years ago, I found my favorite shoes marked down from $110 to $40. I stocked up, and will go about 2 1/2 years without having to buy shoes.
BONUS TIP: Don’t forget to check out deals on races- many race promoters will also do deals this weekend.
5) Don’t stock up on products you don’t know or won’t use
One year I saw a great deal on cycling knee warmers. I never used them, but they were only $4, so it wasn’t a huge loss. However, sometimes more expensive items I’ve never used are tempting.
There’s also a great story in the book Decisive by The Heath Brothers about getting what you need vs. what you want. A guy is stuck trying to decide between a stereo that’s $700, or a stereo that’s slightly better for $1,000. The salesperson, who must not have been on commission, asked him this question- “Would you rather have the $1,000 stereo, or the $700 stereo and $300 worth of downloads?”
So before you decide to make a crazy purchase, even at a discount, make sure to figure out if it’s worth it or if you’d you’d really like something else more.
6) Do something good for someone else
Make time to think of someone else by donating items or money to a running or endurance related organizations for those in needs- Soles4Soles, Barefoot Republic, Challenged Athlete Foundation, SoleHope or Bikes Not Bombs are some great. Help someone swim, bike or run!
Do you have any tips for helping another triathlete shop well? Comment below!
Brian Lord is a very average age-group athlete who loves to help encourage others in the sport, save money, and write bylines about himself in the third person.