In my home gym I have a combination of equipment that was purchased new, used, and I have my homemade equipment as well. Finding what I wanted used was a challenge, so I would have to purchase it new, but that can get costly. If you are thinking about buying used equipment and you should be because quality equipment doesn't wear out, you can find great deals out there on any type of total fitness equipment.
If you want new (sometimes cheaply made) equipment, the sporting goods store is one way to go. At least you won't have to pay the high shipping rates charged by online sellers, and you can try the equipment out, but you'll still have to pay sales tax. One retail store is Play It Again Sports. They sell used equipment at somewhat discounted prices, but you still pay sales tax.
But why buy new? Why pay full price for exercise equipment at a retail store when you can buy used equipment that was literally used once or twice by someone?
Plenty of people buy new weight lifting equipment with good intentions of using it, but it eventually ends up a being used as an expensive clothes rack. Wait until they put that hardly used equipment up for sale then you won't pay shipping or sales tax.
I take the time every Sunday morning to read through my local classifieds. Every so often I run across a great deal. You can call the seller and ask questions before driving over to look at it. You can even place a wanted ad for the piece of equipment you are looking for.
I used to go to garage sales and hope I would find a deal, but with gas prices what they are, I'd rather look through the classifieds and call before I wasted my time and gas money.
There are lots of great deals on eBay for buyers and sellers. But once again with heavy weights and equipment, high shipping charges come into play. Occasionally you'll find a GREAT deal. I bought a new Body Solid GLPH 1100 leg Press/hack squat machine from a seller on eBay. See how much it cost me here.
I ended up selling my Soloflex and standard weight plates on eBay to a local buyer. See if you can find a local auction and offer to pick it up.
Frequently gyms will upgrade all their commercial quality weight lifting equipment, and an eBay auction is an excellent way for them to sell their current stuff quickly.
Q: How can you beat an online classified site that allows free ads and free photos to be uploaded?
A: You can't!
I found an advertisement on craigslist that read: 45lb Olympic plates for $20 each, and that's what the entire ad said. Turned out it was a commercial gym closing and everything was for sale! Unfortunately I had already purchased most of my equipment and all I needed was more weight plates. I managed to get 187lbs of rubber coated, Olympic grip body solid plates and a dip belt for $100! The seller even offered to sell the 45's for $15 each. I didn't even have to negotiate (making deals like this, no wonder his gym was closing).
One thing about craigslist, when you spot a deal, you have to act fast. The site gets plenty of traffic and good deals go quickly. When you place an item on craigslist, it takes about 15 minutes for it to show up on the site. If you are looking to buy, just keep the window open and refresh it every five minutes or so. If you get lucky, the deal of a lifetime might just show up.
Some deals are so good that if you have extra cash lying around and know what an item is worth, you could actually make money with craigslist. There is always a steady supply of and demand for all types of fitness equipment. Much of the buying and selling game is timing.
There's a magical buyers market from February through June every year. The New Year resolutionists whose goal was to lift weights and get fit, find out it takes real work to do this. They often give up and sell their brand new equipment at an excellent price just to get it out of the house.
So you buy this "new" equipment and hang onto it until the magical sellers market comes around in December, when a new batch of resolutionists are buying exercise equipment.
Sort of like the circle of life for fitness equipment.
I've even heard that lifters have gotten free gym mirrors off of craigslist. Check the free section. You'd be amazed at the amount of things people give away if you are willing to haul it off. Even weight training equipment often can be acquired for next to nothing.
Craigshelper is a site that searches craigslist cities that you select. You can also include results from eBay in this search. This is a real handy web site in the search for equipment.
I found these tips on a forum by poster deseee on how to use Craigshelper.com:
1. Point your browser to http://www.craigshelper.com it's not my site I just (ab)use it.
2. Under "where to search" select your State/Area and a few cities near you, or as far as your willing to travel for the right deal.
3. Under "Search Options" "Category" choose "Sale/Wanted", "SubCategory" choose "all sale/wanted" (you can choose "sporting goods" under subcategory but I find a lot of stuff listed in the general and free categories that you would otherwise not see) "Has Pictures" should be unchecked, "Search titles only" should be unchecked (really helps w/ garage sale listings)
4. Under Keywords enter what you're looking for, and whether you want it to "find all", "any" or "phrase". My favorite search is "any" with keywords: olympic trap hex dumbbells dumbells dumbbell dumbell deadlift shrug curl gym tuff parabody squat strength fitness nautilus nautelus barbell weights weightlifting powerlifting cybex
5. "Include results from ebay" should be unchecked (unless you want them but it's slower) then click "Search Now"
6. Bookmark the results page so you can repeat the search later, and soon you'll be swimming in Craigslist finds
7. Rep me when you saved a bunch of money!
Take your time building your home gym. The deals are out there if you patiently wait for them.
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