My family knows the only thing to get me for birthday or Christmas is sporting goods gift cards - typically Cabelas as our kids school gets a kickback from Cabelas for selling their gift cards...I save up B-day and Christmas until late Jan-Feb when Cabelas runs their clearance of current year gear and typically save 20-40%. Have also picked up some items on Ebay ($31 for good GPS) and Amazon if you watch prices.
REI has been running a promo if you sign up for their Visa you get a $100 gift card...just got mine - that will go toward pair of backup hiking boots...and last week had 20% off any one item and free shipping no min order.
I keep it pretty simple as I'm nearly 100% bowhunt and have compiled most gear I need over last few years...it's the 4 kids I'm raising that will be tricky to keep in correct sized clothing/boots:)
Promotive is a good place, I use eBay, Craigslist, I have only bought a few things on forums classifieds but I alway look. Also, my favorite is rei garage sales! I spend a lot of money quickly there!
Another good spot, is ksl.com. It is the classifies for Salt Lake City and Northern Utah. This is what most use rather than Craigslist. Granted it is nice if you are close to SLC, but most of the guys selling outdoor stuff are willing to ship if you pay for it.
They also have it broken down into sections such as rifles, optics, archery, clothing, tents, etc... I have scored some serious deals on this sight. Give it a look.
www.ksl.com and click on the classifieds top near the top right corner.
Shop year round. I check different sites a few times a week to stay up on whats on sale. Buying things here and there and not all at once helps with the shock of the cost on a lot of gear. I also work as much overtime as the possible.
Buying the previous years model has worked very well for me as well.
Great thread Bitteroot Bulls!
1. I use ebay alot which helps me save a lot of money.
2. I have recently been keeping an eye out on camofire which was reccomended to me by you and I have been very impressed!
3. Discontinued items are also great!
pretty much like your list but these are good tips.
I try to buy in the off seasons. I buy winter stuff now and summer stuff in the fall when things are marked down 25-40%. Also I look for gear that isnt mainstream.
I just found a folding pocket saw at home depot for 4 dollars that weighs half (after I stripped off the bulky rubber handle) of what my Gerber bone saw does. The teeth are fine, perfect for bone, and I can tell no difference in quality. Saving on stuff like that spreads the funds for the essential, hard to get discount, items.
A couple of my friends asked me the same question last hunting season. They both make quite a bit more money than me and they couldn't figure out how I was always picking up new gear. For me besides the tips listed above, the biggest thing is not spending money outside the box.(HUNTING) I do have other intrests I just don't spend any more money on them than I absolutely have to.
I , just like almost everyone else , trys to find great deals online and soforth.
When I first got into hunting I thought how could some buddy afford all top gear? I started off with gear I could afford and then started saving to upgrade one item at a time, the gear I wanted to upgrade to wasn't going to be cheap so I put alot of OT hours in and before I knew it....a little hard work pays off. I wasn't born with a silver spoon. It'll take years to get all the top gear I want...but I just set goals and work my a## off to achieve them. I am a ture believer of, you get what you pay for.
I use the same methods as Bitteroot and have for several years. One thing I hadn't seen mentioned was using a Cabelas Visa. I use one for fuel, tags, and bills and pay it off every month, so points build up toward future purchases. I like to let them build for quite a while so when I get something with them it's worth getting. As long as I pay the card off each month it's free gear.
On optics I have been using SWFA's 110% price match to get their list price down to the lowest I can find online and then trading with them. They have been good to deal with and it lets me get some value from older optics to afford higher end ones.
Shop around, ebay etc. If I get interested in something and think I really need it I will search for a week if I have to .
Example ..I needed GOOD packable rain gear( I got soaked in NM last year) so I started spending alot of time looking for some quality stuff and after about a week I came up with a brand new Sitka packable Gore Tex rain jacket for $140, they sell for about $300+ and I found a like new pair of matching Sitka Gore Tex rain pants for $100 they sell for $200 + .
I was going to spend alot of money that I didn't want to for good quality rain gear and then I found this stuff and saved alot of cash. Sometimes you can't find what your looking for and sometimes you get lucky.