With the warm weather here and summer approaching, there is a whole lot of seasonal gear a family can look forward to using and playing with, from garden tools to patio furniture, soccer balls to beach toys. You can break the bank if you go all-out on all these items, so it's important to think about which of them can be bought for a bargain without compromising the quality of your enjoyment. Some of these warm weather items are mostly disposable, one-season items, so it's smarter to buy these on the cheap, in large quantities. I'm talking about items which are really useful and necessary, and that you will use constantly, but that are also either easily lost, forgotten or broken (by kids, mostly). Here's my bargain list breakdown:
1) FOR THE BEACH: Beach gear and toys, including buckets and sand toys, sunscreen, towels, inflatable water toys or beach balls, even beach towels and beach bags. Beach gear WILL last a long time, unless you lose them, even when purchased very cheaply. You don't need to waste money on getting expensive ones when they will be covered in sand and washed a million times.
2) IN THE GARDEN: Garden gloves and sunhats, bug spray, candles, and kids' garden furniture, toys and tools. These will get so much wear and get lost so fast, it's not smart to spend a lot of money on these items when you could be saving.
3) PICNICS AND BBQS: Save on coolers, thermoses, and other picnic gear like baskets and reusable dishes and cups. They are almost ALL made of the same durable plastic or stainless steel, no matter what the price tag, so look for a bargain on these items and you can be assured they will last a long time even they are the cheapest you can find.
4) SPORTS AND PLAY: The kids are all loving the extra time they get to play outdoors now that it's warm, either kicking around a ball, or throwing one, or bouncing, jumping or rolling on something. Outdoor sports equipment can also add up really fast, AND is often lost or broken quickly. So look for sales and cheap-end items when it comes to this stuff. Kids will have the same amount of fun no matter how much you paid, remember that.
What warm weather gear have you saved on lately?