18 Items To Take To The Beach For A Great Day

Summer is in full swing.  If you haven’t been to the beach, now’s the time!  The water is still cold here in Michigan due to a late start to spring.  Still, that doesn’t stop people from heading out and having fun.  Here are some items to take to the beach for a fantastic day!

Clothing And Gear

  • Swimsuits.   Wear them or take them.  Just make sure you have them.
  • Towels.  These are definitely an essential for drying off or laying on.
  • Sunscreen. The sun is hot.  Make sure you don’t end up with a burn.  Take plenty of sunscreen.  We like both lotion and spray.
  • Bug spray.  Every once in a while, the bugs like to enjoy the beach, too.  Keep this and use only if needed.
  • Sunglasses.  Protect your eyes and avoid squinting with a nice pair of shades.
  • Blanket.  The sand is great but it gets in places you don’t want it to get.  Protect yourself with a beach blanket.
  • Flip Flops.  The sand gets hot.  Make your walk up and down easy on the feet with a pair of flip flops.
  • Shirt / Cover-Up.  You might need something to throw on without changing.
  • Change of Clothes.  The day at the beach must end eventually.  Nobody likes getting into a car sopping wet. Have some clothes available to change into.

Relaxing Time

  • Beach chairs.  We’ve got a couple of beach chairs that are easy to carry and don’t weigh much. These are a must have.
  • Sun umbrella.  You can get an umbrella to clip onto your chair or one to stick in the sand. Make sure it’s within reach, though, in case those winds off the water kick up.
  • Cooler / Drinks.  Bring plenty to drink, including water to stay hydrated in the hot sun.
  • Snacks.  Grab some stuff that’s easy to access and won’t make a mess.  Nothing that melts!
  • Something to read.  Have some fun on the beach but take some time to relax.  Bring a book, magazine, or Kindle.

Water and Fun

  • Toys.  Kids and adults like digging in the sand, right? Some shovels, buckets, and balls to toss are always a great find.
  • Floaties. There are few things more relaxing than floating around in the water.
  • Water Shoes.  If the beach is rocky, a pair of water shoes is a must-have to keep your feet happy.
  •  Money.  To go to the snack stand and purchase ice cream, of course!

If you’re heading to the beach this summer, have fun.  Remember, be safe and bring along the right stuff to make it the best trip ever!  Readers, are you heading to the beach this year?  What’s your favorite beach memory?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

The Importance of Small Wins

My son enjoys playing sports, but he isn’t a top athlete.  He likes playing more for the fun and the experience.  The teamwork helps as well.  He’s been in a few leagues with a few different sports.  Unfortunately, most of the teams haven’t done that well.  Still, I’m here to tell you that the small wins are important.

Past Leagues

The past couple of teams that he played on haven’t done so well.  Last summer, he played baseball and I think they won one game for the year.  They were mostly players who had just gotten started, and a lot of the other teams had been in place for a couple of years.

Over the winter he played basketball and they never won a game.  Unfortunately, they played in a league where, again, a lot of the teams had played together for a couple of years.  He seemed to be stuck on the ‘new player’ team.  They tried hard and did their best.  Still, you could tell that the losing was a bit discouraging, for my son as well as the other players.

A New Start

This year, my son asked to play baseball again.  He’s now old enough where it’s a kid pitch league.  Last year, the coaches did the pitching.

This has been a game changer.

When the kids started practicing, none of the kids had prior pitching experience.  However, one of the kids turned out to be a natural.  Right away, you could just tell he had the control to pitch well.

The teams we’ve played have all struggled to find a similar quality pitcher.  Our team has taken a lot of walks.  That’s one thing about the first year of a kid pitch league, hitting is scarce.  But, our pitcher gets it over the plate most of the time so there are a lot of strikeouts.

As a result, our pitcher has helped lead the team to a 3-1 record!

Three wins in a row followed by a loss where they still cut a nine run deficit down to three!

The kids love it.

Keeping Expectations In Check

Now, as adults, we are helping the kids celebrate.  But, we’re also keeping things in perspective.  Things are probably going to change, because the pitcher will be going on vacation and is going to miss four games.

I have a feeling those are going to be a lot tougher games!  That will definitely test the kids resolve and make them play.

Five Benefits Of Small Wins

Either way, these small wins that they’ve gotten in these first games are huge.  And, I realize that they’re very important.

  • A taste of victory.  Kids shouldn’t win all the time, but I think that having a taste of victory is important.  It makes kids feel good to win.
  • Confidence.  Our first few practices were tough.  Most of the kids hadn’t played together.  Some were pretty new to baseball.  But, these wins have made the kids believe more in themselves.  That leads to them trying harder and taking that extra step.
  • Teamwork.  The pitcher is definitely the glue that holds the team together.  But, even outside of that, you see the kids work better as a team.  They’ve won so they believe in each other.  There’s less hesitation and more trust.  It’s great to see.
  • Leadership.  Our pitcher has grown into the leader of the team.  He knows that people look up to him, and the kids have somewhat of a role model.  I think that kids around that age (mostly 9-10) need this.
  • Memories.  Kids are going to remember winning.  When memories of childhood fade away and only certain ones remain, these will have a chance to stick.  That’s pretty awesome.

This has been a fun season so far.  The kids still have seven more games to play.  No matter how many wins they end up with, having these three in hand has been great for all of them.  And, I won’t lie, it’s pretty awesome for the parents, as well.

Readers, what small victories have you or your kids celebrated lately?

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10 Reasons That I Miss The Old Internet

Nowadays it seems like the Internet has always been around.  For many people, grown ups even, it always has!  Yet, at the age of 43, I distinctly remember the time before the Internet. But along with that there was the time when the Internet was new.  Those were some cool times.  Of course, all those ‘new’ things are now old.  That’s the way it happens.  But, there are times when I miss the old Internet.  Here are a few throwbacks that many will remember.

The Dial-Up Tone

The Internet was first accessed over phone lines.  You had to connect your computer’s modem to another and establish a connection.  This was done with a series of bongs and boops and clicks.  It was a pretty cool sound.  I was such a geek that I could often tell just by listening to the patterns if I was going to get a good connection or if I’d have to re-dial.

When I Was An Expert

I was pretty computer savvy back in the day.  As such, I learned a lot about the Internet before many others did.  Even though it lasted only a couple of years, I became sort of an expert.  I was one of those people that others asked when they needed to learn how to connect to the Internet, to find things on the Internet, or even to explain what the Internet was.

When The Internet Wasn’t Full of Ads

The Internet is all about making money nowadays.  Everything is monetized, it seems.  But, it wasn’t always like that.  Before everyone figured out how to place ads, the Internet was mostly filled with real information.

A Distinction From The Real World

You know you’re an old timer if you remember ever saying that you were ‘going on the Internet’.  Back then, going on the Internet was a distinct and separate activity from everything else in the world.  Now, it’s become part of the world.  But, there was a time when you ‘got off the Internet’ and returned to your life.

When The Internet Was Mostly Fun

Nowadays, the Internet gives everybody a voice. This lets many people talk, but few remember to actually listen.  Back when the Internet was a baby, it was mostly fun.  I remember once when someone created a web site and had nothing but a picture of a toilet.  People searched for this and talked about it and we all laughed.  Nobody knew, at first, what to do with the Internet.  But one thing’s for sure, the seriousness that abounds today was not yet there.

Counters

Part of the appeal of the early Internet was getting page views.  Pages had little counters at the bottom that showed how often it’d been viewed.  People would look at this when visiting a page to make sure they were on a ‘cool’ site.  When people started creating personal sites, having big numbers was huge.  Of course, it was pretty easy to ‘Refresh’ over and over, but nobody ever cheated, right? 🙂

The Novelty Of Shopping Online

Buying something off the Internet?  Believe it or not, that was once a foreign concept.  Nobody really knew what to do with it. Once sites started establishing an inventory, it grew even further.  You started having sites that did nothing but sell random items that were supposedly deals.  Yes, deal-of-the-day sites were once a novelty!  And they even went further?  Remember the Woot Off?  People would sit literally all day in front of their computer as random items would go up for sale.  Maybe they still do them, but if so, it’s definitely not the event it once was.

Usenet

Once the Internet started growing, some felt it went a little too far and wide.  This was before Google and search engines were very reliable.  So, Usenet became the spot where specific categories and discussions could take place.  For example, fans of The X Files didn’t know how to find all the different places where they could discuss their show.  Usenet gave them the forum alt.tv.the-x-files.  Everyone knew to go there and soon every subject under the sun had a group.  I’m sure Usenet still exists, but I haven’t used it in over a decade.

Yahoo

I still lament how cool Yahoo was back in the day.  For awhile, the Internet and Yahoo were pretty much the same.  For me, anyways. I used them for e-mail, games, news, sports, stocks.  I stored photos there.  It was my first dab at online dating.  Their Messenger app was the first of many different chat apps I used.  In the age where you didn’t have tabs on your browser, all I needed was the My Yahoo page with links to everything.  Slowly, Yahoo found themselves beat at their own games, and now they’re pretty much an afterthought.

Finding Music

Nowadays, you can find music anywhere.  Pandora and Spotify have nailed the market on streaming apps. If you want a specific song, it’s probably on Youtube.  But it wasn’t always that way.  For a number of years, finding music online was a huge deal.  And it was often illegal!  Finding MP3 copies of a new album was a pretty big deal!  At first the music industry basically tried to keep music off the Internet altogether.  Very interesting times!

Those are some of my favorite memories of the old Internet.  What are some of the things you remember or have heard of?  

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Why You Don’t Always Need To Complain About Price Increases

My wife alerted me of a price increase for a regular purchase.  She pointed out that our annual zoo membership would be going up to $99.  Previously, we paid $79.  At first, I was a little taken aback. After all, that’s nearly a 25% increase.  But then I started doing some math.  Within a few minutes I was fine with the increase.  See, I don’t complain about price increases every time.  Only when it’s justified! 🙂

Zoo Membership Is Still A Good Deal

A couple of years ago, I calculated the break even point for the zoo.  At the time, the family membership was $79.  A trip for our family of four would cost $53 without a membership.  This meant that on our second trip, we would be saving money.

With the new increase in memberships, they also raised individual tickets prices.  A trip for our family would now cost $60.  So, even with the 25% increase in our cost, we’re still saving money starting with our second trip.

Considering that we go at least 1-2 times per month on average, I’d say we’re doing just fine.

Why The 25% Increase Doesn’t Bother Me

Normally, I rail on big price increases.  When price increases dramatically outpace inflation, that’s usually a big sore point for me.  But not this time. Why?

  • Time Between Increases.  We were paying $79 for at least 3 years.  Maybe even a year or two longer.  So, when you average out the price increase over several years, it averages out to around 6-8% per year at most.
  • Improvements.  I get upset at increases when you don’t see value in the increase.  I just wrote about how Disney is now charging for parking.  This one bugs me because the increase to the consumer offers no additional value.  But, this isn’t the case with the zoo at all.  The zoo is constantly improving things.  They recently opened the world’s biggest penguinarium.  They are refurbishing the tiger and red panda exhibits this year.  In fact, every year, they update at least two exhibits.  Last year they adding a parking lot.  You get the point!  Our zoo is world class, and they are constantly making it stay that way.  I have no problem paying more since I can see value in my dollars.
  • Fun.  The zoo is just a great time.  Every time you go you see different things.  Some animal is doing something different, or they have a new baby somewhere.  I don’t think we’ve ever had an awful experience.

When Those Who Complain The Loudest Don’t Even Have A Right

Later in the day, my wife and I were talking about the increase.  She told me that someone in her Facebook feed was livid.  She went on this big rant and was complaining about the cost that she purchased.  She purchases this pass that allows you to bring in up to five kids and it was going to cost her around $60 per year more.

But here’s the thing.

She only has one kid!

She was bringing in her nieces and nephews and friends of her kids.  That’s totally a violation of the membership agreement!  Here she is breaking the rules and having the nerve to complain that it’s costing her money.

All my wife and I could do was shake our heads at the irony.   We kept hoping that someone in her Facebook thread would point out her hypocrisy, but nobody did.  And, you know it would have sailed right over her head anyway.

As my dad is fond of saying, it takes all kinds!

In any case, our zoo membership will be renewed without hesitation this year.

Readers, what do you use to determine if a price increase is justified or not?  What are some examples of increases that you have hated versus those you’ve been OK with?  Please drop a comment and let me know.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.