Turn Grocery Trials into Money Smart Kids
By Sarah Goleman
Getting around the grocery store can feel like a battle. You arrive with your list, your neatly clipped coupons, and a careful plan drawn up around the weekly ad. Then you add a child into the mix. Suddenly your carefully budgeted trip turns into a mad dash and you end up with a cart of items bearing little resemblance to the original list. The time has come to talk money to your kids.
For toddlers you can use the trip as an opportunity for them to help you. If fruits and veggies are on the list, have them help pick which pieces you get. Show them what to look for and how to pack it into the cart to avoid bruising. Ask them to select the best box from a shelf, or pick what types of food they would like from a limited array. These small decisions help them learn about choices and engage them in the process of shopping.
For children who know their numbers, have them help price check for you. Best prices are often found on lower (or higher) shelves and having eyes at a lower level may help you save some extra cash. Offer a reward to them if they manage to save you a certain amount of money (a toy or a piece of candy), this will motivate them to look harder and may even reveal some items that they feel they can live without.
Older children may enjoy helping you meal plan and make a list. Here they can take the process through from beginning to end. Children who do this kind of planning are frequently more open to new foods and are more likely to recognize where waste can be avoided. This experience is hugely valuable when teaching them about budgeting as they have already learned how to identify needs and wants, make a plan, and stay inside a budget.