I wanted to talk about ways to keep your children entertained while on a coupon run. I always recommend that if possible avoid couponing with your kids, however that is not always possible. In fact for many of us shopping with our kids is our only option. I wanted to share with you some ideas for ways to make your experience positive for both you and your children.
I always look for inexpensive ways to reward my son as we shop. It is always amazing to me what entertains him and what simple steps I can do to “include” him in the process.
1. Make a shopping list for your child. I always make a special list for my son to carry at the store. He always wants my list so if he has his own it works out better for us. I include a few of his favorite items on the list and give him a pencil/crayon to mark of the items as we put them in the cart.
2. When possible I allow him to push the child size carts. When we shop at stores that have small child size carts I let him push them. He can be a bit of a daredevil with the carts so I am sure that this is not on busy times of the day.
3. Find inexpensive rewards for your children. I know this may sound crazy but my son loves to see the lobsters at the grocery stores. If I strategically plan my list to “end” by the lobsters then I am assured that he is going to behave while we shop so he can see them. Sometimes we are really lucky and the meat department will get them out for him to see up close.
4. Another huge reward for my son is visiting the “fish aquariums”. If the store where we are shopping has live fish aquariums this is another built in incentive for him. What is great is to find out what time your store “feeds” as the fish are very active.
5. Pack a treat in your purse. To avoid spending in the check out isle I pack a small treat or reward in my purse. This could be a sucker, small box of nerds or crackers and juice box. As we are heading to the checkout I pull out my treat so that I have the precious few minutes I need while checking out. Remember if you don’t keep score at checkout you will possibly not do as well as you hoped.
6. We love the Meijer $.01 pony rides! After we check out at Meijer we are sure to “ride” the pony for a penny!
7. Use your shopping trip as a learning experience. I take time show him a variety of food in the store as an opportunity to teach him about new foods. I like to show him fruits and vegetables that he may have “seen” on a kids program and relate that to him. Or we talk about how we could plant that food in our garden. It is a great way to teach while you shop.
8. If we are shopping at Target I let him buy a popcorn/drink from the Target Cafe. It is the best $1.00 I spend while shopping! We swing in and pick it up and he eats for the entire trip.
I hope some of these ideas help you while you are out shopping with your children. If you try to make your experience fun for both of you them in the end I promise not only will you enjoy shopping with your children but you will have a more pleasant experience. If you teach your children at a young age about coupon use and the techniques of stockpiling you will raise frugal children I promise. My son already knows about coupons, rock bottom pricing and stockpiling.