Shopping with kids isn’t always a walk in the park, but couponing with kids isn’t exactly the bee’s knees either! I have two kids of my own who, more often than not, accompany me on my couponing trips to the store. So, trust me when I say that I know how frustrating it can be to head out couponing with kids!
When it comes to couponing with kids, the first bit of advice that pops into my head is simply not to do it. However, I also know that many families don’t have the luxury of sending the kids to gramma’s or hiring a baby sitter for every shopping trip.
It’s taken me a while to get used to couponing with kids in tow. While we don’t quite have incident-free trips every time, we have managed to make our trips a little less stressful. In fact, couponing with kids can even be educational and – dare I say – fun!
Hopefully the following tips can make couponing with kids in tow a little less stressful…
Explain Why You’re Couponing
Many kids are likely to think that you just take a really, really long time shopping when couponing. With kids, though, it’s a good idea to explain why you use coupons and why it takes you so long to shop. Simply tell them that you use coupons to save money, and the money that you save can be used for other fun things, like toys. If they understand just how much money coupons save you, they may be more likely to help you at the store and even get excited about couponing themselves!
Keep Couponing Trips Short
As a parent, you probably already know that kids have the attention span of goldfish. When couponing with kids, it’s usually best to keep your shopping trips as short as posible. You may even find it less stressful to make a few very short trips each week, instead of trying to tackle the whole kit and kaboodle in one day. Save the super detailed and long coupon hauls for when you don’t have the kids.
Make a List and Stick to It
You should always shop with a list, but this tip is especially important when you’re couponing with kids. Make a list before you go shopping and make it clear that the only items going into the cart are the items on your list.
Have a Coupon Scavenger Hunt
One of the best ways to calm the craziness of couponing with kids that I’ve found, is by letting them help. And one of the funnest ways for them to help is by letting them find an item that you need. You can either tell them what you need or hand them a coupon when you’re in the aisle.
Give Them Choices
What kid doesn’t like to make important decisions? If you’re couponing with kids, make sure you give them some say on the items you buy. For instance, let them choose flavors of juice, cookies, crackers, or cereal if possible. Not only will it keep them busy and give them something to do, but it will also make them feel grown up for helping with the big household decisions.
Let Them “Pay”
When it’s time to checkout and your kids are still a little wound, let them play at being adults for a change, albeit very short ones. They can hand the cashier coupons and hand over the money when it’s time to pay. I know that both of my kids love swiping my debit card at the end of shopping, so that usually helps keep them in line.
Go Couponing With a Friend
If you have a friend or family member that coupons as well, try couponing together. One of you can focus on the shopping, while the other one occupies the kids. Take turns and equally split the labor, so to speak. Even your couponing buddy has kids of their own, this could still work, since it’s typically easier to keep kids occupied when you have nothing distracting you.
Don’t Be Above Bribery
You call it positive reinforcement; I call it bribery. Either way, it usually works! Budget for a small treat at the end of each shopping trip, even if it’s just a few quarters for the quarter machines. Only give the treat at the end of the shopping trip if your kids are well-behaved. Whatever you do, though, do not give them a treat if they don’t behave.