Money Lessons Your Child Can Learn at the Grocery Store

Mixed race girl buying food in restaurant

It is easy to see why many parents prefer grocery shopping without their children, the constant begging, fighting and attempted negotiations to get stuff.

However there are some advantages to bringing your children with you when you go to the grocery store.

These experiences provide the children with real-world ways to learn about spending money and making good financial decisions.

Here are a few lessons that you can teach your child at the grocery store:

Planning and Follow-Thru

The first grocery store lesson starts before you get in the car. Sit down with your child and teach them about putting together a grocery list to prepare for the shopping trip. By planning in advance, you can help the child learn about money management and avoiding impulse spending.

Sticking with the list means that there will be less impulse buys, such as treats and other things the child sees at the grocery store.  Instead of “I said no” you can say, “it is not on our list”.

Additionally, a pre-planned list can provide your child with an activity when they are at the grocery store. Put them in charge of marking off the items when each product is put in the grocery cart. They will have the opportunity to read through the list over and over again, practicing their reading skills and looking for the next item that needs to be located.

Math Exercises

Learning about money is an important lesson that needs to be taught, and math is an integral part of good money management. Teach the child how to read the price tags on the shelves, add up the various items that are being purchased, and play other types of matching games as they are moving throughout the store.

Plan math activities that are age-appropriate. For example, a kindergartener might benefit by counting out the number of cans of food that you need to put in the basket. A child who is a few years older can practice math games that involve tallying up the item totals or calculating the cost of produce by using the scales to weight the items.

Cost and Value Lessons

An important concept that children need to learn is the difference in cost and value among various brands and items. Teach them how to look for the best value when choosing a product by comparing the size of the package and the price tag.

Teach them about buying no-name products instead of name-brand products to save money. For example, it is often cheaper to buy the no-name brands of cereal, and the kids need to learn that they can buy comparable no-name brands that are similar to the popular brands with cartoons on the boxes.

These lessons will help your child to learn to make purchase decisions from a logical standpoint, instead of making emotional decisions every time they want to buy something.

Handling Money at the Register

It is easy to swipe the credit card so that you can quickly be done with the transaction, but you might consider paying with cash to give your child the opportunity to count the money and receive change from the purchase. Children need to learn about cash transactions and digital transactions, to take the opportunity to explain both of these methods when you are at the grocery store.

By handling the money, the child will be able to see the monetary value that is being spent for the things that were purchased. Valuable lessons can also be learned when they understand how to swipe a credit card.  Especially if you explain how the stores get the money from you when you use a card.

Also, show them how to watch the sum total of the items that shows up on the screen, so they can monitor the products that are being purchased.

Taking your kids to the store does not have to be a nightmare, use it to teach instead!

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