Kid Shopping:
Teach Kids to be Thrifty Spenders

Kid shopping skills are becoming more and more valuable. With all the commercials and brands they are exposed to each day, it's important that they learn how to shop wisely.

Honestly, it can be easier to teach kids because they may not have as many bad shopping and spending habits that they have to give up. Here are some the best ways to get kids spending money to think about what they are spending it on.

  • Play money games with your kids. Monopoly is still a very popular game, and there are a number of theme versions available. The one we have is Monopoly Junior with lemonade stands instead of hotels and other kid-friendly updates. It is not for the youngest kids because there is some strategy involved, and they need to be able to count money. You can also make up your own games - like a version of "The Price is Right" when you go to the grocery store. Have your kids guess the prices of the items on your grocery list and see who can come the closest.
  • Make them pay for some of their own stuff as early as they can understand it.It can be easy to forget about family spending rules and the family budget when parents are footing the bill. Kids spending money are more likely to think hard about a purchase that is with their own money. They start to weigh how much they really want or need something instead of just following their initial want.
  • Don’t let your kids get hooked on name brand clothing at an early age. There is nothing wrong with buying nice clothes. Who doesn't like nice stuff? And, it’s okay to have a few name brand items, but there are many other options for kids spending money. Take them shopping when you go to Wal-Mart, Target, or a consignment shop and talk about how these options fit into the family spending plan. As they get older and choose what to wear, advise them to look at all of the racks to compare all the prices before making any purchase.
  • Take your kids to the grocery store with you. Kid shopping experiences aren't limited to the mall. Let them help you make out the grocery list and clip the coupons. As you bargain shop, tell the kids what you are doing and how it fits into the family budgeting. You don't have to tell them every small detail - just enough so that they understand that you are paying attention to how you can spend your money wisely.
  • Teach them about online shopping. With younger kids, much of what they learn will be what they can touch and see, so keeping the kid shopping in the stores is the best idea. As kids get older, though, they become more familiar with the online world and online shopping. They may see packages arrive and know that they were ordered from the Internet. Use that as a way to teach them about shopping online, how to compare prices between sites and make sure they are buying from reputable sites and vendors.
  • Do as you say. Kids follow the examples that they can see. Most of their money examples come from you. Resist the temptation to impulse shop when you have extra money. This can set a bad example for the kids, not to mention that it could derail the family spending plan. Save for the things you want and don’t let your emotional state control the purse strings.
  • Learning how to use money is a trial and error process. The goal with kid shopping experiences is to help them understand that money can be used to purchase things they want and need for the best possible price. Kids spending money, as a group, is growing each day. Use these tips to help ensure that your kid learngs the basics to get them started on the right path.

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