Shopping with kids breaks the bank | Parents & kids
The family needs groceries. Mom's got the kids in tow.
Mom might be better off getting a baby-sitter.
"There is a known fact among grocery store retailers that shoppers who bring kids with them spend more," said Josh Elledge, chief executive "angel" of the grocery savings site SavingsAngel.com.
Here's why, according to Elledge:
* Kids have the uncanny effect of causing more time to be spent in the store. Time equals money in retailing. The Food Marketing Institute estimates that shoppers spend $2.17 for each minute they spend in the store.
* Kids (especially younger ones) are impulsive. The grocery store is completely designed to create impulse purchases. Add to this the fact that kids are so heavily marketed to and you have a perfect storm brewing.
* Kids add stress to the primary shopper whose meticulous shopping plans may get harder to follow by the end of the excursion. As a result, mom or dad may just end up throwing products in the cart to get the trip finished sooner. This means higher profit items are added to the shopper’s purchases.
Elledge and his SavingsAngel Facebook members (www.facebook.com/savingsangel) suggested these tips for grocery shoppers with kids stuffing their carts:
* Shop at a time when your kids can stay at home with another parent, and you can shop uninterrupted. There are many moms and dads who go out after bedtime. While you may not be able to hit all your favorite stores, with no kids and lower crowds, you’ll likely be able to get your shopping done in record time. Feel free to own this shopping trip as “me” time - and enjoy some time off from parenting while you un-impulsively shop the aisles (coupons in hand). You’ll be doing better quality shopping for your family and you’ll more easily stay on budget.
* Make sure you are not shopping only on need and impulse. This is the most expensive way to shop. Instead, you should buy only the best sales matched with high value coupons. As you stock up on these items when you can get them for pennies on the dollar, you’ll find that you won’t need as much in the weeks ahead. You’ll focus on purchasing only the best deals along with perhaps some fresh dairy and produce. This shift starts to make shopping easier much each week as you go in with a plan and stick to it.
* If you shop during the day, exchange babysitting with another enlightened shopper. Find a friend who is as committed to SavingsAngel shopping and compare schedules. You might be able to exchange some coupons while you trade off kids. Ultimately, this should be both a time saver and a money-saver.
* Involve your kids in the budget aspect of shopping. “I show them how much cash I have, how long my list is, I let them help me with the calculator," posted SavingsAngel member Sarah Boogerd, "and when they ask for something, I ask them things like, 'Do you think we will have enough money for that? Should we skip getting milk this week so we can buy that? Etc,' They now ask, 'Do we have a coupon for that?' for just about everything we buy or do!!”
* Involve your kids in the time aspect of shopping. You might be able to keep them entertained enough by giving them specific items to find from your shopping list. Turn it into a scavenger hunt -- and reward them for their performance.
* Involve your kids in the nutrition aspect of shopping. You can explain that if they want to get taller, run faster, have more energy, and think more clearly, that it’s important that they give their body the best stuff. Teach them how to read food labels and compare different brands of the same item.
Photo courtesy Flickr user lu_lu.