While out Christmas shopping with the kids recently, it struck me that they’ve come a long way over the last 12 months:

  • Before we left the house, there was a flurry of activity while each of them completed additional chores in order to earn a few extra $$$’s;
  • While at the store, they all weighed up their options before making a purchase (instead of buying the first thing they came across like last year!); and
  • I heard them chatting with each other about the change they expected to receive from the cashier at the checkout.

I stood back and watched them make informed, measured choices about how to spend their ‘hard earned’ cash and was very touched – and a little bit smug! It appears that all my lectures / lessons / nagging are paying off!

But let’s face it, I have an advantage because I write about raising financially savvy kids all the time – so it’s only natural that I should have picked up a few hints along the way!

My friend Tara had a very different experience. She ended up having a huge row with her daughter (11) and son (9) in the middle of the store because they’d all gotten annoyed with each other.

If you think that your experience might resemble Tara’s, then read on… here are a couple of ‘shopping with the kids’ tips that I’ve picked up along the way:



1        Don’t have an agenda of your own
If you want to use this as a ‘teaching’ moment, then make it only about your kids shopping experience. Don’t complicate things with your own shopping list, it will only end up in everyone getting frustrated!

2        Get the kids to talk about it beforehand
Before they even enter the store, have a chat about:

  1. Who they are buying for (and what they might like); &
  2. The budget. How much they want/have to spend on each gift?

That way you can guide their choices and ‘reign in’ any over ambitious expectations.

3       Challenge them to ‘bag a bargain’
Most kids love a little competition so challenge them to look for sale or discount items first. Explain that by buying a discounted item they could either save themselves some money or, they could buy an even better gift for the one they love.



4       Don’t give in!

Whatever you do, do not give in to their ‘puppy dog’ eyes! Whether it’s ‘I just know uncle Henry would love this tie but I only have $5″ or..“oh I just wish I could have that (whatever)” – be strong and make them (and yourself) stick to the budget. They’ll never learn to manage their own money if you give in and supplement it!

5       Use cash instead of credit
Like financial expert Farnoosh Torabi, I agree that kids should be encouraged to use cash from an early age because it physically represents an exchange of money. So have them approach the cashier with their own cash, no matter how scrunched up and dirty it might be!

6       Get them to round up and calculate
Before heading to the cashier, get them to roughly calculate how much change they should expect to receive when they’ve made their purchase, and encourage them to check their change once received.


Happy Shopping!

PennyOwl: Helping Parents Raise Money Smart Kids

Download the free app or check us out on Facebook