WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: The real cost of grocery shopping with the kids!

Posted July 7, 2011 12:41 a.m. EDT

If you ever grocery shop with your kids, you have to read this article about the real cost of bringing your children with you and how you can prevent overspending when the little ones are in tow.

My thanks to our guest contributor this week, Josh Elledge, of SavingsAngel.com!

Once you finish the article, please share any other ideas you have for saving money while shopping with the kids.

Bringing Kids to the Grocery Store?

There is a known fact among grocery store retailers that shoppers who bring kids with them spend more. There are several reasons for this.

1. Yes... Shoppers who bring kids generally have more mouths to feed.
2. 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.
3. 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’ve got a perfect storm brewing.
4. 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.

How much does it cost you to bring your kids with you to the grocery store? Estimates are hard to pin down because every shopper is different. However, for a shopper who was already shopping based on need and “what looks good,” a grocery bill can go up by as much as 50%!

So what is a mom or dad on a budget to do? I polled our members on our facebook page. They tend to be some of the most savvy shoppers around. Here are just a few things they shared (along with some advice of my own).

1. 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.

2. Shop at a time when your kids can stay at home with another parent and you can shop uninterrupted. Believe it or not, 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.

3. 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.

4. Involve your kids in the budget aspect of shopping. Sarah Boogerd posted on our facebook wall, “I show them how much cash I have, how long my list is, I let them help me with the calculator, 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!!”

5. 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 - that they will not come up with their own suggestions for purchases as often. If they can help you complete the shopping trip (including putting groceries away) by a certain time, they can have enough time to play at the park, or receive their one selected treat.

6. Involve your kids in the nutrition aspect of shopping. Explain why it’s important to stick with what’s on your shopping list from a health standpoint. You’ll have the opportunity to explain why one product from your list may be healthier than another. Pull the two products together and look at the food labels. If you have a smartphone, pull up nutritional information on the products - which also explains the vitamins and particular nutrients of the food item. 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. The same goes for the rest of the family. The food choices we make in the grocery store have a huge impact on what we eat every day.

Here is some information about savingsangel.com provided by the company:

Josh Elledge is the Chief Executive “Angel” of SavingsAngel, Inc. – launched from his Holland, Michigan home in January 2007. A husband and father of three, he now appears each week on television, many radio stations and newspapers, teaching families how to cut their grocery bill in half using the Internet. Elledge created the technology found on SavingsAngel.com through the need to save his own family’s money. Successfully able to cut his own grocery bill from $600 a month to less than $300 a month, his message has reached hundreds of thousands of families. SavingsAngel.com is now growing rapidly throughout the country. You can watch a short video at SavingsAngel.com that will explain more information about how to cut your own grocery bill in half with the help of SavingsAngel.com.

The easiest way to cut your grocery bill in half is through using manufacturer coupons combined with the best sales at local stores. Normally, this takes a lot of work to create a winning shopping list for your family. Each week, SavingsAngel.com combines over 2,000 products on sale at local grocery and drug stores with their enormous database of manufacturer coupons – which are found in Sunday newspapers and throughout the Internet. This combination results in access to over 300 products each week for 50% off or better.  (There is a fee to use this service)