Smart About Money: At the Grocery Store

Smart About Money: At the Grocery Store

Grocery shopping with your child does not need to be an exercise in finding all kinds of ways to say “no” or stealthily navigating around the candy and sweets aisles. Instead, involving your child in the grocery shopping for the family can create solid financial management skills – and more.

For starters, involving your kids in this process can start as soon as they recognize that food is coming from somewhere before it reaches the refrigerator or pantry. Engaging them in the shopping on a level they understand can start with having them help pick out fresh fruit and vegetables. You can teach them how to select produce and then let them weigh it. Have them help unload the groceries at home, and teach them why we put some things in the fridge or why we store food in different ways. The next step is to involve them in meal planning and preparation.

When they’re ready for a Challenge, bring in the money side of grocery shopping. They may need to be a little older but my 6-year-old son is already comparing prices at the store. Our conversations have switched from what is a ripe and perfect peach to what is more expensive and what isn’t. We also talk about the social consequences of what we are purchasing, why we prefer locally-grown or organic foods, and how the different seasons impact those choices. A more mature child will be able to comprehend the reasoning and decisions behind what is purchased and what isn’t.

This is a financial skill that is a building block. You do this with your child, you do it repeatedly with your child, you’re consistent with them and they build on that and the conversation expands – and that benefits your child.

Want to try the Challenge with your family? Watch this video to get started:

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to involve your kids, here are a few good online resources:

  • FDA My Plate: Meal planning and how to build a healthy plate.
  • Emeals: Weekly recipes for home cooked meals delivered to your inbox.
  • Plan to Eat: Recipe organizer and grocery list builder.