My grandkids and I have a fun shopping tradition that we enjoy in a couple of times a year. The number of “grands” that join in the shopping spree vary. Some times there’s four kids and other times there’s as many as seven or eight at one time. The kids range from 3 years to 12 years old and the shopping excursion takes place at the “Dollar Store.”
There are two rules we apply to our shopping experience.
1. We set a limit as to the amount of money they can spend per person. Sometimes it’s three dollars and sometimes it’s five. The rule is… they have to stay within the budget. If three dollars is the limit… they know they can only put three things in their basket. (That’s why we shop at the “Dollar Store.”)
2. The second rule is… they can choose anything they want… as long as they stay within the pre-determined budget. An opinion on what they choose to buy is “off limits.” (This rule is more for me than it is for them.)
If I say, “You don’t want that because….” Or ask, “Do you really want that?,” it invalidates the child’s decision and then I take on the responsibility for what they purchase because they may try and to “please” me rather than select what they really want. It’s then easy to blame me for items they purchase that they aren’t really thrilled about.
Now, the shopping spree.
As soon as they enter the store… they run to get their individual baskets and they start down the isles. The real young ones put everything they see into their baskets. The older kids walk up and down the isles and carefully make their decisions before placing the items in their baskets. It’s fun to watch the process.
Often, when the little ones count their items they realize they have too many toys and have to put things back on the shelves because they have gone over the budget. They use to complain a bit, now they just automatically take things back.
Once everyone has their toys… they march off to cashier where they purchase their items and they walk out the door with their own bag in hand…. happy as larks.
Meet our today’s shoppers. Braden (in the back ) Landon, Josie, and Barrett Griffiths.
Why such a shopping trip?
First of all, it’s fun and it’s a tradition we look forward to. As elementary as this process may seem… it gives them a bit of an opportunity to learn a little about finance and being responsible for their own choices.
They learn there is a limit to their spending because they have to stay within a budget. I don’t budge when it comes to sticking by the rules. No extra items.
Because no one gives directions on what to purchase… they are solely responsible for what they choose. If they don’t choose wisely, and end up unhappy about their choices, they are much more careful the next time.
On a recent shopping trip, my grandson, Glade, ask if he could take some of the the money and cash out. He wanted to save a couple of dollars of his budget for something else. Great thinking. Saving his money for something of greater importance to him was a smart move.
Our shopping spree at the dollar store is fun and it saves me a bundle. Have you seen the prices of toys at Walmart? Oh, my gosh!
Take a look at this short video and watch the process. You will find some interesting decisions being made. We have so much fun…you’ll have to try it sometime. Besides all the fun… valuable lessons are being taught.
P.S. Of course… afterward, a trip to Wendy’s for a bite to eat is always a treat.