Shopping with kids? Don’t blow your budget

Staying on a budget is hard enough, but when you include your kids on your shopping trips, your budget is under constant threat. Here are some tips on how to stick to your budget.

Leave them at home

At the risk of being obvious, the best solution to this particular problem is to leave your kids at home when you are out doing errands. Divide and conquer with your spouse, or buddy up with a friend and return the favour of child care.

Don’t be in a rush

Nothing will push you into impulse shopping and weaken your resolve in reaction to tiny voices who “want that” then being in a rush. Shop when you’ve got time to spare- which includes factoring in time to say no to the kids.

Use it as a teaching opportunity

Life is full of teachable moments, and your shopping trips are an ideal opportunity. Explain the relationship between your list and the money that you’ve got to spend. If possible, use cash so the kids can see when money is gone, it’s gone.

Give everyone a job

Enlist your pint sized shoppers to help fill your cart. Give everyone a job. For younger kids, give them pictures of what you’re after. You can even treat it like a scavenger hunt or a game.

Promise treats at the end

There is nothing wrong with some good, old-fashioned bribery, especially if it means that you can exit the store with the items on your list and your budget intact. Plan ahead for rewards for good behaviour and figure them into your budget.


Go the self-checkout route. There tend to be less “temptation” (i.e. candy, toys and magazines) items placed nearby while in line. It also gives the kids something to do when it is your turn to scan and bag the items.