Teaching Kids How To Shop Competitively

For the last couple of years we’ve had everyone in our family draw names and purchase Christmas gifts for that person (just my husband, kids, and myself). We usually give each person $100 to spend. This year we’ve decided to do the same thing, but just with the kids purchasing for each other. I’m also approaching how they purchase the gifts in a little different manner this year. They’re all a little older, and while my youngest may need some assistance, they have some requirements to complete prior to going to any stores. What I’m attempting to do is teach them how to shop and find the best available prices to get the most out of their money. They’ll definitely need this skill when they become adults.

Here are the requirements:

  1. They look at the wish list for the person they are purchasing for and from that they need to make a list of items they think they would like to purchase for their person.
  2. They have to search online for stores that carry the item, find prices, and compare prices between stores.
  3. They have to make a list of which stores have the lowest price for the item and what that price is.
  4. They have to figure out what the tax is based on the price they found and add up the prices (plus tax) on all of the items to determine how much they would be spending.
  5. They have to highlight the items they want to purchase based on the prices they have found (keeping other items as reserves in case the chosen items are out of stock or are more than what they anticipated), and create a list of which items need to be purchased from which stores.
  6. Then we can go shopping.

They don’t know all of the steps yet because this can sound quite overwhelming to a child to complete. I am only giving them one step at a time…or two where it is necessary (i.e. #2 & 3). By the time they’re done shopping for their person they’ll not only have really researched and thought about the purchases they are making, but they’ll know how to competitively shop to save money, and make their money stretch farther than they probably thought possible.

There are lots of apps out there that can give you competitor’s pricing on items by just scanning the barcode. However, my objective is to not even go into a store until I know what is being purchased.

I really dislike shopping in all the crowds. People tend to forget that this is the holiday season – a time for giving, sharing, smiling, and being nice – instead, they become grumpy and irritated with the pushing, shoving, crowding, and long lines at the stores. Yes, I do as well. So, the sooner I can get in and out the better!

Have you started teaching your kids how to shop and save money? If your kids are grown, how did you get them to understand the value of a dollar?

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