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Kids & Money: Teach Your Children to Shop for Bargains

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BargainOne of the best things you can do for your kids is to teach them to be savvy shoppers. Like many of us, children think it’s fun to spend money on the things they want. And, while you’re doling out allowance and teaching kids the importance of saving up, you should also help them learn how to shop savvy.

Savvy shopping is about getting the best bang for your buck — and you do your kids a disservice if you don’t teach them how to look for the best bargains. Here are some of the ways we help our son learn bargain hunting:

Set an Example

Before we make an important purchase, my husband and I do our research, looking for the best deals. We get Consumer Reports magazine, and we make a point of looking through reviews, and talking about the merits of different products and brands where our son can hear. He also sees us looking online, through sales fliers, and at stores. We do price comparisons, and talk about good value versus cheapest price. All of this sets the tone in our home — one that involves bargain hunting.

Help Your Child with Purchases

While our son knows we like to look for the best bargains, we also believe that he needs to put the concepts learned into practice. This means we help him make purchases. Recently, at the store, our son saw a Lego set he wanted. He was ready to buy it then and there. “Wait a minute,” counseled my husband, “you could spend $15 on that right now. But shouldn’t we go home and look online first?”

My son agreed, and we went home. Together, they looked for the set online. There is was, for $10.50. My son was excited to see that he could get it for less. It meant that he would have more money left over for something else. Now, he reminds us, while we are shopping, to do a price check online. “Don’t forget to look online first!”

While we didn’t get into the details of shipping costs with my son, older children should be taught to consider this expense. The Lego set we found came with a $3 shipping charge. At $13.50, that was still cheaper than the price in the store. Some things, though, become more expensive with the shipping charge. When teaching your older children about price comparison, be sure to help them compare the price with shipping, sales tax, and other fees.

Better Quality & Shopping Local

Of course, sometimes it’s not just about the cheapest price. Sometimes it’s about better value, and getting the best bang for your buck. Older kids will understand value and craftsmanship, and the importance of, perhaps, paying a little more for something of better quality.

Additionally, it can be worth it to teach your children that sometimes it’s worth it to shop locally, helping local businesses. While you don’t want to pay a great deal more, there is nothing wrong with frequenting local businesses and showing your children that sometimes cheap isn’t the only thing.

How do you teach your children about bargain hunting?

(Photo: sgrace)

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3 Responses to “Kids & Money: Teach Your Children to Shop for Bargains”

  1. Nate says:

    Being the example is really probably the most important part. Helping kids with their finances will help them in the long run.

  2. Jonathan says:

    I agree with Nate. One question for the OP and others – as a new father, I’m wondering how to step into these lessons from an early age? While I don’t expect my 4 month old to turn into the E-Trade baby, I do wonder what sort of basic examples my wife and I can model.

  3. Shirley says:

    I don’t remember my parents ever actively taking part in teaching us how to shop for bargains. They were frugal and wise shoppers so we simply learned from their example.
    they lived within their means and we do too; it just seems to have come naturally.


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