Mail Bag Time!!! A reader writes in asking this question:
Do you shop with children? If so, any advice? I’ve been trying to start couponing, but with my 11 month old throwing everything I hand him in the floor and getting frustrated while I try to organize coupons, I’m wondering if it’s going to be something I can manage.
I try very hard NOT to shop with my children. Can we buy this mom? I need a recorder where I can push a button that says, “No, it is not on our list.” Oh, the horror stories I could tell you about my children and shopping. Once, while shopping with my two youngest children, my then 3 year throw a horrendous fit in the chip aisle. Why? Because I wouldn’t buy cheese puffs. He called me a dummy and threw himself to the floor while everyone stared at me. Oh, what a fun memory! Sometimes people give you dirty looks, looks of pity or even one time, a lady told me “You go girl” because I refused to give in while he threw his fit. Anyway….
Sometimes I will leave around 8pm to go shopping and leave the kids at home with my husband. I also try to shop on my lunch break or before I pick up my kids from daycare. If you are a stay at home mom, this may be more difficult. While you are getting comfortable couponing, I would suggest trying to schedule when someone else can care for your child. Whether that be after your spouse gets home from work, joining a MOPS group, or child care swap with a friend.
If you can’t schedule a time when someone else can watch your child, I do have some suggestions. (I’m not saying any of these will be the miracle for you but they might help a little!)
- Fill their bellies. Bring a small snack or toy for your child.
- Enlist their help. If your child is older, enlist their help while you shop. Give them a coupon while near the item and ask them to find it or let them pick out the variety (if you don’t have a preference).
- Small Trips. Don’t try to be too ambitious and make smaller trips. Try to keep your total time around 30 minutes.
- Schedule at the right time for your child. Go early in the morning when your child is “fresh” or after naptime. You know your child, schedule it around them for your own sanity.
- Let them know your expectations. Let them know what you expect of them in the store. Sometimes this helps.
I would also suggest doing more of your leg work before going to the store.
This is my before shopping routine:
- Use my “printer friendly” version of my deal page.
- Look through the pages and mark out the items I know I don’t want/need.
- Search for the coupons by insert and then clip the coupons of the items I’m interested in.
- Write the # of items I want of each item by the item, check off the coupon to use as I find them so I know they are clipped.
- I then organize my coupons by aisle. I paper clip the multiple coupons together and then put the list and the coupons in an envelope.
- As I am shopping, I gather the items I want to purchase. As I am doing this, I find my coupons and place them in a separate envelope so I will be ready for checkout.
- I do a quick double check of my coupons as I’m standing in line just to make sure I didn’t miss any coupons.
Here’s the coupon wallet I use while shopping. I leave my purse in the car and put cash or my credit/debit card, loyalty cards, gift cards in the outside pocket. I have extra coupons in different sections in my coupon wallet in case I find something that isn’t on my list that I need, unadvertised sale, or clearance.
As you get more comfortable with using your coupons, you will find it a little easier to shop with your children with your coupons. Good luck to you!!!
Readers, do you shop with children? Any funny or horror stories to share???