“Raising Smart Shoppers,” Ensign, Aug. 2006, 70–71
“Mom, there’s nothing to eat!” Sound familiar? One day in frustration I retorted, “Well, why don’t you buy the groceries if you don’t like what I bought?” I then realized that that might actually be a good plan. I decided to let each of my four teenagers take turns shopping for the groceries.
I established guidelines but left the details to them. For instance, I gave them a set cash amount. They had to first purchase healthy foods: milk, fruits, vegetables, meat, and other essentials. They also had to add to our food storage. Only after the basics were purchased could they buy treats.
Soon they realized that the money didn’t go far, and they started scouring the grocery store ads and clipping coupons. With a planned list in hand, one by one they accompanied me to the store, ready to be in charge. As we shopped, I explained unit pricing, and they decided on the best value. I would answer any questions they had, but the actual purchase decision was left to them, based on the budget and our family’s needs. At the checkout they proudly handed over their coupons and the correct amount from their cash envelopes.
Once I let my children plan the grocery shopping, I seldom heard them complain that there was nothing to eat. Instead, they proved to be smart shoppers—a skill they were able to teach roommates when they moved away from home.
Debbie VanDerwerken Schaffer, New York