Save Your Sanity While Shopping with Kids

Savings Angel

This article, entitled "Save Your Sanity While Shopping with Kids," comes from

If there were ever a test for patience, it would probably involve sending you into a store with a toddler and a teen and seeing how long it takes for you to lose your temper.

Don’t get me wrong. Children are fabulous – I have three of my own – but most seem to have perfected the fine art of pushing each and every one of our buttons. Take them into a store and they will undoubtedly be bored, obnoxious or desperately begging for something that is most certainly not on your shopping list.

The best way to stay sane is to leave the little people at home when you go to the store. However, I know that isn’t practical for all parents so if you have to take them, try these strategies to keep your kids in line and your temper cool.

Adjust expectations

In my extensive experience mentoring new couponers, I find that going in with realistic expectations is one of the best ways to find success. For example, the couponers who know the TV show Extreme Couponing is an extreme fantasy tend to stick with couponing and save more money in the long run.

Likewise, parents who go into the store with realistic expectations are more likely to avoid feeling frazzled when the kids starting act like, well, kids. Don’t plan on a 15 minute trip for 20 items if you have a toddler and a preschooler in tow and expect that some whining will be par for the course.

Plan in advance how to react

Along with adjusting your expectations, think about how you plan to react to the inevitable meltdowns and begging that will occur from time to time. Some parents like to reward their kids with a treat from the checkout counter if they are good, but others seeing that as training their children to only behave when a reward is involved.

Regardless of how you approach the issue, have a plan in mind. Will you leave the store? Revoke privileges? Let your child earn a reward? Know how you will respond, make sure your child knows your expectations and, most importantly, follow through as planned when the time comes.

Make shopping a game

We’ve talked about how to prepare for a child’s bad behavior but what about how to encourage their good behavior? There are all sorts of ways you can make shopping a game if you have some time to spend in the store.

  • Play peek-a-boo or sing softly to babies (really – other shoppers would probably rather listen to you hum or sing quietly to your baby than hear the person on their cell phone the next aisle over).
  • Play I-spy with toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Let younger kids retrieve items from the shelf and put them in a cart.
  • Send tweens and teens off to pick up items on your list – send a coupon to help them find the exact item you need or have them compare prices to find the best bargain themselves.
  • Break out the electronics. If you are in a department store and waiting for big sister to pick out a holiday dress, letting your 10 year old play Angry Birds for a while may keep the peace.

It’s all in the logistics

Finally, you can increase your chances of a successful and stress-free shopping trip by planning the logistics just right. That means:

  • Heading to the store at off-peak times so there is no crowd to fight
  • Making sure everyone is fed and full beforehand (that means you too!) My kids are notorious for getting “hangry” (hungry/angry) if they haven’t eaten in a while.
  • Knowing where the bathrooms are located and ensuring everyone has had a chance to go at the start of shopping
  • And absolutely no shopping during naptimes or after bedtime

Then hit the store with a smile on your face and stay positive. Remember, if Mom or Dad seems happy, the kids are likely to pick up on those good vibes and follow suit.

The best couponers save hundreds of dollars every month at the grocery store. However, extreme couponers can end up living very extreme lifestyles to get those savings. For over five years, has equalized the playing field – giving extreme savings to busy families who don’t have the time or ability to be an extreme couponer. Each week,’s over 70 angels combine over 2,000 products on sale at local grocery and drug stores with an enormous database of over 2000 different manufacturer coupons. These combinations result in our members getting access to over 300 products each week for 50% off or better. Simply log in, choose the deals you want, print or clip only the coupons you need, and save hundreds of dollars a month at regional and national stores. Our angels will personally work with you to craft a plan that will help you buy healthier food at lower prices – helping you keep $200 to $400 in savings each month.

Josh Elledge is chief executive "Angel" of, a website that teaches consumers how to save money through a free money savings video eCourse and podcast. SavingsAngel also provides hundreds of 50% off or better deals each week to members by matching local grocery and drug store sales with its free database of over 5,000 accessible coupons. A husband and father of three, he now appears each week on television, in eight newspapers, and a number of radio stations across the country teaching families how to cut their grocery bill in half using the Internet. Elledge created the technology found on through the need to save his own family’s money. Successfully able to cut his own grocery bill from $600 a month to less than $300 a month, his message has reached hundreds of thousands of families. is now growing rapidly throughout the country. You can watch a short video at that will explain more information about how to cut your own grocery bill in half with the help of!


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