Our last lesson was about shopping on a budget and we focused on staying within our means. This week, we headed to the grocery store and I let my son lead the charge on getting groceries.
They have been to the grocery store with me many times, but I have never really taken the time to explain how I do things, or why.
I started out at home by having my 8 year old write out the shopping list. We looked through the refrigerator, freezer and pantry to see what we needed. Our list had 4 things on it.
- whipped topping
- dishwasher tabs
I intentionally timed this trip for when I only needed a few things (ha!) so it would be quick and easy, with a toddler in tow.
The Toddler Task was to push the tiny kid cart for us at the store, and to help carry grocery bags into the house. I wisely did not tell him what his first job would be, which was good, because there weren’t any kid carts available when we got there. (Whew!)
So he got into a race car cart, and his first job was to be himself, the adorable, grabby, leaning-out-of-the-cart impatient toddler.
It would serve as an added bonus lesson for my oldest about being efficient with time. Along with the bazillion other decisions you have to make while shopping, you also have to keep kids from exploding.
We walked into the doors closest to the produce section first, so I had him lead the way to find the bananas.
Once we got there, we talked about how bananas are sold by weight and I showed him the price per pound. The bigger the bananas are, the more expensive they are because they weigh more.
And we saw that organic bananas are often smaller in size, but cost more per pound. Decisions, decisions. It’s a jungle out there, man.
He settled on a smaller-sized bunch of regular bananas and then we went to the cereal aisle.
We talked about price differences and quantities. I held up two boxes of cereal. One was a much smaller box but cost more because it was name brand and had a toy inside. The other had a lot more product for less than half the price.
And we read the nutritional information because you know he went straight for the Cocoa Pebbles. We talked about serving sizes and sugar. I had him look for something where the sugar content was at least in the single digits.
We compromised with Honey Nut Cheerios. They were on sale and close in price to the generic brand we usually get. It had a Star Wars toy in it, but he was putting in a good effort and just had a good progress report in school, so I was okay with it (plus he’s a good salesman.)
Then we went to find the dishwasher tabs. He said he had no idea where that stuff was, so I pointed up to the signs that list the products in each aisle.
We found the home cleaning aisle, and they were out of the tabs I use. They had it in powder form so we had a decision to make. Do we go to another store or just get the powder? I only had two tabs left at home.
Our favorite toddler grabbed onto the cart of a woman walking by as we were deciding. She was slowly walking and shopping, so she didn’t see him do it, and neither did I.
I felt our cart moving though, and I looked down to see our toddler had hitched a ride. I pried his little hands off of her cart, she and I both apologize profusely, and I slowly backed up our cart to it’s original spot.
“Let’s just get the powder mom, so we don’t have to come back here again.” he said. 🙂 His mother’s son. So we got the powder and went to find the freezer section for the whipped topping.
He knows exactly where that is, by the ice cream. So we got that lickety split.
“Can we please get some apples? We’re out of apples.” I said yes. And we talked about how we sometimes forget to put things on the list. (At least he didn’t ask for ice cream.)
So we trek all the way back to the opposite end of the store. (I also mentioned that when I make a list for a big trip, I try to group things by where they’re at in the store.)
I was going to have him do the self-checkout, but the toddler was ready to go. I settled on showing them where the bar codes are on the stuff we buy, and that the scanner beeps when it reads the price.
As we checked out, he saw the rows of candy at the checkout line and pointed out that the store is trying to get us to buy a bunch of extra stuff at the end. And that it’s a good thing we made a list so we don’t get tempted to buy too much extra stuff we don’t need.
I nearly cried.
By George, I think he’s going to be alright.
What I learned: They hear you. They really, really do. Toddlers have quite a grip, and will try as hard as they can to carry “heavy” bags inside.
See all of the lessons in the School of Mom:
- Why We Did The School of Mom
- Loading the Dishwasher
- Dishes by Hand
- Grocery Shopping
- Learning to Shop on a Budget
- Laundry Sorting and Washing
- Laundry Drying and Folding
- Cleaning the Bathroom
- Sweeping the Floor
- What We All Learned during The School of Mom