How to avoid overspending when grocery shopping with your children

Many parents like to bring their children along for grocery shopping. This is one of the ways that we can bond with our little ones and spend precious family moments together.

Once outside the confines of their own home, children will discover a myriad of things that pique their interest: toys, stationeries, snacks, etc. Therefore, it is not unusual for them to throw the occasional tantrums when something fancy catches their eye. As for parents, it is very natural for us to give in to our children's demands as a means to pacify them. If this is not kept in check, parents can easily overspend as a result of purchasing unnecessary items.

There are many ways to refrain from overspending when we are out shopping with young children. Just put on your thinking cap and with a bit of creativity, a trip to your local grocery store can be an enjoyable and fun activity!


  1. Communicate your expectation to your child

Before the start of shopping, speak and make it clear to your child on what to buy and when to buy. Wise spending habits should be inculcated from young. Educate and reason to your child on purchasing only the essential or needful, and not splurging on unnecessary things.


2. Stand firm


Once you have explained the importance of spending responsibly and made your child aware of what not to buy, hold your ground and do not budge on the decision. Being a child, your little one may try to test your limits by behaving unreasonably or breaking into a sudden outburst of temper, hoping that you will back down. If this is the case, you must keep calm and stay cool, so that the situation remains under control.


3.Make a shopping list


Always list down what to purchase and shop based on the list. Share the list with your child and make it fun by initiating a game of locating where the items are. The one who successfully finds the most number of items will be declared the ‘winner’.


4.Avoid walking past sections which will tempt your child


Once entering the store, you would know which items your child will 'hunt' for. Therefore, avoid passing by these aisles. To help keep your child distracted, you may suggest to do something interesting such as asking your child to choose fruits or vegetables that they like.


5. Send your child to the indoor playground with your spouse and you do the grocery shopping

This is an alternative that lets you complete your shopping faster with lesser time spent. In return, you can have longer family meals and gain more play time.


6. Divert your child’s attention


Having your child's favourite item around can take his or her attention away from things that you do not want them to notice, so bringing along a toy, book (or even food) can do the trick! While your child is engaged, you can shop with peace of mind.


7. Online purchase

Another option is to shop for your groceries over the Internet and have them delivered to your doorstep. Not only is it convenient, you get to spend more time with your child and the whole family at home too, minus the hassle of going to a crowded store.

Written By:

Ms Tracy Teng Mun Yee is an accountant by profession. She has passed her ACCA qualification and gained her ACCA fellowship during her 8 years of practical experienced working with multinational organizations.


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