Grocery Shopping Life Skills

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These are grocery shopping life skills you need to know about! Are you the type of person who dreads a visit to the grocery store? After a long hard day at work, it’s probably the last place you want to go, but currently, your kitchen pantry is bare.

For most of us, it can be a chore that demands not only energy, but also all of our attention. And if you have kids, you’re probably laughing at this point, because taking your kids with you is a huge challenge. Sometimes even a nightmare.

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Grocery Shopping Life Skills

Grocery Shopping Life Skills

I know that most moms out there prefer to do their grocery shopping alone, without the distractions, fighting, whining, and unnecessary items that find their way into your grocery cart. 

While that may be the peaceful way to shop for your groceries, your kids are missing out on some very important skills that they will need later on in life.

This is why every now and then I’d encourage you to take them with you so that they can pick up on them. These are grocery shopping life skills that you need to teach your children.  

Take a Pantry Inventory

Before you even make a trip to the grocery store, explain to your children the importance of taking a quick inventory of the food that you still have in your pantry.

This keeps you from buying something that you already have, and also to have an idea of meals that you could be putting together if you only had one or two other ingredients. 

This will be beneficial when you’re making a list. Taking an inventory also helps you rotate your food supply because you’re more aware of foods that have been there for a while and need to be eaten soon.  

Meal Planning

Meal planning is another skill that needs to happen even before you and your kids all pile into the car and head to the grocery store. This will determine a big part of how your shopping experience turns out.

One of the best ways of doing this is by looking at your grocery store’s ad flyer for the week and finding great deals on meat and other items that can be tied together. Determine if you can take some of those leftovers from dinner one night, and then use it for lunch the next day. 

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Sit down with your kids and come up with meals for each day. Teach your children that going into the grocery store without a game plan could end up costing you a lot of money, and you’ll be left with fewer meal solutions that you can use for the week.

Show them how each meal that you buy costs a significant amount less than what your average drive-thru visit will cost you if you plan ahead and buy right.   

Make a List

Now that you have your meal plan, make a list of items that you still need to pick up. If you have any coupons, show them how easy it is to save on those items. Make sure they pay attention to how much of a particular ingredient that a recipe is calling for.

Having a list will give you and your children direction while you’re there, and keep them from wandering aimlessly looking for stuff you didn’t need. Teach your kids to stick to the list!  

Budgeting

Give your kids a rough estimate of how much you want to spend during your visit to the grocery store. By showing them a budget, they’ll have a ballpark figure of how much they should be spending, and steer them closer to that amount.

This will also be an opportunity for you to explain why all of those extra and unnecessary items that they’re wanting should not be placed in the cart. That’s not to say that you can’t reward them for their hard work and help while they’re learning new skills. Consider an item they mentioned they’d love to have, as long as it isn’t too costly or unhealthy.  

Read Nutrition Labels

Smart grocery shopping also has a lot to do with shopping healthier, but far too often, this one is overlooked. Go over the nutrition labels with your children, teaching them what ingredients are good for you, and which ones aren’t.

If a member of your family has certain food allergies, your kids will need to pay close attention to that as well. Simply following nutrition labels, your family will be eating healthier, and your kids will thank you for it later on in life.  

Comparing Prices

Your children need to find out how to get the most bang for their buck. This is done by comparing prices on similar items, and also paying close attention to the price per ounce that most grocery stores put on their price labels.

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Another thing to be careful of is to show them how an item could have been put in the wrong spot by an employee or by a customer. Show them how to carefully read the barcode numbers on the item itself, and then match it to the number that’s located somewhere on the shelf price tag.

Be sure to point out that store brands and generic products generally are cheaper, but in most cases have the same quality and healthy content.

Getting the most for your money is a great lesson to teach your children. 

Checking Out

Now that it’s time to check out, have your children see if they were able to stay on budget or not. I’d personally recommend that you pay with cash in front of your children, that way they can visibly see the money going across the counter.

Using only a debit/credit card for every transaction that you make is only going to lead them to believe that there’s an endless supply of money on your card. That could get them into trouble later on in life. If you generally use your debit card to buy groceries, take some time when you are home to show them how the bank reports the sale on your bank statement and that the funds aren’t unlimited.

Teach your children to also account for sales tax, how much to give the cashier, and to determine how much change that they should be getting back.  

Grocery Shopping Life Skills

Final Word

These are some of the most basic grocery shopping life skills that you need to start teaching your children as they’re growing up. You’ll be teaching them how to save money, eat better, and plan in order to get the most out of their grocery shopping experience.

What are some other grocery shopping life skills that you think are also important? I’d love to hear from you. May God Bless this world, Linda. 

Copyright Images: Bag of Groceries Deposit photos_75030351_s-2019

24 thoughts on “Grocery Shopping Life Skills

  • February 16, 2021 at 11:38 am
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    Linda, what a great post. The pantry inventory suggestion really rang a bell. I’d add freezer inventory to that list. I don’t know how many times I’ve purchase something only to realize we already had a sufficient stock on hand.

    Jane and I usually sit down together on Monday and plan our dinners for the week. Last week I bought a 10 pound bag of potatoes so we cooked up a large batch of fried potatoes. Breakfast then is usually fried potatoes, eggs and sausage gravy. Lunches are usually left overs. Dinners often depend on what we are harvesting. Lately that’s salad stuff (minus cukes, celery and tomatoes, which we have to buy) plus whatever meat and rice or potatoes we have on hand.

    Once we’ve planned the meals we check the pantry and freezer for stock. But for some reason (dumbness) I have rarely thought to inventory the pantry before going shopping, possibly because my pantry is not particularly well organized.

    So, thanks for the tip.

    Reply
    • February 16, 2021 at 2:14 pm
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      Hi Ray, I love hearing how you make meals!! I love cooking and baking, it brings me so much joy! Linda

      Reply
  • February 16, 2021 at 12:57 pm
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    Hi All, Hope you’re staying warm. It’s 9 degrees here with a foot of snow and MORE coming. One thing to remember is IF you use coupons, check your stores policies on coupons regularly. Due to that (expletive deleted) show about couponers, many of the stores have altered their policies on how many coupons you can use in a transaction. The stores here will only allow two coupons for a particular item IE: If I had 6/ 25 cents off coupons on each can of green beans, I would buy 6 cans of green beans, but now I can only use two of my six coupons for two of the cans, the other 4 coupons I have can’t be used for the other 4 cans of green beans, I would have to do 2 separate transactions just for the cans. And I have seen on some of the manufacturers coupons only can use 4 coupons (for the same item) per transaction as well. Although I don’t see how the stores could monitor that.
    Stay safe and I hope you all had a good Valentines Day.

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    • February 16, 2021 at 2:18 pm
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      Hi Kathy, thank you for the tip on the coupons! It’s crazy the manufacturer wants you to use the coupons. That is a lot of snow!!! It sounds soooo cold!! Stay warm! Linda

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      • February 18, 2021 at 3:13 pm
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        Thanks Linda, We’re not as bad as my nephews in TX. As far as I know they still don’t have power. Just hoping the hospital one of them works at has power or at least back up generators. Praying for everyone to stay safe. What really gets me is Texas could have fixed this ten years ago but they didn’t want to spend the money to insulate and upgrade their electric grid.

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        • February 18, 2021 at 4:16 pm
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          Hi Kathy, ok, then I did hear something right about ten years in Texas, give or take. Another thing I’m worried about besides the hospitals which are critical is the farmers/ranchers and the cows that need to go to market. I act like I know what I’m talking about, I just watched an interview of a rancher and his cows in the snow. He said we will have a mess if the trucks cannot get his cows to the places they need to be before it’s too late. God bless the Texans and the cattle. I’m praying for all of you! Linda

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          • February 18, 2021 at 8:25 pm
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            Yes we are really concerned, both of them were raised in the desert(NV). I haven’t heard from them since yesterday morning.Have a call into my brother and SIL to see if they’ve heard from them. Am praying real HARD too.On a lighter note , my DIL1 and grand baby went to FL to visit her folks. She keeps sending pictures and updates on the 80+ degree weather there. LOL.

          • February 19, 2021 at 7:48 am
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            Hi Kathy, oh my gosh, pictures of the grandbaby!!!! I’m glad they were able to go to Florida safely. We are all praying for all the families in Texas, I’m glued to the news. Keep us posted, stay safe! Linda

  • February 16, 2021 at 8:16 pm
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    Love this post!
    In our household, we do use coupons, read labels & pay attention to the price per ounce. I can vividly remember my own Mom teaching me the importance of price per ounce to determine which products are a better value & we pass this knowledge on.
    However, something in your post totally jumped out at me!
    Paying cash. Ohmygoodness, can’t believe this had not occurred to me. Particularly since kids are so conditioned these days to seeing debit/credit card transactions. It’s really easy to disconnect actual money from the cards.
    Thank you Linda, it will be cash from now on at the grocery store!

    Reply
    • February 17, 2021 at 6:57 am
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      Hi Amy, I have always used cash in envelopes. BUT, Covid stopped it a little. Some stores would not accept cash or coin (germs)!! I pay cash for haircuts as well. Those envelopes keep us on track, no cash, then we don’t need it. Life is so good! Linda

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      • February 18, 2021 at 10:18 am
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        Hi Linda,
        Oh the envelope system for cash is a terrific idea! Our friends began recently using the envelope system after studying the Dave Ramsey way.
        WOW! Crazy to hear some of your stores wouldn’t accept cash or coins. Let’s hope that doesn’t become the norm. A cashless society could be a nightmare.

        Reply
      • February 18, 2021 at 8:35 pm
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        Got to tell you a story. My mom used the envelope system BEFORE it became a thing. One night we were broken into by a Faggen type gang of young teens. My dad had just gotten paid and mom put the money into the envelopes(bills, etc) and had them in her purse. Well we heard noises downstairs and Dad goes stomping down because he thought my 2 brothers were arguing about the paper route they had. Needless to say the envelopes were scattered all over the foyer,they took my moms necklace her dad had made out of a silver dollar (from her birth year) she had just had fixed in her purse and my amusement park money but not one of those envelopes with dads paycheck were taken. Guess back then they didn’t realize the money was in the envelopes. Now thieves will look for that kind of stuff.

        Reply
        • February 19, 2021 at 7:53 am
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          Hi Kathy, wow, what a great story!!! It’s so sad they took the sentimental silver dollar necklace. Those things can’t be replaced. I love hearing your mom used the envelopes for budgeting. I’ve never taken any Dave Ramsey classes because I already knew how to budget. I grew up poor, I guess you naturally learn it. I don’t know. I’m so glad the burglars didn’t take the envelopes. Linda

          Reply
          • February 19, 2021 at 12:17 pm
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            Hi Linda, Yes, Mom was VERY glad the thieves missed the envelopes. I was so mad about my money, took me forever to save up enough to go with my friends to Cedar Point. I also grew up VERY poor.Dad didn’t make much money and then he was unemployed for about 6 years. Mom taught us that what ever money we earned was divided into Room & Board (IE: rent/food/utilities), Savings and THEN our spending money, taught the boys that too. Both of them have been pretty good about managing their money.They are teaching their kids how to budget, etc too. Son 1’s wife is an accountant(CPA) so he has a bit of an advantage there,LOL.

          • February 19, 2021 at 1:47 pm
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            Hi Kathy, I really think growing up poor was an advantage in so many ways. We never knew we were poor, but looking back, yep, we were! We survived, and we never wanted for anything. Life is good no matter what the situation! I always say “everything is fixable”. We learn from disasters and are prepared for the next one. Life is good, Linda

  • February 16, 2021 at 9:06 pm
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    Our 1 foot plus of snow over the last few days is nearly gone now! Yay for rain and 40F temps!

    I have found that meal planning around what I already have (freezer & pantry) saves me the most money. A few years ago, I was living with a person and we were in the habit of buying every other day even though we had a full freezer of meat! So, we were spending approximately $400 a month on groceries. We started planning our meals based on the main course (meat) in the freezer and sides (veggies – garden or canned) and our monthly grocery bill went down to an average over 6 months to $75! Of course as we ate through our stock in the freezer, we started saving to purchase more meat from a local farmer. So really, we were spending $400 on grocery store runs PLUS the cost of the meat in the freezer and went down to $75 plus the meat in the freezer.

    I use coupons AND Ibotta (phone app). I don’t spend a lot on groceries – average now that I am single is $200/month. With coupons and Ibotta, I routinely save $40-50 a month.

    Reply
    • February 17, 2021 at 7:00 am
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      Hi Leanne, great tips! One foot of snow is a lot!! Wow! The price of groceries is crazy! I really do not know how young couples feed their families. Although we did it when we were younger, you make do with what you have. Same as now! I’m glad to hear your weather is not as cold. Crazy weather! Linda

      Reply
  • February 19, 2021 at 1:58 pm
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    Pre- pandemic, every couple of months, one of our grocery stores would offer “dollar doublers” allow the doubling of 1 dollar coupons up to 4 per order. We would collect multiple coupons from our nearby libraries and then while I shopped, my husband would check out order after order after order. One additional store would honor the other store’s dollar doublers, allowing us to go for the lowest price. Often we could save up to $100, while stocking our pantry.

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    • February 19, 2021 at 2:10 pm
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      Hi Chris, I LOVE hearing this! It’s all about saving money where we can. Groceries are so expensive! Linda

      Reply
  • February 22, 2021 at 12:21 pm
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    Hello. Linda. My wife and I are like Ray White and his wife in that we also sit down on a weekly basis and plan out our meals for the next week. While I keep a freezer inventory, I haven’t worked on one for the pantry in a while. I will start that tomorrow. It’s really great to know what you have on hand for meal planning. As you notice some items getting low, it’s time to write up your shopping list. Anyway, as usual you provide all of us with some great info. Keep up the good work!!

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    • February 22, 2021 at 3:14 pm
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      Hi Karl, you made my day with your kind words, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love cooking from scratch, and you too! Life is good! Linda

      Reply

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