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How do you Keep your Kiddos Entertained While Grocery Shopping?!

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Alright, so I’ve received quite a few emails from readers with this question, “How do you grocery shop with kiddos in tow AND use coupons AND compare prices AND survive the trip?”

This is a great question and one that I’m very interested in hearing some tips and feedback on. Some of my suggestions (these may be basic to some of you)– bring snacks, pick the cute carts that have little cars attached (aren’t those fun to steer?) and make sure to bring along a Fisher-Price Doodle Pro (or something similar)! I also like to have my 8 year old son figure out whether using a coupon on a product or buying the store brand is a better choice. He feels very important when I let him make these decisions and I know by doing this he’s learning just how far a $1 can go when you shop smart.

Do you have any tips up your sleeve?! Any creative ways to keep your kiddos entertained? Let us know!

Join The Discussion

Comments 263

  1. Katherine

    We play “Coupon Catcher”. Essentially, my children (4,6,8) collect the coupons in a ziploc bag that I am going to use as we go through the store. I started this game/job over 2 years ago to curb the “Mommy can I have ________?” This “job” pays my kids 25 cents. My children are on commission not allowance, so this is a welcome earning opportunity. Now, they have their own money that they can spend, save and give as they wish. Sometimes, the job requires my children to read the coupons and select the correct item. Sometimes, the job is a math problem, so they can “help” Mommy save money. Sometimes it is cutting out coupons,so they will have cutting practice for school. My children have figured out (with my help) that money is finite and this job helps the whole family. ๐Ÿ™‚ PS When we get to the checkout, I just hand the cashier the ziploc bag. Believe it or not, it makes everything easier. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Jeannette

    In almost every store my sons entertains himself! Almost every store plays now music in the background and I put him in the buggy and he starts dancing (he is 13 months old) and that gets him attention from girls which he loves!

  3. Rona

    Well I have a 3 year old at home.The rest are in shool, so she usually goes shopping with me. I have a couple of things I do with her to keep her entertained, I pack her a snack to munch on while in the store, I take the hand held games (v-tech, leapster),and her absolute favorite is spottin the smart source coupons machines.She always say momma we need that coupon.(too funny).Small tip have a list and go by it, also have the coupons you know you’regonna use handy so you aren’t fumbling at the counter because they do get tired toward the end of the shopping trip, Never go at naptime, you’re just setting yourself up for disaster. I hope these are helpful to someone.

  4. Dawn

    Whenever I go shopping with my little girl or my younger sisters tag along, they always try to find blinkies or store tear pads and bring me back a few of each one and are always really excited if its something they know we use already. My sisters were talking about going to the store for some gum and my daughter told them no, to go to Walgreens because it was b1g1 free and she’s only 6…..then she bragged to her daddy over the phone that she got an extra pack of gum free without having to pay anything extra out of her own money.

  5. Melinda

    My babies are grown now, but I used to have them be my Blinkie Patrol. Their job while we were shopping was to spot all the Blinkie machines and get the coupons from them. My DD *loved* this, and was actually featured in Refunding Makes Sense magazine when she was 8 (with a stash of Reece’s Fast Breaks we got for free LOL).

  6. Elizabeth

    With my 5 year old I use a stopwatch. I can’t believe how entertained it keeps him. Before we head in a store he gets to estimate how long it’s going to take. At the end if we are getting close to time sometimes he’ll mention to the cashier that she needs to hurry. Some cashiers get annoyed but most think it’s pretty funny. This has also really taught him a lot about the value of time and estimation.

  7. Kat

    Well, I’m librarian, so…..I have to say that a shopping trip is a great way to encouarage early literacy skills while accomplishing chores. Let your child hold the shopping list and check off items as you put them in the cart. They don’t have to be able to read to do this…just say, “Here’s the rice..we want brand X…,here it is, see, it says brand X…we’ll put it in the cart and you can put a check on the list right here next to “rice” “. Think about all the ways you use reading when planning and shopping for groceries. You don’t have to do anything different, just draw your child’s attention to what you’re already doing:
    “I’m reading the sales ad!”
    “I’m reading this recipe to see what we need from the store!”
    “I’m writing a grocery list!”
    “I’m reading this website for coupon matches!”
    Also, anyone who spends time with children regularly knows that they recognize logos very young…what 3 yr. old doesn’t know the golden arches mean McDonoald’s? Same with grocsry brands & logos. They will start to recognize the logos of brands you buy often. This is a prereading skill! (realising that shapes and images mean words.)

    • Amy


    • Natalie

      I’m going to use that! Thanks.

  8. Cindy

    I try to go by myself WHENEVER possible. But if I go have to drag all 4 boys with me, we play the ABC game. We play the how many can we buy for like$5.00. SOmetimes when I know we are going to be in there awhile I bring the portable DVD. I put the 2youngest(2 and 8(who is Autistic) in the cart and that usually keeps them busy for awhile. I usually carry a bag of goddies with me and a couple of juice boxes. And always have wet wipes on hand. The older 2 help get the groceries and push the cart. If they all behave, and only if they behave we get to go for jr frosties from Wendys. Hey sometimes a little bribery helps ;)!

  9. BamaVicki

    My kids are 3, 7 & 10 and I don’t fuss over ‘taking’ them anything to do; maybe a snack when they were younger, sippy cup that type of thing, but the older ones can help and put things in the buggy. It is just kind of interesting when we think about how we as a generation put our loved ones that we put so much time, energy, stock and love in to and once they are strapped in their car seats and whatnot, we plug in a video. Same thing at the store, we try and entertain them w/stuff, so they are desensitized to what is going on around them. That is not reality! I can understand and agree w/doing that some of the time but eventually they have to learn by watching us and eventually by ‘doing’ as we do. Just as my daughter just said the other day, ‘Mommy, do you need anything? would you like me to fix you some oatmeal?…’ ‘Because, Mommy, I have watched you so many times, I feel like I can do it myself.’ ๐Ÿ™‚
    *for the record, we don’t have a dvd player in our car, b/c everything and most everywhere we go is so close anyway! Long trips, thought, BRING IT ON! ;0

  10. Tess

    My 12 year old pretty much refuses to come with me shopping. He says my couponing is embarassing. I can’t wait to try some of these ideas with my 3 yr. old

    • Mitchell Wischmann

      I used to think that too, but once I realized how much I could save using coupons, I love going shopping!

    • Megan

      My younger brothers 14&15 live with us. They thought my couponing was ridiculous at first and that I am obsessed lol. BUT once I started getting them snickers, starbucks and cheap gum they quickly embraced it! We give them 20 a month allowance and any extras they want they have to buy. So now they are always asking me if I have coupons for things they like or if there are any sales anywhere for a specific item.

    • Coupon Princess

      My eleven yr old said that too this past week. I told my boys 4 & 11 that when they go with me to “Save” money with all the coupons and wise shopping, I will have more money to buy them toys ๐Ÿ™‚
      They liked this idea today when they both got $12 (well above the norm) to spend from all the money I saved from last week and this week. (I also started a sticker chart at home so they can earn something when they fill it up- They get stickers for being well behaved at the grocery store too ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Kendra McEvoy

    My kids are 6 and 8, and they have shopped w/me since they were born. Once they outgrew the cute carts that were mentioned, they became my little helpers. They love this, and so do I. I never have to bend down too far to dig for something on the back of a lower shelf. They’re both learning how to choose produce. We homeschool, but, even if you don’t, the grocery store is a great place to teach your kids about nutrition, health, math, etc… Ask them questions about the meat you buy. For example…Which is less expensive, chicken breast or chicken legs? Follow this up with a nutrition question about which one is healthier, and, if you’re comfortable, explain why you’re choosing whichever choice you make (sometimes, the budget plays a bigger role, but usually, in our house, health is more important). Little things like this keep them invested and give them less time to pick at each other (I’m sure my kids are the only ones who argue in the grocery store…haha). I also make sure they have a beverage to sip on throughout the store, which is something they look forward to since we don’t buy a lot of soda or sweet drinks at home. If none of this works…leave them with your husband. haha!

  12. BamaVicki

    But folks have way better ideas here than to desensitize! Go Hip2Save readers, proud of you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Niki

    My babies are little and I have a nine and five year old. I recycle the tiny bubble containers from stores and allow the older kids to entertain crying babies with blowing bubbles. This doesn’t bother anyone, stops the crying and even makes the most annoyed looking people smile!

  14. Bethany

    when I go grocery shopping I take two things for my 3 1/2 year old.
    A snack and the portable dvd player.
    The Dvd player is excellent! I let him choose a movie before we leave the house so then its ready to go when we get in the store. And if it’s a smaller store –dont forget the headphones ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Carrie

    For all the folks who pick up a box of crackers or the like and let the kids munch them throughout the store, then pay for them at the end, do you feel wierd about letting them eat something that isn’t paid for? I mean, what if you forgot your wallet and couldn’t pay for it at the end, or something like that? To each their own, I would feel wierd about it. I take my 6, 3, and 1 year old shopping and set the expectation at the beginning – they are to be well-mannered, not loud and not running thru the store. They generally meet my expectations and I praise them when they do.

    • Joelle

      I totally agree. If I am starving or my kids Need a snack, I buy it first and keep the receipt ready!

    • Christy

      I do not and have not and will not open up a box of food or package of food for my daughter to eat. I cannot stand it when I see parents who do this. This is at the top of my pet peeve list, along with homemade lemonade at a restaurant. But what I have done, if I forget or have forgotten a bag of snack for my daughter (before she started school) is I have gone to the deli counter (mainly at super walmart) and gotten a cup of popcorn chicken and have asked them if it is okay if I go ahead and let her eat them while I shop, or if I am getting my meat and cheese I ask them after the label is printed with the weight and price if I can have a piece of it so she can eat it.

      • Susan

        I think letting my child eat while I shop is perfectly fine. I always pay and if that 1 time in a million chance comes up that I forget my wallet I would go to cust service and explain and come back and pay. I seriously doubt any store has a problem with selling extra food so your child can snack while you shop.

        • Carolyn

          Ditto – I actually bring a snack with my for my kids normally, but if I have a good coupon for some snack that they’d enjoy, I just plan on that instead. We also utilize the free samples and free kid’s cookie – clearly, the grocery stores want to try and help parents shop so we’ll spend more time there and ultimately spend more money. I’ve never had anyone have an issue with me needing to open something before we paid for it.

      • Leigh Ann

        Really? Isn’t it time to let go of the lemon thing? Seriously, people. Lighten up!

      • What is the difference?

        How is letting your little one munch on deli meat or cheese different than letting them munch on crackers or a bag of pre-cut apples? It is all unpaid merchandise. What is the big deal with opening a package to let them snack on? If I bring my children along, I will purchase a “snack” for them to have in the cart. Otherwise, I would not have purchased the item. It is a win, win, win situation. Happy children, make a happy mommy/shopper and another product sold for the store!

    • Sara

      I don’t think it’s weird. It woudl be weird for me to not have my wallet but I’m sure I could scrounge up a buck to pay for crackers.

      • robyn

        so christy i am confused? you say it is your pet peeve but then you do it anyway. which is it??

    • Jen

      Ya, whatever!

    • Pam

      Wow, Carrie, congratulations!!! You’re doing it like my parents did way back in the old days!! The three of us were spaced much like yours and my Mom expected us to behave, she didn’t bribe us, feed us, etc, etc. and then at the END of the grocery trip if we had been well-mannered, we might get a box of animal crackers, NOT during the walk through the store, but after, IF we had been good. I can’t believe what I see in the stores today….the other day, this 5 yr old boy (age guesstimation) was running through Target ripping off the merchandise tags from the shelves…..where was his parent? I have no idea, but I see stuff like this all the time, screaming kids ’cause they can’t have EVERYTHiNG they see and want. Thank goodness some of you know how to raise well-behaved children, afterall, their behavior IS a direct reflection of you. Somehow, many, many of the parents today don’t seem to really care. Just watch Super Nanny!!

      • Anonymous

        LoL if only all of us had perfect children then the world we be such a better place ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Natalie

      I’ve noticed stores place kids snacks throughout the store (esp wal mart). They know and want you to buy that treat to entertain your kids while you shop. A tiny box of gold fish costs $1 while the regular size is $2.They are profiting off of this. I don’t think the store minds at all if we open something for our kids to eat or play with while we shop. In fact, I think they are HOPING we do this.

  16. Stephanie

    I give my 4 yr old a “coupon” (usually a print out from the catalina machine that is just an ad) and he spends the trip looking for the item and telling all about his coupon. If I don’t have one available I will hand then the sale ad and see what they think we should go look at. Very rarely we will get a video cart, the kids sit below and watch PBS cartoons and I get to shop in peace. Only one store has them and they are $1, the dollar goes to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. Small price to pay for sanity!!

    • maletha

      where is this store? that is fabulous!!!

      • nicole

        I am assuming it’s in Indiana which is where I am from, and it’s Meijer. I love these carts, they are super handy with little ones.

    • Kristy

      We have those carts at our Meijer in Ft Wayne Ind

  17. Teresa S

    Yes this is all to important of a question that I have been asking myself lately. WIth 4 in tow and one on the way (8 months along), it is not just the kids but me. My husband works 14 hour days and at least a few extra hours on Sat, so I can’t expect him to watch them. Plus we live 30 minutes from anything, so I shop when I am in town anyway or we couldn’t afford the gas. I must admit the last few trips it has been totally me. I am tired halfway and the kids seem to be getting on my nerves much faster. They are great kids and know not to ask for things, but suggest if they might have a birthday coming. They stay near the cart and don’t run wild.
    I have to admit to giving candy to the youngest a lot lately. He has never been a sitter in a cart or a stroller and there is just no way I can carry him anymore. This week we made it to Aldis, Walmart, and to look at a sears for a new stove before I was dead tired. I must admit I bought supper at the Walmart and just had to put it on the table when we got home.
    I am so glad as the baby gets near we have a good stock pile of everything. That will make the next few weeks only having to stop and pick up fresh produce and dairy. While at Walmart, our last store, the littlest (almost 2) was crying and it was very clear he was ready to go. A older couple walked by and the husband could be heard very loudly “What is with all the kids today, they cry all the time?” I nearly began to cry. I have always taught my kids to behave in public and normally get compliments on there behavior. It made me feel like such a failure. I rushed to get out of the store and cried myself to sleep. I don’t expect my kids to be perfect, but I think they behave very well for being 10, 9, 6 and 2. We home school so they are always with me. Everyone can have a bad day, even kids, do they think that comments like that help anything. I would gladly leave them all or at least some at home if that was a option, but it is not so for now I must make do.

    • Madeline

      Teresa, please don’t let people get to you like that. Being pregnant and doing chores is not easy, having 1 child is not easy, making ends meet in this economy is not easy. You’re doing all three and you are a hero. It’s never going to be perfect but if it’s moving along than you’re a success. Hang in there, one day your kids will appreciate all you’ve done and that’s all the reward you’ll need.

    • Mom of 2

      You are amazing for doing all that you do! Kudos to you for trying to do what you can. Others may always have comments to make; don’t let them get you down. Instead, give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Katherine

      Kids cried all the time in his day too! He is just too old to remember. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Don’t let one person’s opinion get you down — Give yourself a great big hug and tell yourself — “I’m amazing. I have created 5 people!!” I’m guessing the old man can’t do that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Natalie

      Men don’t know anything! When did he homeschool 4 kids?
      I have found swapping babysitting with a friend helpful. Hopefully you have a friend in a similar situation (4 kids) that would like to go shopping by herself too in exchange for watching your kids when it’s your turn to go.

    • Coupon Princess

      Teresa, I totally understand. I have three children and it can be very challenging to shop with them. My youngest has a severe speech impairment and screams alot. I do my best to keep my kids disciplined but they are just kids. We also homeschool and recently moved from the country so I know all about mega shopping. My son tells people that I usually don’t make it out of Walmart in less than 3 hrs. Now we are close to the stores but they are so expensive in the burbs and it’s taking me forever to compare prices.

      BTW When I was pregnant we took two carts, one for mommy and one for the kids ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love to be chauffered around in a “Mommy cart” watching HGTV! I’d probably pay $5 to rent it!!!

      Keep up the Great Work-
      I’d nominate you for the “MOMMY of the YEAR” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. Susan V

    My *big* shopping I do on the weekends when Daddy is home. And during the week, I take snacks and little notepads for her to color on. I love having my shopping cart cover so there’s little to no mess from her snack.
    Loved reading everyone’s tips/ideas!!!
    Thanks for posting such a great topic, Collin!!

  19. Jen Sizemore

    I let my 3.5 year old daughter hold my grocery list and help me find the items on there. I usually give her something that will not be found in the isle we’re in so that she doesn’t find it right away. When that gets boring to her, I let her play with my iphone or my iPod touch.

  20. Stephanie

    My stepdaughter is 10, and she’s exceptionally well-behaved in general! So we usually don’t have any problems. She likes to hold my coupons for me, and after we check out she’ll say “we did good” LOL

  21. Julie

    I took cheerios for my daughter for the first time last week. Then at my last store she dropped them out of the cart right after we walked in the store. I face was probably bright red as the employee swept up a big mess. Oops ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Elizabeth Allred

      Did the same thing the other day at Rite Aid, but it was Fruit Loops and I was the one picking them up! LOL

  22. Sandy

    I don’t bring them with if at all possible, but they’re 15 months and 3 years and they’re at particularly difficult ages. The 3 year old is at the “I want!!” tantrum phase and the 15 month old is able to climb out of the cart…even strapped in, and wants to walk everywhere and pull everything off the shelves. It’s just too frustrating and so husband stays home with them, I take my ipod with and make it my mommy relaxing time.

    • Shannon

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. I have a 17 month and almost 3 year old and I will take one with me, on a short trip, usually the 3 year old, but she also has a horrible case of the “I wants”

    • nicole

      I don’t know what to do with my 3 yr old anymore, he’s a tantrum thrower lately and I don’t get it. Is this a three year old thing? B/c it is AWFUL!

  23. Lynne W

    During the summer we take my 7 year old to the Farmer’s Market and during the Winter the grocery store for our fresh produce. We let her help pick out the fresh veggies and fruit – she really loves doing this. Last year we also drove out to a U-Pick farm for cherries and peaches.

  24. Jill

    I agree with most of the commenters, go alone when you can! But I also think it’s important to take the kids sometimes to teach them the importance of grocery shopping, the value of a dollar, and how to behave appropriately in public. I think the most difficult part of the grocery shopping trip is checkout. Today my 2 yo was great while pushing her little cart through the store. We were only picking up PowerBar Gels that were on sale, but I didn’t have any coupons, so I though checkout would be painless. She started screaming when I started taking stuff out of the cart to put them on the belt! I tried to get her to help, but that didn’t work, either. She was just plain old mad at me and screamed the duration of checkout. Other times I can’t keep her out of the candy, which makes paying with coupons difficult since I constantly have my eye and her and am telling her, “no, no, put it back.” So that’s what I’d like to know – what to do during checkout?

  25. Patricia

    When I was little my mom gave me the coupons and told me if I could save at least 10 dollars in coupons during one day of needed groceries. I got to go out to lunch on another/or that day. So now that I have grown up a few years, I learned more and save my mom minimally 10 dollars but most weeks 20 to 30 dollars, and some weeks even more.

  26. Sonia

    ORGANIZATION and SNACKS is the KEY!!!!!!! I shop with my 1 & 3 Year old several times a week. I make sure I have plenty of snacks and a good game plan. My main grocery store is Wal-Mart and I save a ton by doing comparable ad shopping. I use an excel spread sheet for my grocery list and I have a column that I fill in if it is a comp ad price, I also have a column for coupons. It is a great tool for staying focused. I keep all my ads in the back of my coupon binder, but at my Wal-Mart you do not have to show an ad unless it is 50% off of their price. When checking out I always put my comp pricing items at the back and use the stick so the cashier knows when to start price adjusting. I have also gotten to know the CS Managers and the cashiers because I usually have so many coupons and comp ads that they have to approve my purchase. With the kids I just try to talk to them, play games and have a ton of snacks in the diaper bag! My 3 year old helps pick out items from the shelf. I will admit that some days I feel like I could have a melt down (can we say Target), but overall we actually have fun!

    • Sonia

      Oh I forget to mention that sometimes a crying kid comes in handy when you are checking out and the cashier might be giving you a hard time because of all your coupons. When I get a cashier like that I think, hey Junior it is time to get fussy! Not that I want my son upset but becuase I would love them to experience what I have just been through shopping with a crabby 1 &3 year old! They usually have the response of let’s just get this lady and those kids out of here! With that said 90% of the time my kids are wonderful and respectful in the store ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Regina

        I have to agree that having a fussing child can expedite the checkout process. If I’m nursing the baby in one arm and trying to checkout with my free hand, I never have problems at the register ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Madeline

    I grocery shop at ShopRite in NJ and they have a FREE daycare! They have toys, tv, and arts & crafts. You can sign your child in for up to 90 minutes. My daughter loves it, and I get to bring my binder and REALLY shop! Don’t hate, I’m a single mom and any other assistance I get costs me $$$. ShopRite is the only break I have and in return I am a LOYAL customer!!

    • Calleen Petersen

      What I would give to have that here in Alaska. What a great idea!!! Mom’s everywhere would be very loyal at a store like that.

    • Coupon Princess

      Are you serious???? WOWWWWWWWW. How awesome!

    • Amanda

      Seriously? I am soooo…. Jealous!!! I would be there like every other day! lol ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Michele

    Gosh, I’m so lucky. Our local supermarket (Wegman’s) offers complimentary 1 hour child watch. I drop the kiddos and can cruise thru the store!

  29. Sommer

    I have three kids – 8, 5 and 2 1/2. I also homeschool them so they are always with me. We have had a few major meltdowns in the store, but for the most part our shopping trips are enjoyable. I do have to say that when I get the coupon “police” as a cashier it is a bit of a relief when my youngest is having a fit because they want to get me out of there fast ๐Ÿ˜‰ I always make sure my kids are fed and not in dire need of a nap. If we’re going to be shopping for a long time I take snacks and even some candy. Shopping can be a lot of fun with kids & a great learning experience. I take ziploc bags and whoever finds the item gets to put the coupon in their bag. They like to see who can find the most. Another idea we do is taking turns “picking” – one will pick the flavor/color/ect of one item and then the next item is the other child’s turn. Shopping is a great way to teach several math concepts (money, adding and subtracting, weight/size and so on). While out shopping a few weeks ago my five year daughter wanted a specific yogurt and before I could answer her my 8 year old son said, “I’m sorry we can’t get that one we don’t have a coupon for it.” I was so proud ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Kelly

    I just don’t take him. I shop on my lunch hour at the grocery stores except Target. If I need to do Target, it’s definitely my alone time and I end up walking the store for a few hours. So the child stays with Daddy, and Daddy knows if he wants Mommy to keep her sanity, he’s keeping the kid.

    • Tracy

      I’m with you. I try to always go by myself. Occasionally I will have my youngest with me. She is six and when she comes with me to the grocery store she loves to play “blinkie hunt”. This works out well for me too. If there is a particularly good blinkie coupon and I need 5 or 6 of them, I feel like a fool standing there waiting for the machine to spit them out, but my little girl loves it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. shelly jamison

    I only go every two weeks and if I can, I leave them at home. But most of the time my 4 and 1 year old come with. It’s not too bad if you plan it around naps and after a meal. Just get in, get what you need, and get out. My 4 year old helps me put things in the cart. My 1 year old (who is straped in the front) is happy when we hand her non-breakable items and she puts them in the back of the cart. I also have no problem opening an item to keep them happy (like a cheese stick) until the end of the trip. If it’s paid for in the beginning or end, why does it matter? And it’s not technically stealing until you leave the front door of the store without paying. Everyone in the store would be happy to have your kid eating a snack (paid for or not) and not screaming and running around.

  32. Kris

    I think to survive ( and i only have 2) I have become super organized ANd go to one store at a time to do deals. Luckily Walgreens, rite aid, and super walmart are literally 3 mins from our house. It does mean a lot of extra trips, but because i am so close I feel like it is worth it for me, I’ve only been super couponing less than a year, so i still have a hard time knowing what a good price is and comparing brands and sizes and adding on coupons and store sales can make me bonkers, so I organize at home, keep the list small and go to a different store each day. I don’t think i could do it at all if i had to drive or if i didn’t have Hip2Save to help keep me organized.

  33. jodi

    my two year old is loads of fun to shop with as long as she can hold the coupons. everyone always cracks up because if i walk past a blinkie dispenser of coupons and do not grab one she yells (at the top of her little lungs-which is super loud) coupon, mommy coupon!!!!!
    so if you are ever in jewel and can not find the blinkie dispensers just follow me around my daughter will point them ALL out!

  34. Jennifer

    1) Plan ahead! Have the coupons ready and the list made before you even think about going to the store with a child. Seriously. If I don’t know what I’m buying or what coupons I’m using, I am completely flustered with the kid in two. Not a good combination when you have a two-year-old who has figured out that he doesn’t always want to shop with me. 2) Lots and lots of snacks and drinks. I ply Jackson with snacks and water throughout the trip to keep him occupied. We also sing songs and talk about what Mom is buying. The snacks, though, work every time.

    Jackson is in preschool most of the day so I usually reserve one day a week (usually Friday) for running errands so I can avoid bringing him with me. I am so thankful for preschool!

  35. Lisa

    I have 5 kids ages 4, 7, 11,12 and 16. The only one that I take the majority of the time is my 4 yr. old. I make sure I do my shopping while the rest of the kids are in school. Anyway, I bring my son’s Gameboy with games. As long as he’s sitting in the front of the cart with me pushing him and he’s absorbed into his game, he doesn’t whine, of course that is untill he gets frustrated and can’t pass a certain level and keeps dying.

  36. Elisabeth

    If I avoid going to the store with my son (who is three) I will. But, if I must go to the store I bring my itouch and do my best to keep him distracted. The only hard thing is going down the snack aisle. For some reason the itouch goes out the window and all he see’s are OREO”S!! I should complain I guess it keeps me outta the junk aisle. If my husband is home I will leave the kids with him and go shopping. I buy less and come back with everything I had on my list! The itouch helps when we are out to dinner too, otherwise he’s bouncing off the walls. I keep telling myself it will get better! ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Sara

    When the kids shop with me I don’t do multiple transactions (unless it’s like 1 item each) and I try to keep the trip to a shorter one. When they have to come I let them each go through the coupon binder and pick a snack or other item they want to purchase. They both have favorite things that we don’t stock regularly.

    I also give both kiddos (4,7) a stack of coupons for things I know I’m getting because I’ve already checked the price out. They look at the picture and find the item. They are both becoming savy shoppers. My 4 year old looks for sale tags on shelves and my 7 year old is quite the clearance hound. He had figured out your allowance gets more clearnance toys than regular priced toys.

  38. kiesha r.

    I whip out my pen from my purse and let my 2-year old write all over the cereal boxes I am getting. He loves to write all over them! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Coupon Princess

      I tried that today but I think he got more pen on him than the paper ๐Ÿ˜‰

  39. Julie S

    My daughter is only 1, but I will put one of the products in her part of the cart so she can fiddle with it! I used to put the binder in the cart, but then it kept getting covered by all my great deals. lol. So, now if I am shopping DD, I pull everything I need before I go in the store and just bring in those pages. Once a month hubby lets me go on an extended run by myself where I can find all the hidden deals! So fun!

  40. nicole

    MY 3 yr old knows that it’s no joke when I go shopping. there is no “I want, i want.” If he starts to throw a tantrum I will leave my cart with an associate and walk him to the car (very rarely). if he can’t calm down we go straight home and he goes to bed. So, I expect my child to mind and he knows the expectation and follows it. I have always thought that if you set expectation for a child and follow through with things you say they will respect and listen ( most of the time). Now, I am only saying this about my parenting, I don’t have three kids or a busy hectic schedule. So, these are just my opinions

  41. Renee

    GAMEBOY! Love it! We have movie cartridges. Its a little screen but my 3 yr olds the only one that has to see it.
    A sucker while checking out also keeps mouths busy!
    AND I open food all the time to let him snack on, when I was pregnant I would snack on it! I have felt bad about a few crumbs being dropped but if the store wanted to freak out about it, I would stop shopping there.

  42. Anonymous

    iTunes has free sprout podcasts. It’s good for us! We don’t watch cartoons at home, so it’s extra incentive to be good while shopping. It’s too easy to make mistakes shopping when your distracted, and if I have to take children with me I need them to behave…

  43. sadie hostetler


  44. Susan

    I have an almost 3-year-old and an 8-month old. The baby is fine, she sits in the cart and usually stays pretty happy unless we run into naps/meal times, which because of the older one we usually do at the end. I need some help with my son. I bring snacks that he really likes and only give him while we’re shopping, but after he’s had his fill of those, he runs around like crazy. The only time he will ride in the cart is with snacks, and by the end I usually have too much stuff to let him ride in the cart anyway. I usually only shop at Walmart, Target, and sometimes Kroger if they have a good sale. Going multiple places in a day with them is just not feasible right now. I try to get all the coupons I want to use out ahead of time and shop with a list, but my son gets bored with “helping.” Check-out is a big problem too. He will sometimes go into the arcade thing at Walmart, or pick up the candy and stuff. I know the check out people get annoyed with me because I’m slow at putting things on the belt and back into the cart because I’m making sure he’s still there. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    • Natalie

      Make a rewards chart. Every time he’s good at the store, he can come home and put a sticker on the chart. When the chart is full he get a reward that you have agreed on ahead of time. It shouldn’t always be food. It could be a trip to his favorite park, build a fort with mom, or a toy from the dollar spot that he’s been wanting.

      • Coupon Princess

        Just started this and I see a substantial difference in my kids.

        We plan on taking a trip to the zoo- so thats one incentive. And yesterday I just met a neighbor that works at the zoo and offered free passes anytime. Win win situation!

  45. Lydia

    We are lucky, the two main grocery stores we shop at have a childrens area. You can leave the children there while you shop. There is a qualified person to look after them and they have a lot of things to do there. It is great.

  46. Kim

    I just leave them in the car and let the “lemons” watch them!!!! HaHa, not really my baby is 19 years old and if I get her to go shopping with me, she’s totally couponing with me!

  47. Melinda

    I have a 4 month old who gets fussy super easy; an 18 month old who hates shopping carts and can only tolerate them for about 5-10 minutes; and a 3.5 year old who can go from happy to throw-himself-on-the-floor-tantrum (especially in public) in 4.5 seconds. I leave them at home with their daddy, try to go as fast as I can, and come home to total kid-screaming chaos. That really cuts into my deal-finding time, too. I think I’d like to adopt a responsible 17-year-old. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  48. Janne'

    A family member or babysitter watches my children. My husband and I usually use it as a date night. We enjoy our date, then go grocery shopping together afterward, working as a team–its fun!

    I organize my shopping trip beforehand. I shop at walmart, in order to price match and have an excel spreadsheet with blank slots under section headings/Aisle’s in the same order/path I walk the store. Each slot has a quantity, name/description, size, amount, and store column. I highlight the deals I absolutely want. I should start pulling the coupons out and separating them before since I know how many coupons I have ๐Ÿ™‚

    My DH is awesome, and as we walk through the stores he calculates how much it would cost us, if we weren’t price-matching/couponing. We chat and shop. I use reusable bags, because I feel as though I can pack a lot more into them and if someone else besides the cashier is bagging it makes the process go a lot faster. I stagger stack my coupons, like Collin showed on a FMM video (cashiers always thank me). And my job (while the hubs is packing groceries) is to read off the price-match items/stores as cashier rings it up.

    I have yet to run into a grumpy cashier (knock on wood). Its a team effort and my DH and I always like to calculate the percentage of savings. Makes getting a babysitter worth it to us (and is much cheaper and less emotional than divorce….when we make courting one another a priority).

    I know it an ideal situation for us and hasn’t always worked out the exact same every week, but I look forward to being with my buddy!

    • cj matt

      Good for you shopping with your hubby! It is kinda like family game night for us!!
      My hubby gets so excited over the coupon savings and occassionally asks if I have some coupons he can go spend!

  49. Joyce

    No wonder the kids today are all overweight and on their way to Type 2 Diabetes. All this snacking to keep them entertained and quiet. There is a price to be paid by just not disciplining them and expecting them to behave out in public.

    • Shellie

      Agreed. I expect my child to mind. That’s it, just mind. That’s how I was taught to when I went places with my parents, you just respect and listen to them. I don’t think snacking and gaming is healthy or will make a very highly functioning adult out of a child either. Hard work, discipline, and respect is what gets you places as an adult, why not instill it as early as possible?

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