Couponing at the grocery or drug store takes patience and focus – and let’s face it, with kids in tow (especially the little ones) those qualities tend to fly out the window faster than you can say “Sit back down in the buggy and stop smacking your brother!” If you’ve forgotten what it’s like – CHECK THIS OUT!
So how is a couponer to manage? In a perfect world, our husbands would walk into the room and say “Sweetie, why don’t you take some time to get your list together and then go out for a couple hours. I’ve got the kids – take your time!” But even those of us who are blessed with wonderful husbands would probably fall out of our chairs if we ever heard those words.
So here’s what I do …. I don’t take my kids.
Unless I can’t help it, I will wrangle my schedule around so that I can go out once a week at nighttime, and I’ll hit every store I need to hit all in one fell swoop. I’ll stop at CVS on my way to Bi-Lo, make a pass at Walgreens on my way back – and call it a week! On an awesome Publix week, I have to plan a little harder because that’s a 20 minute drive for me – but for enough great deals I can make it happen.
These late night trips are pretty exhausting, but I spend the couple days ahead of time getting my list together, printing and clipping my coupons during a naptime or after the kids are in bed, and double checking on the shopping day for any last-minute finds. Being prepared it the best way to get in and out quickly and with everything you planned to get.
Phone a Friend:
Those times when I haven’t been able to get my husband to watch the kids – I’ve swapped “shopping times” with a friend. My friend Tessie used to come over and hang out with our kids while I ran out to the store – and then I’d come back and do the same for her.
In a pinch – I’ve even sent my coupons and list (prepared extra carefully to be considerate) with her while she went on a trip for the both of us.
There are usually ways to make it work – and it just makes it all so much easier when you can run in and out by yourself!
But what if leaving the kids at home is not an option?
Here are some tips to keep the kids happy and maintain your sanity while shopping with kids and coupons:
- Prepare – Prepare – Prepare! If everything is printed, clipped, sorted and listed – you will be better able to stay on track. I even mark on my lists how many coupons I have for each item I’m buying – that way I don’t ever have to pull out the coupons to count them. (Less chance for them to get knocked to the floor)
- Bring a snack, that way when the inevitable asking begins – you don’t have to splurge.
- Think of a grocery game you can play with the kids – I like to have mine play “Spot the blinkie machines and tearpads” and I award them imaginary points for each one they find. That helps me not miss any – and keeps them occupied.
- Ask them to help you load things into the cart – just keep them busy doing little things to help mommy – idle hands and all that….
- Find out if your store offers balloons, stickers, lollipops, etc… For me, the time waiting at the register is the most stressful part – so a well-timed lollipop from our friendly Bi-Lo bagger is always a welcome distraction!
What tips do you have for couponing with kids? Please share them in the comment section below!