Grocery store games for kids you haven’t thought of before
I’ve been fortunate in that my husband watches our baby for the last 14 months once every other week − yes, we only grocery shop twice a month − so that I can hit the grocery store alone.
Yes, it’s glorious.
*Cue wind in my hair as I peruse aisle 8 + lollygagging (yes, LOTS of lollygagging) around the vegetable bins.
But you know what? I’ll actually want to take our little guy to the grocery store when he’s old enough because there are valuable money lessons to be learned there.
And when I do? I’ll use some of these grocery store games for kids below.
Grocery Store Games for Kids #1: Generic Brand Ingredient Checker
Have a short discussion with your child about regular brands versus generic brands.
Mama Bear Cheat Tips:
- Cost: Generic brands will likely always be cheaper (though sometimes a sale on a regular brand can beat the price).
- Quality: Sometimes generic brands are not as high quality as the regular brand because they’ve cut corners on ingredients in order to bring the cost down. So you need to give it a try and see.
- Coupons: Most of the time you cannot find coupons for generic brands, only for regular brands.
Once you are in the store, you’ll want your child to pick up a regular brand + its generic counterpart so that they can compare the prices + ingredients.
Some interesting products to try:
- Pharmaceuticals: The pharmaceutical industry is closely regulated. So, “[g]eneric drugs are required to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand name product.” However, there can be different inactive ingredients.
- Aluminum Foil: I have found that the generic version is almost always more thin than the regular brand. So this is a good one to bring home the lesson of quality + also the lesson of “sometimes less quality is still perfectly fine” (because let’s face it, the thin stuff works just as well as the thick stuff).
Grocery Store Games for Kids #2: Increase in Allowance in Proportion to Coupons Clipped
You read that right. Before hitting the grocery store one time (or often if this becomes popular in your household, as I suspect it will), have a sit down with your child.
You’ll need your grocery list already written out, plus a Sunday paper (and/or check out the following online coupon sites):
Here’s your child’s task: have them search the coupon inserts + clip/print any that could match with your list. So if you have tortillas on your list, and there is a brand with a coupon, then they are to clip that.
Psssst: Brand flexibility is key here, and it’s a short-term sacrifice for a lifelong lesson, Mama Bear.
Then at the grocery store put your child in charge of alerting you to when they have a coupon for a particular item. Have them find the item, verify that it’s the right size/variety, and add it to the cart.
At the cash register, have them hand over the coupons they were able to use.
The magical part of this? Every dollar they saved you by using a coupon they personally clipped equals an extra dollar they get tacked onto their allowance for the week.
I told you this one might get super popular in your household!
Grocery Store Games for Kids #3: Generic Brand Blind Taste Testing
Have your child choose 3 different products in your home that you normally buy at the grocery store each week (or bi-weekly if you’re like us).
This trip, have them choose both the regular brand product, as well as a generic version of it.
Note: if you get to the grocery store and there is no generic version to a product they chose, suggest another to them as you walk through your normal routine.
At home, have your child set up a blind test with family members.
On a table, set up both products to be taste tested so that no one can tell which product is the regular brand, and which product is the generic version (so take the product out of the containers and put them into a bowl or on a plate).
Put a line down the middle of a sheet of paper, listing the two products and their prices at the top of the sheet.
After tasting each of the three products, have each family member vote for which they like best. Reveal whether it was the regular brand or its generic version.
Have your child answer these four questions:
- Which product wins out?
- Are you guys ready to change to a generic version?
- Choose one product that you may or may not change to the generic version. Assuming you purchase this product once a month, how much money are you saving by getting the generic instead of the regular brand? Do this by subtracting the generic cost from the regular brand cost, then multiplying that price difference by 12 (to see annual savings).
- What else could the family do with that money?
Grocery Store Games for Kids #4: Cash Scanner
Give your child the official title of Cash Scanner by putting them in charge of getting cash back after you return home (heck, even in the car ride back).
They’ll need to download one or all of the following savings scanning apps to your smart phone (or their own if they have one), either the iPhone or Android.
Note: there are lots of these types of apps out there, but some are more complicated than others. These are the easiest ones to manage.
- Walmart Savings Catcher App: This App only works at Walmart stores. My grandmother had accumulated over $80 in a year from it! You scan in your Walmart receipt, and the app automatically searches other stores’ sale prices for the week for the items you’ve purchased. They match those prices, and so you get cash back on anything you overpaid.
- ReceiptPal App: You snap a photo of your receipt, it gets validated, and you earn points that can be cashed in for gift cards. Also, you can scan in receipts from any merchant to get points, such as from convenience stores, restaurants, clothing stores, gas stations, etc. FYI there’s a wait list to join because so many people are interested. I hope you get in!
- ReceiptHog App: Snap photos of your receipts and receive “coins” you can use towards Amazon gift cards or Paypal cash. Yes, real cash! FYI there’s a wait list to join because so many people are interested. I hope you get in!
Receipts are about to become MUCH more interesting in your household!