I know many people that read this blog have children so I decided to give some tips on how to get your children on board with couponing. I have always been upfront regarding money with my children and I have tried to teach them to budget at an early age. (If they get gift cards they can spend them on whatever they want but if they buy something that needs something else to make it work — batteries, etc., I do not buy them. They need to budget their money to get everything they need. I do keep some batteries in the house they can use though.)
Here are my favorite ways to get the children involved:
Bribe them– this sounds bad at first; however, if you think about it my way it really works. I explain to my children that if we use coupons and only buy items we have coupons for we save money. I then keep that money separate and we use it for fun things we normally cannot afford. I was able to get a year membership to Science Museum Oklahoma (using a Groupon) and a year membership to the Oklahoma City Zoo (on a special at a furniture store in town) all with the savings from our coupons. Find out something that your family wants and then allocate your coupon savings towards that goal. Once the children see how much you save and how it can lead to fun things they jump on board.
Pay them– There was once a time when I did not know of all the websites (like www.consumerqueen.com) to get the deals matched up for me, so I hired my son. I would give him all my coupons and the sale ads. If he found a deal that I had not found yet I would give him half of what I saved. We have not done this in a long time but it taught him how to look for good deals and how to figure out the savings.
Make it a scavenger hunt– I like to give each of my older kids some coupons and have them go hunt for the items in the store. I give them each a few and whoever gets the most amount of items the quickest gets to pick out something. For example, if I am buying ice cream that trip the winner gets to pick the flavor.
Explain it– I have explained couponing to my children and they have witnessed that we get extra things by saving money and we also try new things while saving money. This was evidenced by my oldest son asking me at one point if I had a coupon for something he wanted to buy. He understood that if he looked for coupons for things he wanted to buy with his money he could get more items. I was very proud of him.
Have a free day– Every so often I like to have a “free day” with my children. The point is to spend no money at all. I save my free items coupons for these days. I like to schedule them around a time when there are free fun events going on also. We try not to drive far, or we use a gas card we got from a search engine site as a reward. The whole point of the day is that there are fun things we can do together that do not cost any money.
Once you get your children involved it is much more enjoyable. My husband does not get too excited about my savings anymore; however, my middle son jumps up and down and acts ecstatic when he learns how much I saved. My oldest son likes to save also and we make a game of them trying to figure out how much I saved that trip.
How do you get your children involved in couponing?