Make a shopping list. Have your child put down on paper the things he’s looking for on a shopping outing. By listing purchasing targets, he’s more likely to avoid spending money on nonessential (or non-budgeted) things and won’t short on cash for the things he needs.
Become an informed consumer. Your child should learn about the things she’s going to buy. For example, are the skates she’s eyeing well-built? Have there been safety problems with that brand? Check out Zillions, the kid’s magazine from Consumer Reports. Encourage your child to ask questions. Sales help in many stores aren’t helpful at all and may even be rude to young customers, but as long as your child is well-behaved, she’s entitled to help as much as any other customer.
Do your homework for shopping. As with preparing for the next day’s lessons in school, it’s important to do prep work before going on a shopping expedition. Having a shopping list is only the starting point. Check out advertised sales for the items on the list. Compare the advertised prices to see which store offers the better deal.
Be a bargain hunter. Saving money by buying sale items, using coupons, or shopping at outlet stores means that your child’s dollar will go farther. If he goes to a movie matinee when tickets are half-price, he’ll be able to go twice as often for the same cost.
Save receipts. When your child buys something, she should learn to save the cash register receipt. There are two good reasons for doing so: It’s necessary to have the receipt if she wants to return or exchange the item she’s bought, and receipts serve as a record-keeping device.