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Smart shopping: teaching children

Smart shopping is a key part of budgeting and money management.

You can help your child learn this skill by:

  • talking with your child about your consumer values and shopping choices
  • being a smart shopping role model when you’re planning your purchases
  • being a smart shopping role model when you’re at the shops.

Talking about consumer values and shopping choices

As part of your daily life with your child, you can talk about your values and how these influence your shopping choices.

You could tell your child why you’re prepared to pay more for something that’s important to you – for example, free-range eggs or softer toilet paper. Or why you prefer to buy the cheapest product – for example, so there’s more money left over for other things the family needs.

When you’re talking with your child, you could also talk about how your family budget influences your choices. This can help your child understand why we can’t always have everything we wan

Planning purchases: role-modelling tips

Planning your purchases can help you resist marketing and advertising pressure, both for everyday shopping and expensive purchases. These tips can help you be a planning role model for your child:

  • Do some research before you shop. 
  • Shop around with your child. Whether you’re looking in catalogues, shopping online or shopping at a shopping centre, this can teach your child to compare prices and value.
  • Talk with your child about how advertising can influence shopping decisions.
  • Make a list of what you’re going to buy before you go shopping, and stick to it. 
  • Set a spending limit. At the shops, buy less so you stick to the limit, or shop around so that you get what you need with the money you have to spend.

At the shops: role-modelling tips

When you’re at the shops, you can show your child how to keep price, value and budget in mind. These tips can help:

  • If you have a list and a spending limit, stick to them. If your child can read, you could give him the list and he can help you stick to it. And if your child can add up, he could help you keep to your spending limit.
  • Talk with your child about what you’re buying and why. 
  • If you’re not sure, read the label and pause before buying. 
  • Don’t be afraid to say no. This helps your child learn about not giving into pressure from salespeople or special offers.
  • Keep the receipt. Let your child know that it’s OK to take something back if it’s faulty or parts are missing – but you need the receipt to do this.
  • For bigger purchases like electronics or furniture, you might be able to negotiate a good price. Often all you have to do is ask. 

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