Here's How You're Going Back to School Shopping Without the Epic Meltdowns

All of us can avoid the shopping meltdown with our kids with a bit of planning and honest conversations about money.

Avoiding the meltdown when shopping with Kids |

Sometimes taking our kids shopping can end up costing us more than we bargained for; we head out with great intentions only to find ourselves dealing with a shopping meltdown or the “need it; want it; gotta have it” with our kids.  In most cases when this happens, the experience goes downhill pretty quickly.  Ordinarily I am cool, calm, and collected when shopping with a list in hand and a small time frame. But on occasion I admit I’ve had an awful outing with my kid and felt the pressure to buy something in order to avoid embarrassment or public shaming.   

I want to give my kid the best of everything but I know that over-indulgence is a recipe for disaster. And, there is a lot of peer pressure to ‘keep up'.  Our kids can be crafty, convincing in their ways and know how to push the mommy guilt button to get us to part with our money. We are susceptible to their charm, but it’s a wake up call if things get out of hand too often.  Besides, caving in really isn’t teaching our kids good money habits.

The American Psychology Association says “we develop our attitudes and beliefs about money in childhood. By talking often about money, and modeling good money management habits, you’ll set your children up for a future of financial success.”   

So how do you set yourself up for a joyful day of shopping with your kid(s) without the meltdown? Try these 3 easy tips: 

1.  Make a plan together.

Get your kids involved upfront. It may take a few more minutes but it will pay dividends. Try to be very clear about the purpose of the shopping trip. Set a budget. And, try not to get side tracked or enticed to spend more money in the mall.

2. Tell your kid what she can have. 

For example, if you know your daughter needs a new pair of shoes or jeans, talk about it. She may want the $90 pair of jeans her friends just bought. This may not be in your budget. For example, you might say… “Melissa, I’m sure we can find a cool pair of jeans for $30. Can you help me stick to our budget?” And do take Melissa to the store that sells $30 jeans.   

3. Walk the talk.

This is a biggy in my books. If we don’t follow through with our words with our actions, our kids will call us out. We lose credibility. And, if by chance you tell your kids that you are on strict budget or have other financial priorities at this time, try not to splurge on a new pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. That won’t go over well.

All of us can avoid the shopping meltdown with our kids with a bit of planning and honest conversations about money.  Set yourself up to have a super shopping experience.  You will come home with little remorse or regret, your sanity and hopefully money in your wallet. 

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Anita Saulite, MBA is a Consultant and Personal Finance Expert with over 20 years of professional experience in financial services. She has worked for many of the tier one banks in Canada. She recently served on the Board of Directors for the Famous Five Foundation in Calgary, Alberta.  A best-selling author of The Savvy Money Gal .  Her latest book is  Food For Thought: The Joy of Living a Delicious and Nutritious Financial Life.  She is a member of the Forum Women Entrepreneurs in Vancouver, B.C., and mentors young women entrepreneurs. She is a sought after speaker, writer and thought leader around issues facing women, baby-boomers and millennials. Media highlights include: CTV National News, Global BC1 and News 95.7 in Halifax. She is a featured writer for the Huffington Post and Tangerine Bank. She is a hockey Mom, skier, golfer and dog lover.