Teaching Kids to be Frugal Shoppers

Involving children in the family’s grocery shopping is a good way to teach children about money and being a frugal shopper. Children can be involved in every stage of the grocery shopping trip. Let them help check existing pantry supplies to see what is needed. Have them actively involved while in the store by helping select items from the shelves. And make them aware of the budget and cost of each item that is purchased.

Grocery shopping for the household involves:

  • menu planning,
  • checking and replenishing inventory,
  • working with a list,
  • monitoring pricing and keeping within a budget,
  • unit pricing and relating value to quality
  • brand awareness and marketing
  • portion control or product yield, and
  • redeeming coupons or considering sale items.

All of the skills from a successful grocery shopping trip help run a household, but are also applied in the business world. Related real world skills can even lead to future careers in logistics, purchasing, accounting and manufacturing.

Once a child can count to ten, he is old enough to understand some of the basics of money management and comparison price shopping. Comparing items on the grocery shelves can teach children the concept of one item being greater than another, such as the difference between the prices of different brands or seeing how individual packages compare to standard family size containers and then how those compare to bulk sizes.

Allowing children to participate in redeeming coupons is another way to teach children about saving money. School age children can help find the items on the shelves that meet the coupon requirements. Make it a game like a scavenger hunt, and give the kids a small reward if they find all the coupon items correctly.

Tie Dye Brightens Any Day

There is just something special about putting on a tie dye shirt. It changes your whole mood and makes everything just a little more. . . groovy. Sometimes it is good to get out of the funk and change your clothes to brighten your mood. That is what tie dye does for me.

Last time I was up in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I came across a little cinder block building painted bright yellow and noticed that they had some tie dye shirts hanging on a clothesline outside. I stopped to take a look and found out that the store is called Milky Wave Tie Dye, run by a sweet lady named Helen and her son, Laz.

They had huge selection of clothes for all shapes and sizes, in about a dozen recognizable patterns with different brilliant colors. i had a hard time making up my mind which ones to get, and ended up spending about $100 to get several shirts for myself and one for my sister.

Next time I am up that way I plan to stop by again and buy a few more tie dye shirts. When I wear them around town I always get noticed and hear a lot of compliments on the patterns and bright colors. And we can always use a little more groovy in our lives.


Shopping Day with Lauren

Shopping with my girlfriend, Lauren, is always a lot of fun. We are meeting up after work to get the last of our Christmas shopping done and maybe even grab a nice dinner if the shopping doesn’t take too long.

Lauren and I have the same taste in clothes and shoes, and we love the same stores. I just wish she was my size – but she is shorter and thinner than I am – I’m sure she is at least two or three dress sizes smaller than my size 14. The first time we met and found out that we were so much alike, we started calling Lauren “Mini Me.”

Holiday Countdown Panic

Today I am in a bit of a panic. Christmas is only 10 days away and the countdown to all the holiday parties and gift giving is underway. This weekend is dedicated to decorating the Christmas tree with my sister Wendy and her two wonderful kids, and then going back to her house and decorating her tree, too.

We found a great place to buy our fresh Christmas trees – at one of the high schools that are letting the Boy Scouts sell trees in their parking lot. The trees are reasonably priced and they even flock them for you if you like the white trees instead of the natural green. Wendy and I both like the green, so flocking is not an issue for us, but evidently it is a big deal to a lot of people around here.

After we get the trees up, we will be exhausted, so we will probably order a pizza and just chill out in Wendy’s living room and watch some Christmas movies with the kids.

Next weekend is our company Christmas party. We will be having a sit down dinner and dance with a live band at the country club in Brentwood. I can’t wait to go and have a nice evening with everyone from work. But that means next weekend will be busy with the party and no time for any other shopping or baking or anything. So I have to get everything done this weekend and next week. After all, Christmas is only 10 days away!


Cooking with Sausage

Fall and winter means that hams and sausage are plentiful and less expensive than beef. This is a great time to stock your freezer with rolls of fresh sausage, sliced and cubed ham, and bacon. There are country cured hams, Honeybaked hams and smoked hams. Other pork products include spareribs, pork chops, pork tenderloin and Boston butt.

Tonight i will be cooking a big batch of spaghetti sauce, made from scratch and using sausage instead of my normal ground beef. I like the extra flavor that sausage brings to the sauce, and it goes well with a thicker, denser noodle like ziti or lasagna.

One of the local farmers opens a store just in November and December to sell the pork products from his own hogs. He has wonderful whole smoked hams that are 3 years old, 4 years old and even 5 years old. Of course, the 5 year old hams are the most expensive but they are so worth it! Just a few thin slices of any of his hams are enough to properly season a big pot of white beans or a kettle of greens.

Today I drove by his store to see what hours he will be open. There used to be a time when he was only open on weekends through the fall, but this year it seems he is open 7 days a week, from 9 in the morning until 6 at night. That will make it really convenient for me to go back next week and buy my ham!


Does Anyone Just Drop In?

The doorbell rang this morning and got the dogs all excited – we thought someone special might have decided to drop in for a visit. We hardly ever have anyone ring the bell here – my friends know they can come in and make themselves at home. My family members all have a key to my front door, and I am hard pressed to remember the last time anyone actually rang the doorbell.

Turns out it was just the UPS guy, dropping off my order from Amazon. That was really fast – I just ordered it online Saturday night and here it is Monday. That new Amazon distribution center must really make a big difference in delivery times for people out here. I had no idea I would get my order in two days – it used to take a week!

There was a lot of uproar when Amazon started poking around here looking for a big warehouse to base their distribution operation for this region. Amazon wanted the State to waive the requirement to collect sales taxes on orders processed here. The Government usually grants a lot of concessions for new businesses bringing jobs to the state, but a lot of people were angry about the idea of waiving the taxes.

They worked it out and to be honest, I don’t remember hearing how they ended up working it out. Maybe I can find something on a back issue of the local newspaper.