Going Shopping With Kids: Part One, How to Avoid Shopping

childrenlowesI recently read a post from another blog about how the author does her grocery shopping with four children four and under.  I decided to copy her idea and share with you how I go shopping with my five five and under.

I am set up for failure.  In addition to having five little ones, I also live very far from real stores.  I’m 75 miles from the closest Wal-mart (but 67 taking 40 miles of the scary dirt roads).  I’m about 85 miles from the east end of Colorado Springs and 100 miles from the east end of Aurora (suburban Denver).  In order to go shopping, it’s a road trip first.  A road trip and littles? that’s a recipe for disaster.

My best strategy for going shopping with children is to avoid it altogether.  I avoid shopping mainly four ways, which I’ll explain here.

I order everything that is economically feasible to do so online.
(Note: I am an Amazon affiliate.) I belong to Amazon Mom and Amazon Prime.  The (now) $99 per year is worth its weight in gold.  Amazon Mom is a free club for moms.  (You can try Amazon Mom out free here.) We get 20% off of diapers and wipes all the time when we Subscribe & Save.  (And I also cloth diaper at home, so I use less disposables than most.)  I can combine the diapers into my monthly order where I can get 20% off of everything else in that shipment.  Amazon is more expensive than the store, but when I get 20% off and don’t pay tax (in the state of Colorado) it comes out the same or cheaper.  I use the Sam’s Club website, which has their prices posted, to figure out and compare unit prices.  I know most things at Sam’s are an OK deal, so it’s a great place to compare to.  I buy toilet paper and paper towels from Amazon and that saves precious trunk space.  There is a new service, called Amazon Prime Pantry, which let’s you fill up a giant box for $5.99 shipping and allows for more variety than the Subscribe and Save items.
I have a Target credit card (which I keep paid off) and use them for their free no-minimum shipping.  I buy some household items from them, like hampers, but I’ve also buy socks and underwear from them, too.  Their prices are comparable to Wal-mart on socks and undies and I get the free shipping with no minimum there.  I also belong to Swagbucks (referral link), so I earn back a percentage of my Target purchases earn back a percentages as Amazon gift cards.  I also just joined TopCashBack (referral link), which seems to work similar to Swagbucks and pays higher.
I buy clothes for the children at the Children’s Place.  Most of the time they have free shipping with no minimum.  They run great sales and their clothes hold up really well.  I don’t buy my kids many new clothes, but most of the time when I do it is from the Children’s Place.  I also use my Swagbucks to earn a percentage back of what I buy from the Children’s Place.
I buy coconut oil, organic baby formula and a lot of other health food store type things at Vitacost.com (referral link).  They frequently have great sales.  I have no problem making their minimum for free shipping.
When I need something, my first stop is the computer.  Lowes, Home Depot, even Sam’s Club, all ship certain things for free.  Free shipping is my best friend.

We “home source” a lot of our needs.  We raise our own beef and now pork and probably chickens soon.  We raise our own eggs and goat milk.  We feed our livestock fodder, hay and seeds that mostly come from our own farming endeavors.  I grind my own flour from our own wheat.  Having a freezer full of beef and sacks full of grains eliminates a lot of grocery purchases.

I cook everything I can from scratch.  I use a lot of ingredient substitutes.  Do I need noodles for that recipe?  I have wheat, which I grind, and water so I make them.  Do I need barbecue sauce?  Tomatoes, vinegar onions and spices.  Do I need to make a cake?  I have eggs, sugar, and flour, so I’m good to go.  I keep my staples stocked up.  They are a lot more flexible in what I can make with them.  Wheat, for example, can become farina, bulgar, bread, noodles, gravy, cake, pizza, etc.  Scratch cooking makes me more flexible with the groceries and staples I always have on hand.

I try to menu plan a month at a time to make grocery shopping a once per month event.  This is ideally.  It doesn’t actually happen that way often.

I hope that you can find some of my methods helpful to you.  Can you suggest anything that I missed?

Tomorrow I will post a follow up post about how I actually shop with kids when I can’t avoid it.


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Comments

  • Andrea says:

    It looks like you could start a blog on how your shop and save (serioiusly). I agree with your feelings of not shopping at all. When my kids were young, I became a fan of catalog shopping (before computer days as we know it, now).

    Of course, back then, grocery shopping had to be done in person. I used to bring all my kids (my husband said I must want to punish myself, back then) because I didn’t want to hire a babysitter and have them sit in front of a t.v. (I limited t.v.) It was not easy, and sometimes I did lose a kid and had to be called over the loudspeaker…well only once..ha..and sometimes my kids destroyed food …again only once, my kid stomped on a cylinder of bread crumbs that was left temptingly on the floor by someone..(come to think of it..it was the same kid who got lost!)….but I felt it was a good experience for my kids to get out with me.

    I also took my kids to the ob/gyn when I was pregnant. Luckily my Dr. allowed that, as today they frown on moms with kids! (ironically!) I only hired a babysitter when my husband had to take me to the hospital to deliver a baby, and for childbirth classes for my second child. (Don’t know why the hospital required them for natural childbirth for my second!) Andrea

  • Andrea says:

    p.s…your kids look so nice and happy!

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