Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Successful Thrift Shopping With Kids

Jaime at BlondeMomBlog recently lost sight of her preschooler in Goodwill, a scary experience I've shared, as well.

I do 95% of my shopping with all 3 children along.

Here are some treasure-finding strategies that won't leave you hunting for your kids:

1. Borrow a few books as soon as you enter. My kids are happy to read while I shop. Limit toys to the end of the trip.

2. Train kids to stay in the cart as long as possible. Wear the baby. If mobile, keep kids within eyesight or 3-5 quick steps away at all times.

3. Give them a special mission or spending money. "First one to find a blue bowl wins!"

4. Accept the fact that you'll rarely shop the whole store. Look at the important areas first, and be prepared to walk out early.

5. Compromise. Shop the store which allows exchanges so you don't have to visit the dressing room. Figure out which store stays open late, and plan for an hour with one of the older kids.

Remember, you are not only saving your family money, you are teaching your kids to save money, too!

37 comments:

celina from canada said...

i'm a very mean mommy, we have a hand on the cart at all times rule...

and the hiding in the racks was discouraged at the start, I hate that, (esp in second hand stores...yuck..around here the floors are NOT clean)

i'm very protective (likely too protective..) the worst moment was with a newborn in the cart at the top...groceries in the bottom, no room for 2 yr old who took off at a run in the store...had to maneuver the cart..couldnt leave him...it was horrid...i now NEVER judge frantic mothers with misplaced children...but will often head them off....(the kids not the moms..lol)

Kristyn Knits said...

great tips! I try to take a favorite toy or book into the store with me. and I shop at stores without carts when I'm alone.

Roxie700 said...

I too am very afraid of losing a child while in a store. The Adam Walsh story is never far from my mind.
I am so very blessed. I do not go to the thrift stores without my husband. I just do not do it any more. Lucky for me David is a good sport and supports my efforts 100%.
When we shop he taks one boy, usually Gavin who is 9 and I take Evan who is 7. The rules are they stay with the cart and me (or grandpa) at all times. They do have some allowance money to spend so we will look at toys and such too. It is actually good too that we do this as a family.
Blessings to you Meredith. I do understand why you can not go with your husband all the time. I admit it limits me to Saturday only. But that is the trade off I make for my peace of mind.

Kristina said...

I do the hand on the cart thing, too. Usually, my husband will take care of our son when I go shopping. It gets me out of the house by myself and I can really focus on what I need to get. We farm so our son can just go with hubs.

Nancy said...

Oh boy. I know how it is with just one, sometimes. I can only imagine three. As long as you're doing your best to keep them rounded up and paying attention to them... used to drive me nuts going into the store in my old neighborhood and having rude kids stand or dash directly in front of the cart, while my child was behaving rather well, with a book or toy in the seat of the cart.

Maybe look into getting one of those "kid-leashes" for Elise? I have one that I've used just a handful of time but it was worth it for the sanity saved when my hands were full (usually when boarding or leaving a train after a week at Gramma and Grampa's).

Hopefull said...

I have learned to shop important areas first as I have a 10 yr old boy who thinks thrift stores are the bain of his existence - that is until he walk out with his new $1.50 roller blades. You really do have to be prepared to not have it go perfectly and be thankful when the kids are in such a mood where it does :)

TwoMuths said...

That photo made my day. Beautiful! My toddler loves his baby brother, too, and these moments make my heart skip a beat.

Proverbs30one said...

These are great ideas. My kids (9 and 13) sit and read books while I shop and the staff are always pleased with how well behaved they are, especially when they put their books back before we leave.

Sandy Toes said...

Great tips....I shop with my kids all the time..some times it's a true pleasure and other times I come home and read my "child rearing " books..lol!
-sandy toe

Indie said...

One of my rules is that I won't buy grown up clothes from a thrift store that doesn't have room for a stroller or the cart in the dressing room. And I've become really really really really frustrated with trend lately of only having mirrors outside the dressing room. So I have to give my kids a chance to escape, cry, spot something interesting outside the dressing room every single stinking time I try something on? Ridiculous.

As far as tips go, I find the stroller to be very helpful. I don't want to limit my shopping to Saturdays because that's when everyone is there and its slim pickings.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

Thank you for the great Meredith...it was the first (and may be the last for a while any way) time I take my youngest thrift store shopping. My oldest is great but she is now at the age where she loves to look for bargains with me! :)

kykathy said...

As a single mom with no family nearby, my 2 1/2 yr old is with me 24/7/365. If I shop, he shops. Right now he stays in the cart unless it's a quick stop for a couple of things, then he gets to walk. We just returned from a thrift store, and I took a snack with me for the cart, and he is very interested in looking around and people watching. Right now he is telling everyone he sees he has a big boy bed! Yard sales are much harder, lots of stopping, out of the carseat, in the carseat, no carts, toys to grab, can't turn your back for an instant, etc., but we manage. Hoping this summer might be a little easier! However, my little guy is already telling me he wants to go to yard sales because there are fun toys there!
I guess everyone adapts to their own situation when out & about with the kids.

Tesa said...

I would love to implement more thrift store shopping in my life. Four young tag-a-longs make any type of shopping a bit challenging for me. These are great tips- thanks.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I'm doing exactly this tomorrow! I was already going over my game plan in my head and it definitely involved not visiting the fitting room!

Steph

Amy said...

Good call on the books. I been known to hunt some down at the grocery store too. I find thirft store shopping to be the worst kind of shopping to drag kids along to. It takes more concentration than I can usually spare with three kids in tow...

Stacy said...

aww that picture is so sweet :) Great advice! I do the book thing too! :D I only have one right now though, im sure the adventures have only just begun. tee hee

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

I just came by via a link to your Lego party. it's FABULOUS! I'm so glad I discovered your blog! Off to explore your older entires...

An Adventurer in the World said...

we had the scary experience recently in Goodwill of having a man walk past and purposely touch my 11yo daughter's long hair.

She and a friend were on the opposite side of the same rack I was shopping, in plain view. They froze, then ran to my side. He seemed to vanish immediately ... It's not just the little ones!

deb meyers

Kelly said...

I think Mommy leashes so that you don't misplace Mommy !!!
My son would have loved a leash , he thought he was a dog for so many years , I was beginning to wonder . LOL !!!

Together We Save said...

Great tips when mine were young it was a constant problem. I used to push a cart with the kids inside and pull one with groceries.

Katie said...

That is the sweetest picture! I didn't notice the hand holding at first. But oh how SWEEET!!!

Edi said...

In some ways it's easier shopping w/the kids when they can still ride in the cart :)

I think I used to bring small snacks to keep them happy (ie. animal crackers)...and yes the books help also.

If I didn't have children with me I'd be one of those people that check out the thrift store daily.

I'm trying to cut back on taking my kids to the store so often - b/c I know it's no fun for them...

I think thrift shopping is great for the kids where they can see how much a thrift item costs compared to a mall price.

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

I laughed when I saw this post. I wrote a post about my own experience shopping with my gang of (then) 4 under 4. It's long, but it was a LONG day. http://www.vitafamiliae.com/?p=489

Jackie said...

Great set of "rules".

God bless.

Samantha said...

It looks like the kids may be in their wedding finery. Did you drive to the wedding? If not, did you have to take the 2 carseats and the booster seat on the airplane? I always wonder how people with kids 8 and under manage when they fly since you would have to have the seats for taxis or rental cars or any car that picks you up at the airport. Granted, shopping with kids is a trick, but flying would seem to be the ultimate hassle. Any tricks for managing that?

G A said...

Great suggestions Meredith and it's good to know I'm not the only one who has had that moment of panic.... Alison tubofamily

BessieJoy said...

Wonderful post and I *so* agree!!! There are so many life lessons taught on those long days in "town" shopping!

Phil and Laurie said...

That picture is so very adorable! This is a good post (but then again, ALL of your posts are good), and so relevant for us mothers of young children. I definitely have more compassion for mothers shopping with kids than I did before having kids of my own. :) I have a three year old that likes to be on the go all the time, so I am training him to stay right beside me, and hold onto the cart or stroller. If I don't make him hold on, he thinks the whole store is a free-for-all and he can roam where he wants to. Yeah, right! :) My one year old is no longer restrained in an infant seat, so I have to be so watchful that she doesn't try to stand up in the seat (which she has done on occasion, inspite of the safety belt that was supposed to keep that from happening). Between watching both of them every second, and comparing prices, I get so exhausted and vow to have my husband watch them the next time. And don't get me wrong, he gladly watches them when I ask him to, but he works such long hours, that it just works better for me to take the kids myself. So, I can relate 100% with your post, and I think your strategies are right on the money. Great post!

Phil and Laurie said...

Oh,I forgot to add, I used to sign my comments as Laurie in FL, just so you know who I am. :)

Kimba said...

Great suggestions. I do most of my shopping with kids in tow. Most of the time, we're fairly successful. I've just had to learn to adjust my expectations. My youngest is a bit of a stinker so he's taking a little longer to get with the program.

We just had a horrible incident of child abuse at a local municipal building when a young boy was in the men's room alone. Makes me so sick. My boys are coming into the ladies room until they go to college. :-)

Kimba

Marsha said...

Thrift (or garage sale) shopping with kids is difficult, but it's worth it in the long run. My teenage boys would never dream of paying retail! My younger son is even thriftier than I am, since he's been trained that way from the very beginning. Think of how much your kids will save in their lifetimes, with this early training.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Oh - you know i love this post. Although, it really does make a difference now that my youngest is 5. The big ones can watch her in the store with me, and considering we spend quite a bit of time in GW...it's a good thing. :)

Sandy said...

how did I miss this post?

the minute I walked into a grocery store i'd find a toy or book or something to occupy my kids and make them stay in the carts.

love that top photo of A and J!!!!!

Sandy said...

Oh, E and J!

(our friend spells it w/an A!)

My Boaz's Ruth said...

With just 1, I'm finding it difficult to manage. I feel for you with 3 (though the one in a car seat/sling for right now is the least of your problems. Its just that you can't leave him alone while you search for the rest!)

My Boaz's Ruth said...

PS are those carseats Marathons? With Crocodile pattern covers? That's exactly what I see everyday when I put my baby in the car!

Nicole said...

Celina from Canada ... Thank You! There are times when we stretched beyond our limits. That you recognize someone in need and step out from the sidelines ... God Bless You.