My daughter is two and already, I dread grocery shopping with her. She can recognize candy and sweets just by the packaging (how DOES she do that?) She asks for many, many things we don’t need and so I’m constantly coming up with new ways to say no to her. But it’s so freaking hard! Anytime I’m tired, hungry, or have already said no so many times my head is spinning, it’s tempting to give in and say yes.
Saying yes is hard on my wallet and it teaches my kids that if they ask for stuff enough, I will eventually give in and say yes. By saying yes, I’m encouraging them to keep asking me for stuff! Which means it’ll take ever more stamina and persistence to say no. Short story, the more we teach our kids that we won’t give into their impulsive requests, the less we’ll have to say no to them. Kids are impulsive, and their spending requests reflect that.
Here are 45 ways to save money by saying no to your kids.
1. No. (Had to get the obvious one out of the way. :))
2. Not today, sweetie.
3. Not until_______.
4. Maybe later.
5. Ask me again tomorrow.
6. I don’t think so.
7. That doesn’t fit you.
8. We already have one at home.
9. That is not appropriate for_______.
10. Is that a need or a want?
11. If you want to buy that, you can save your own money.
12. No, we can make that instead.
13. No, we can borrow that from a friend.
14. No, we can rent that instead.
15. No, we can check that out from the library.
16. No, we can find that for cheaper on Craigslist.
17. No, but let’s check Freecycle for one from someone in our community.
18. No, it’s not on sale.
19. Let’s wait until we have a coupon.
20. We need to talk to ____before we buy that.
21. No, but you can put it on your Christmas list.
22. No, but you can put it on your birthday wish list.
23. No, you can’t have that, but you need to push the shopping cart now. (Distraction works with little ones!)
24. No, you can’t have that but do you want to ______ ? (If your kid has to do things herself, take advantage!)
25. No, because (reason why). But do you want to play I Spy? (Or another game, topic of conversation to distract him).
26. Try this: Pick her up and move her away from what it is that she wants and let her cry for a minute. Then she usually wants a hug and moves on. Consistency is key!
27. Try this: Echo what your child wants and how she feels about not getting it. If you kid says something like: “I’m sad. I’m crying.” Then you say, “I know you’re sad. You wanted to ____ and mama/daddy said no.”
28. Try this: Tell her ‘Mommy means what she says and says what she means.’
29. No, but will you help me pick out ___________(another item on your list)?
30. Try this: If your child insists on putting items in the cart that you don’t want to buy, let her. Then when you get to the cashier, discreetly tell the cashier that you don’t want it. This may no be the ‘correct’ way but it works for some. If a cashier gives you the evil eye, just think to yourself, it’s a lot better than a screaming child in your store!
31. Try this: Let her whine, cry, scream, throw a tantrum. Sometimes this behavior is unavoidable and by giving into threats of meltdowns, you’re teaching your kid that bad behavior is the way to get what she wants. Yes, it is embarrassing and awful, but what parent hasn’t been there?
32. No, that’s not for us.
33. No, that’s for someone else.
34. No, that doesn’t have our name on it.
35. No, that’s not for sale.
36. We don’t have enough money to buy that.
37. This is a store where we just look at things, we don’t take them home.
38. No, we’re only returning things today.
39. If you save up for it, you can have it.
40. If you pay for half of it.
41. If you still want it in 2 weeks, maybe then.
42. I would, but the rule is no buying ________ today. (This works surprisingly well with really little ones!)
43. It’s not in the budget, sweetie. (Bonus if this response kick starts a discussion about budgets!)
44. No, it’s not on our list.
45. The rule is we can only buy it if it’s on our list.
How do you save your wallet when shopping with kids?