How DO I save money and aggravation while shopping without using any coupons?
Well, I'll tell ya!
It's called the: Ask-for-it-and-I-don't-buy-it rule. And it works WONDERFULLY!
When I first instituted this rule, I wasn't so sure it would help very much. Children test. It's just the way it is. I figured I was in for a lifetime of having to say no a million times every time we went shopping.
One day, though, I decided to try this rule. I don't know if I read it somewhere or if it just suddenly popped into my head. I've had both experiences with various parenting successes... I just don't keep track of which is which very well. Anyway... I told the children, "If you ask me to buy anything from now on, I will not buy it. The only way you can tell me what you want and STILL maybe get it is if I ask YOU what you want." As I mentioned, I didn't know how well it would go. My children test and test again (even when they REALLY know the rules).
Well, they definitely tested. I had my list all written up. And they know, if it's on the list, I'm definitely getting it unless I absolutely cannot find it. I was standing in front of the frozen pizza place and one of my girls asked if we could please buy pizza. I was SO upset!!!! I basically had a temper tantrum right there and said something like, "What!!?? Why in the WORLD would you ask for pizza after I JUST told you, reminded you, and told you again about the new rule!!!?? Do you see this (made sure to show list to each child)? Do you know that it says PIZZA!?? And now... and now I can't get pizza, which we were going to have for DINNER tonight, because YOU had to go and ASK for it! GAH!!!! What am I going to do for dinner now? I'm so frustrated. Why in the world would you ask when you know the RULE??!!!" The girls spent the time I was fussing in frustration looking at and slightly elbowing each other. When I was finished, they appologized. I said, "Thank you. Still doesn't help me with dinner!"
Well, since that experience, my children have only RARELY asked me to buy anything in the grocery store. I invited a child to tell me what they wanted on their birthday. Reminding all, the whole while, that this is different because I asked. They get it. They really do.
I am so grateful for this rule in place. I can usually go shopping with all of my children (5) with far less frustration than I felt with 2 or 3 before I put the rule in place. Praise the Lord for His perfect provision in EVERY way!
If you are interested in more ways I keep order and peace among my children when we are out and about, click on over HERE to read about systems!
Next week I'll continue to share more about shopping.