Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Game" Plan: Coupons for Cash!!

Do you have children?  
Do they like video games?  

If you answered yes to both questions, then you know that kids often want new video games, and games can be very expensiveRead on for my solution.

When my 3 boys were young, I was fortunate to be a "Stay-at-Home" Mom for several years, which offered many advantages.  The biggest disadvantage, however, was less income.

The boys had received a game system as a joint Christmas gift, and I had also won a game system at a school fundraiser.  The game systems were identical, which was great considering we had 2 TVs, but both game systems included the same game cartridge.  Since new games were very pricey, a new purchase was usually reserved for birthdays and Christmas gifts.  Of course, the boys complained, “That’s too far away!  We can’t wait that long for a new game!"

Another dilemma for Stay-at-Home Moms is grocery shopping with kids. 

I want this cereal! (The one with the cool toy inside).

How about these chips?  

No, I want the other chips!  You chose last time!

We need more candy! 

I’ve been good.  Can I have a toy?  Book?  Folder? 

I don’t like that juice!  

The list goes on and on and ……..

So here’s how I came up with my "Game" Plan....

I often clipped coupons to use at the grocery store, but it was very difficult to grocery shop with 3 kids already, so I usually just gave up, bought the necessities, and went back home. 

I told the boys that they could help me clip coupons, shop for the needed items, and they would get the money from the coupons that we redeemed to save up for video games!  They loved this idea, so we set to work!

We excitably awaited Sunday’s newspaper with the coupon sections and store advertisements.  We only clipped the coupons for items that we would use, and I had to approve the item.  We also clipped coupons from magazines, and sometimes mailed in labels, etc., for rebates. 

After the boys and I clipped the coupons, they helped file them in a coupon file by store categories.

As the boys and I looked through the store ads, we were always very excited when a store offered “Double Coupons”.  Sometimes there were restrictions such as, “Double Coupons up to 50 cents”.  One store even occasionally offered  Triple Coupons!  That shopping spree was our best ever!  The problem was we were in the checkout line so long that our jug of milk spoiled!  The good news was that was our best savings ever - approximately $87.00 - more than enough to purchase a game!

At the grocery store, as we went down each aisle, I took out the coupons for that category.  The two older boys were each given 1-3 coupons.  At some stores, there were small carts for the boys to carry their coupons and products in, and they loved that!  Each had to find the item on the coupon in the size listed on the coupon, and this made it especially fun.  I then put the item in my shopping cart and the coupon in the “Purchased” Category. The youngest son rode in my shopping cart, and I helped him match coupons to store items, also.  The boys would estimate how much they thought we had “earned” as we walked around shopping. At the check-out, we determined how much money had been redeemed in coupons, and I put that amount of cash into the “games” envelope to save until we accumulated enough money to purchase a new game.

Now came the hard part - deciding which game to purchase.  Of course, the game had to be age appropriate, and the boys had to agree which game to buy.  Sometimes it was a game that all three boys liked, and sometimes it was, “You chose last; now it’s his turn!”

All in all, this was a great family activity.  The boys learned a lot about grocery shopping, categorizing, estimating, budgeting, cooperation, and saving up for something worthwhile.  Conduct at the grocery store greatly improved, also, because the boys were engaged in an activity that would eventually lead to rewards!

Maybe I’ll try this "Game Plan" with my grand-kids!  Game Systems may have changed, but kids still love video games!

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