Teaching money management at the grocery store can be fun and pretty painless, so take your kids along with you on a few store visits. First up are the stickers that show the unit price for grocery items. They're usually on the store shelves next to the overall pricing information. Comparing unit pricing is the best way to illustrate that many products can be evaluated side-by-side to determine the best bargain. Make it a game. The least expensive cookies may not be your child's favorite, but getting him to identify the best cookie bargain using unit pricing is the first step in good money management.
Paying for grocery store goods used to be pretty easy, but these days there's more to checking out at the market than counting pennies (quarters or dollars) on your fingers. With rewards programs, coupons and cash cards, the money part of shopping can get confusing. Letting your child hand the checker your coupons during a few family-focused grocery store excursions, and allowing him to offer up the swipe card, can get him used to the routine before he makes his first unassisted purchase.
Taking the time to point out advertised sales and explain the value of coupons is important, too. To keep things manageable, though, these lessons should probably be part of a multi-step process.