Homemade Brownie mix

I have parents and in-laws that like to just pop in sometimes.  I love that they do! Also, being a pastor’s wife, ladies sometimes just stop over to talk.  I grew up in a family that always had cupboards FULL of food, so anytime someone stopped over, you would offer them food.  I made this homemade brownie mix for those occasions when someone pops in.  I keep mine in a ziplock bag and just add a few ingredients when I’m ready to bake.  Within 25 minutes, I have fresh brownies for my guests.

Here’s the recipe:

HOMEMADE BROWNIE MIX

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 cups sugar

Simple! You don’t need to even dirty a bowl, just place all of the ingredients right into a ziplock bag.  Write these ingredients on the side of the bag and add them when you’re ready to bake.

1 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs

Grease 9 x 13 pan, bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes (check at 20, toothpick must come out clean)

Easy dessert for those times you need something quick for your guests!

What is a FICO Score? Your Questions Answered!

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What is a FICO score, and is it important?

The FICO score (credit score) is the most widely used credit score model in the United States. It stands for “Fair, Isaac, and Company,” and ranges from 300 to 850.  The FICO model is used by the majority of banks and credit grantors, and is based on consumer credit files of the three national credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.  FICO scores can vary depending on which bureau provides the information to FICO to generate the score.

 

Credit scores are designed to measure the risk of default by taking into account various factors in a person’s financial history.

 

What affects my FICO score?

  • Payment history—Bills paid on time will improve your score, where late payments on bills, such as a mortgage, credit card, or auto loan, will cause your FICO score to drop. 
  • How much credit you currently have—The ratio of current debt (such as credit card balances) to the total available credit or credit limit. FICO scores can be improved by paying off debt and lowering the credit utilization ratio.  Applications for and receiving the credit limit increase will also drive down the utilization ratio.  Opening new lines of credit will have the same effect (keep in mind the “Average age of tradelines” and “Hard inquiries” matrices on the last possibility). The closing of existing revolving accounts will typically adversely affect this ratio and therefore have an adverse impact on a FICO score.
  • Length of credit history—The longer your credit history the more a positive impact it will have on your FICO score.
  • Types of credit used (mortgage, student or auto loans, lines of credit, store credit cards, etc)—It can be beneficial to have different types of credit.  I don’t recommend opening new credit just to improve your score)  It won’t impact enough to make a difference, and can lead to large debt.
  • Recent credit searches— If you are applying for credit cards or a revolving credit line, it will affect your credit score.  Each store or lender will check your credit, causing it to go down.  Think twice about taking that offer to get an extra 10% off your total at department stores!
    • Any credit inquires drop off your credit report after 12 months, and don’t impact your score.
    • If you or an employer check your credit score, that will not affect your score.
  • Money Owed – any money owed for child support, tax lien, law suit, etc. can negatively affect your score.
  • Opening Many Store Credit Cards – having many newly opened accounts can cause your score to drop on top of just having many credit searches.
  • Bankruptcy & Foreclosures have a negative affect on your score, and can dramatically decrease your score.
  • Closing Credit Cards – if you want to close a card, just cut it up, but don’t close it.  Let it close on it’s own, which it will if you don’t use it long enough.  Closing a bunch of cards will decrease your score.

 

What is a good FICO score?

The FICO score ranges from 300-850.  A “good” credit score is generally anything above 700.

 

How do I find my FICO score?

You can get a FREE credit report each year from any of the 3 credit reporting agencies, Experian, Transunion, or Equifax.  I recommend www.creditkarma.com.  They offer a free credit report with no strings attached… no trial periods to have to cancel later on, no signing up for anything, just a free report.

 

Who can see my score?

Any company or employer that you give your social security number to can see your credit score.  Any inquiry to your credit by credit companies will show up on your report.

 

What can I do to improve my score?

1. Reduce your debt to income ration.  Pay bills on time – set up automatic bill payments online to ensure timely payments.  Just remember to keep a large enough balance in your bank account to ensure you don’t overdraw your account because of a forgotten automatic payment.

2. Don’t apply for a lot of loans or credit cards – pay cash = no debt.

3.  Make payments on delinquent debt.  Even if it’s only $5/month.  It will show you are working toward getting out of debt.

4. Don’t hold a credit balance on your open credit cards.  Credit balances lead to lower scores, late fees, and interest payments.

5.  Cut up credit cards you are using, but don’t close them.  Just let them close on their own from non-use.  Closing your accounts deceases your available credit, which decreases your credit utilization ratio.  (how much debt you have/total credit limit)

6.  Increasing your credit limit will increase your score.  Just remember it’s best to pay cash.

 

What do I need a FICO score for?

If you are planning to purchase a house, rent, buy a car with a loan, open a business, or purchase ANYTHING on credit, you will need a good FICO score.  If you don’t have a good score, you will not be able to open any credit or loan account.  A good FICO score will enable you to get the lowest loan rates possible.

Good credit scores can allow you to:

  • have a better chance for credit card and loan approval
  • get the best mortgage and  refinance rates
  • have more negotiating power
  • get approved for higher credit limits
  • get easier approval for rental apartments or houses
  • get better car insurance rates
  • open a cell phone contract without a security deposit
  • open utility accounts without a security deposit 
  • easily rent a vacation home

 

My credit score is very low, is it too late?

It’s never too late to improve your score.  Look above for steps to increase your score.

 

I don’t have any credit history, should I open some credit cards and maintain no balance to increase my score?

No, you do actually have a credit history by not having any outstanding credit or debts.  Lenders will see you have a good record with no delinquencies.  You can still get approved for a mortgage or loan.

 

Isn’t some debt good, like a mortgage for tax purposes?

The only good debt is debt that is paid off.  Even though you do get a tax write-off on interest paid on a mortgage, it will not outweigh the benefits or savings from interest paid on your mortgage.  If you pay your mortgage early, you are saving years worth of interest payments that will far surpass the amount of interest you write off on your taxes.

 

I don’t have good credit, should I ask someone to co-sign a loan for me? 

Never!  You don’t want to ever drag someone into a loan with you.  It is never a wise option.  No matter how much you think you need that house or car or money to pay off existing debt, asking for help this way should never be an option.

 

 

Check out more tips on how to minimize your debt here.

 

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get updates.

 

“The borrower is servant to the lender.”  Proverbs 22:7b

How to Save money on your grocery bill

Couponing has cut my grocery budget in half.  I literally spend half as mush as I used to on groceries, and my family has grown in size.  I have 4 boys, and they like to eat.  Check out my tips below on how to start using coupons and save on your groceries.

1) Figure out your budget-For everyone that wants to start saving money on their grocery bill, you first have to figure out how much you’re spending.  Take your bank statement from the last month and add up how much you’ve been spending on groceries. Now, take that amount and right off the top take 25% off of what you spent last month, that is now your goal this month.  If your bill was $400 last month, this month make it $300.  Trust me, you can do it.  Now, let’s all get on the same page here, whatever your attitude is in this will determine what the outcome will be.  I’ve had people tell me “I don’t have time to make a budget” or “couponing seems too hard.”  If that’s how your starting, then head to the next post because you wont save any money if that’s the attitude you start out with.

Now that you’ve figured out what your grocery budget will be, sit down with your spouse and go over it.  Trust me, if you and your spouse are not on the same page with saving money, you won’t save any.  You’ll find that every penny you save with coupons, they’re spending on….hmm….candy, or some weird thing that will be broken and in the trash next week.  I’m laughing as I type this, and I’m sure my husband will be laughing when he reads it too!

2) Shop with cash- I ALWAYS grocery shop with cash.  Dave Ramsey agrees! Shop for groceries with cash. There’s something about swiping a little plastic card that tells you that you can spend as much as you want.  That’s how people go into debt.  Credit cards tell you that you can spend it and not worry about it right now.  Unless you are disciplined enough to pay them off every month, don’t use them.  Ill get into that on another post. You’ll be much more likely to shop for sales and get the most from your buck when you’re using cash.  You’ll be more conscious of the price of things if you’re using cash.

3)Shop once a week- I know some people who grocery shop once a month, and quite frankly, I can’t do that.  There will always be something that I want to make and I’ll need ingredients or I’ll run out of milk.  I shop once a week.  Not to say that you can’t shop once an month, if it works for you then I commend you for that.  So I make my list every sunday night after the store circular ads come out.  All of my grocery shopping is based on what’s on sale that week.  Last week lettuce was on sale and so was chicken, so grilled chicken salads were on my menu.  Base your meals around the sales, otherwise you’re overpaying.

4) Use coupons- I always try to match sale prices with coupons.  I get most of my coupons from coupons.com or in the Sunday paper.

5) Stock up on items when they’re cheap- By creating a stockpile of items when they are cheap, you’re saving money in the long run.  Within a few months of couponing, you’ll begin to have a large stockpile.  When its time to grocery shop and meal plan, you start using those items that you have on hand in your pile instead of having to go out and buy them at full price, this will save you hundreds of dollars.

Within a few months of doing this, you should be able to cut your grocery budget in half.  Watch for future posts on my meal plans and you’ll see exactly how I save.

Determine that you’ll save 25% this month! You can do it, I always think of what I can save that extra money for. Each month I tuck it away, and when Christmas time comes, I NEVER spend any extra out of my budget because I already have it from what I’ve saved throughout the year on groceries.  I also use it to buy my kiddos a big family gift every summer….I’m not sure what that gift will be yet this year.  Let me know if you have any fun ideas!

 

Minimizing your Debt

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Nobody likes debt.  AND nobody thinks about that when they go into debt!  Swiping that little plastic card can lead to devastating circumstances for families.  Most people put something on credit and just assume they will pay it off quickly, but then…the car breaks down, the roof leaks, the water tank bites the dust.  Those are things that happen and they are NEEDS!  A lot of times where we run into trouble is that we owe our credit cards, but we see that outfit we want, or those new shoes, or that new TV.  Here lies the problem.  We intend to pay off debt, only while going into MORE debt! I was a manager at a credit recovery agency before I got married.  I spent my entire day trying to get people on a plan to pay their debt.  Here’s how to start…

#1) GET MOTIVATED! You will not become debt free unless you are motivated to do so.  You have to work at it! It’s like dieting, no one enjoys it, but you work at it because of the outcome.  To get there, you need to get motivated!

#2) DON’T PAY THE MINIMUM- Break that habit of only paying the minimum each month.  Understand the game of banking, you borrow from them and the longer you take to pay them back, the more they make, and the less you have! That is EXACTLY what they want you to do.  Pay as much as you can each month.  (see #7 below) We all have our “luxuries” for things.  And you know what yours is.  Mine happens to be dunkin donuts coffee!  Cut out the coffee shops, the eating out, the things that you do that you don’t NEED to do.  If I owe money to someone, I don’t have luxuries until they are paid first!  Cut those things out and you’ll find the extra money that you need to pay a little more on your debt.

#3) CHECK WHAT YOUR PAYING IN INTEREST- If you have one credit card with 27-30% (yes it’s true some cards charge you 27% interest and you probably don’t even know it). If you can’t pay it off quickly, then transfer it to a card that has a low interest rate.  If you can’t transfer, then pay that card off first.  Make that your goal.  Don’t pay the banks 30% interest on your accounts.

#4) CALL YOUR CREDITORS- Last year I helped a family call all of their creditors to see if they could remove some of the interest and late payments on their accounts.  Their accounts were past due and they wanted to start trying to pay them off.  We called every creditor they had, and guess what, every single one took charges off.  Negotiate! With their last creditor, they had $500 left to try and pay the account off.  Their bill was $1100, we called and asked if the account could be settled for $500, after a little negotiating, they agreed!

#5) PAY OFF THOSE LITTLE BILLS BEFORE THEY COME BACK AROUND AND BITE YOU- A couple of years ago, a friend of mine had a newspaper subscription that was unpaid, they were sinking in debt and the newspaper bill was not even something they were considering.  After they worked hard to pay everything off, that little $30 newspaper subscription went to collections and became a $300 newspaper subscription after collection fees and late charges! Obviously you need to be wise but don’t let those little ones snowball into something ridiculous.  Make sure you are keeping track of everything you owe.  At one point I worked on a Citibank contract collecting unpaid debt.  You wouldn’t believe how many people had an original balance less than $10 and after late fees, and collection charges for years, they now owed hundreds.  Keep track of what you owe and when you pay something off, keep your $0 balance bill for proof that it was paid (just incase)

#6) USE WHAT YOU HAVE- It’s wise to keep a buffer in your savings account incase of emergencies.  If you owe on your credit cards, put your saving to a halt for now.  What you’re saving you are really paying in interest if you owe credit card debt.  I’m not saying to drain your savings, because I think it is important to have money in case of a major emergency….BUT pay toward your debt.  We keep a certain amount in our savings account, and each month anything that we have over that amount we put toward our mortgage.

#7) DON’T ROB PETER TO PAY PAUL! Make sure you are not skipping one payment in order to pay extra on another.  Pay the minimum of all of your payments except one.  Pick the one that  either has the highest interest or the lowest balance.  Pay every extra penny you can towards it.  I really mean every penny.  If you can only pay $5 extra this month, PAY IT! Once you get one paid off then go to the next.

Like I said, it’s something that you have to work toward.  No one wants to be in debt but sometimes it happens, but you CAN get yourself out of it.  Imagine the feeling of being debt free, now go ahead and get started.

“Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another.”  Romans 13:8 NIV

 

How To: Remove Strong Odor From Your Microwave

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Have you ever heated something up, and couldn’t get rid of the smell in your microwave for days?  I have!  I made the mistake of heating up some leftover fish.  You can imagine what my microwave…and house…smelled like!

Here is the best way to get rid of those nasty smells in your microwave.

1. Wipe the top, sides, and bottom of your microwave with warm water and baking soda.  This absorbs any odor that may be attached to particles inside your microwave.

2. Rinse your cloth and wipe out again with plain warm water to rinse any baking soda residue left behind.  Just keep wiping out until all the baking soda is gone.

3.  Add 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 cup of water in a bowl (a cup will boil and overflow) and heat for 3-5 minutes.  Let it sit in the microwave for about 15 minutes before you take it out.  This will help eliminate any odors caught in the filter and vent system.

If the odor is really stubborn, repeat the steps again until it’s gone.

If you have some odor eliminating tips, share away!  I would love to hear them!

Wondering where to shop for back to school supplies?

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLCschool supplies

 

Each year I have my lists and fliers ready to price match the best prices, but I find MOST of the time that Walmart ends up on top with the best prices.

 

Here are some basic school supplies I priced with best prices and store:

 

  • Plastic 2 pocket folders,  $0.50 – Walmart
  • 1 subject notebooks, $0.25 – Walmart
  • 1″ binder, $1.94 – Walmart
  • Composition notebooks, $0.50 – Walmart
  • 100ct. index cards, $0.48 – Walmart
  • Ruler, $0.25 – Walmart
  • Pencils, 8 ct, $0.47 – Walmart
  • Colored Pencils 10 ct., $0.77 – Walmart (Crayola $0.97 Staples, but price match at Walmart)
  • Crayons (Crayola $0.50 – Walmart or $0.25 Cra-Z-art)
  • Calculator, $0.94 – Walmart
  • Erasers 3ct, $0.25 – Office Max (store brand) week of 7/13 only
  • Scissors, $0.25  – Office Max (store brand) week of 7/13 only
  • Glue sticks, $0.25 act  –  Office Max (store brand or Scholastic brand-week of 7/13) (Elmer’s $0.50 Walmart)
  • Bottle of glue (Elmer’s $0.50  –  Walmart, $0.25 Dollar General)
  • Highlighters, $7/1  – Walgreens (Wexford brand) week of 7/13 only

 

 

There are various deals and $1 sales at Office Max and Staples where you can score some awesome deals, but here is a good start to be able to gauge what prices are this year for school supplies.

 

Don’t feel like battling the back to school crowds?  Order online at Walmart.com, and ship FREE to store.  Pick up all your school supplies in just minutes!!  Price matching not available online.

 

 

Have something not on the list, just comment below and we’ll find the best price for you!!

 

 

(This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for details.)

 

Saving Money Buying Lettuce: A head or a bag?

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When you are buying lettuce, do you wonder which one is a better deal; a head of lettuce or the bagged stuff?

 

Let’s look at a few things to consider:

 

  • A head of lettuce seems to keep it’s flavor longer than the bagged varieties(especially those cabbage mix varieties!).  It’s also about half the price of bagged, including the leafy green varieties.   You just can’t beat fresh lettuce!
  • Bagged lettuce usually lasts longer if stored properly.  Most are washed and treated to lengthen their shelf life.  (You should still wash them)
  • You can usually get a variety of mixed greens in one bag, which is healthier than just a head of iceberg lettuce, and less expensive than purchasing heads of 4 different lettuces.

 

Ok, back to saving money…last longer or cheaper price?  It really depends on your lifestyle.  If you eat a salad everyday, you may want to opt for the cheaper, head version.  But, if you are not planning on feasting on greens everyday, you may want to opt for the longer lasting bagged option.  If you want a nice mixed variety, choose the bagged.

 

For us, we eat salad almost everyday, and have a large family so we opt for the heads of lettuce, but have used bagged when on it’s on sale.  I’ve even found bagged for $.25 per bag.  Yes, it was expiring within a few days, but you can’t beat that price!!

 

Tip: Store lettuce in a crisper in a sealed bag for a longer shelf life.  

Tip: If you are cutting lettuce to save for later, make sure to rip the lettuce and not cut with a knife.  It will last longer without turning brown.

Tip: Wash and store heads of lettuce with paper towels to absorb moisture to lengthen shelf life.  

6 Ways to save on auto insurance

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At one time we used Progressive for our car and home insurance.  Once we realized we were paying WAYYYYY too much, we decided to shop around for rates. Here are a few tips to save you on your car and house insurance.

1) SHOP AROUND.  We called my brother in law who is the Business director at Quinton Insurance, and he was able to get us a lower rate that an of the competing insurance companies.  Not only that, Quinton insurance shops around every year to ensure that you are getting the lowest rate possible.  They are essentially doing all of the work for you.  You can call them at 1-800-454-1970 for a free 30 second quote.

2) BUNDLE UP.  Most companies offer discounts if you bundle your car and home insurance with the same company.  We ended up saving $600 per year by switching over to Erie and bundling our car and home together with them.

3) CHECK YOUR DEDUCTIBLE.  It can save you hundreds of dollars each year by raising your deductible.  BUT….if you have a teenage driver (or a bad driver 😉 ) in your household, you might reconsider before you do this.  If you haven’t had accidents, consider opting to pay a higher deductible for a lower rate.

4) DEFENSIVE DRIVING.  Another perk of using Quinton insurance is that they offer an online defensive driving class that will lower your insurance premium!! This defensive driving class is good for 3 years, it guarantees to lower your premiums by 10%, will take 4 points off your license, there is no final exam, and its approved by NYS DMV.  The class is only $25 for people who are members of Quinton insurance.  Easy, and saves you money, who doesn’t like that?

5) DO YOU NEED ALL THE EXTRAS? We had a lot of extra stuff on our policy.  We were paying for roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, etc.  It saved us just to take those things off.  If you need them, keep them, but if you are looking to save money and you can do without them, them ask for them to be removed.

6) DRIVE SAFELY AND OBEY THE LAW. This is a given, but I suppose I still need to mention it.  The more tickets you receive, the higher you are going to pay for car insurance.  After 39 months, your tickets will be off your record for car insurance companies.  By the way, did you know that your tickets never really come off your record, but for the purpose of car insurance it is only counted against you for 39 months.

If you policy is not up yet, that doesn’t matter.  I switched over to Quinton Insurance and received a check back to reimburse me because my other insurance company was already paid for the year.  You can switch at any time and get your money back.  Quinton also offers you a free dunkin donuts giftcard when you call to get a quote 🙂

You can call 1-800-454-1970 ask for Nate, for a free quote. Or you can email Nate@quintoninsurance.com.  Or visit www.quintoninsurance.com  I bet everyone can save a little extra by following these tips!

Organize Your Purse!

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Organize Your Purse

 

I have to admit, after a long day of couponing and shopping with my kids, my purse can look like a bomb went off inside!  From receipts to tissues and wrappers, my purse is a landing place for all things!!  And I tend to get the biggest purse I can find to fit EVERYTHING inside I could possibly need!  Well, with the size of the “tote” I carry, I have to be organized or it will end up being an endless pit of stuff, the abyss, the land to nowhere…

 

I thought I’d share a few tips on how to organize your purse.

 

First, let’s talk about the purpose of your purse.  It really should be just to carry what you need while you’re on the go.  You should be able to access everything quickly.  Just like at home, everything should have a home, unless it’s only taking up temporary residence until it reaches it’s destination.  When buying a new handbag, remember to look for compartments, lots of compartments to hold all your goodies!

 

Ok, here we go….

 

1.  Completely empty out your purse (or suitcase).

 

 

2.  Throw away any garbage that has accumulated.  

Tip: Don’t let garbage in!  There are usually garbage cans within 20 feet of you at all times.  Throw away grocery lists and receipts you’ll never need at the door on the way out, and to-do lists when completed.

 

 

3.  Go through receipts and papers and file or toss.

Tip:  Use a small envelope or pouch to hold all receipts.  You can go through when you get home, but it will keep them organized in the mean time. 

 

 

4.  Gather all your change.  You can put it in a small change purse, in your wallet, or save at home.

Tip:  Leave change at home.  We have a big change bin where we collect all our change.  This can really add up, makes your purse lighter, and it saves time trying to find the perfect change at checkout.  

 

 

5.  Go through your wallet.  Shred any debit or credit cards that have expired or you no longer use.  Wallet must haves:

  • Identification
  • Health Insurance Card
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Important Medical Information
  • Roadside Assistance Card
  • Emergency Cash

 

Tip:  Make a copy of both sides of each card you will be keeping in your wallet.  (trust me…it’ll be worth it when your wallet is lost or stolen)  – you’ll have easy access to cancel cards, and will eliminate any loss of funds!!

Tip: Just remember, the less you keep in your purse, the less you have to carry and worry about replacing if stolen!

 

 

6.  Organize what’s left.

  • Use a wallet that makes it easy to access cards and cash.
  • Use a small cosmetic bag to hold makeup and accessories.
  • Use another small bag or side zipper to hold medications and/or first aid supplies
  • Keep cell phone in the same pocket each time (no need to dig to find that ringing phone!)
  • Same with keys and a pen and anything else!!  Easy access and keep it in the same spot each time.

Tip:  Use your smartphone for lists, memos, reminders, etc. so you don’t have a bunch of notes and lists floating around your purse.  If you don’t have a smartphone, use a small notebook or your planner to keep track of these things.  

Tip: Handbag Organizer is a great tool for keeping your items organized.  They are also super handy for switching from purse to purse.  Just pull it out and place in a different handbag.

 

7.  Test drive your purse.  Put it on your shoulder, and see if it’s too heavy.  If it is, you may need to leave something behind.  Trust me, you probably won’t miss it, and your shoulder will thank you for it!

 

 

 

Fun Fact:  These are a few of the things you’ll find in my tote!

(wallet, checkbook, keys, lip gloss, grocery list, coupons!, baby wipes(even though I don’t have kids in diapers!!), tweezers, nail clippers, band aids, chap stick, tissues, dental floss, hand sanitizer, fun things to keep my kids occupied, snacks,  a water bottle, a book, sunscreen, medicine, eye drops, gum, phone, and lotion)

 

 

Yes, that’s why I need a tote!!

 

 

5 Tips to Tame the Green Eyed Monster in Our Kids

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Green Eyed Monster??  Yes, those things our kids turn into when they see something they “just have to have!!”  It doesn’t help that commercials, our culture, social media, and peer pressure encourage our little ones to want more and more.  Our culture alone breeds materialistic desires in not only our children, but in us as well.

 

Here are some tips to help tame that greediness when you have to take your children shopping.

 

1. Plant and Sow a Heart of Gratefulness – teach your kids as you go about your day what it means to be grateful and how to have a heart of gratitude. Read scriptures and bible stories to them about being grateful. Read stories from third world countries about kids that have much less than they do. Open their eyes to the world around them. Even teaching them songs like, “Count your blessings, count them one by one,” can help them to think about what they already have. Teach them that God is provider of our needs.

 

2.  Set the Right Expectations – let them know before you enter the store that you will not be purchasing anything that is not on your list, any toys, candy, etc.  Just let them know that you are only buying things you need on that trip, and prepare them that they may see a game or toy they may want, but you won’t be buying it….and not to ask for it!!  If you do plan on giving them  treat at the end, remind them not to ask.  Go over the “rules of the store” before going in…. Setting clear expectations and reminding them EVERY TIME you go to the store is a huge help.

 

3.  Pray before you head into the store – having a right heart and praying before you go in can set the tone for your shopping trip.

 

4.  Give them a small list of items they can help find on your grocery list – I give my kids a list of items they are responsible for finding when they shop with me.  If your kids are not old enough to read, just print out a list of clip art pictures.  It does take a few extra minutes of planning, but it can be a huge help to keep little minds occupied while shopping.  My kids loved it, and I tried to spread it out over the isles so they stayed busy.

 

5.  Praise at the end – Don’t forget to praise them for a job well done at the end if they did well.  It’s important to give credit where credit is due.

 

 

 

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”    Hebrews 13:5