Most kids have no idea how much groceries cost. They also have no idea how much food — and, therefore, how much money — is wasted each week (40%?!).
To help your kids appreciate everyday expenses, reduce unnecessary waste, and save money, try conducting this simple family food audit exercise together. Karen Cordaway calls it the Receipt Reference Technique.
Here’s how it works:
- Post the latest grocery receipt. The next time you return from the grocery store, pin your receipt on the fridge door.
- Check off consumed items. At the end of each day, help the kids go through and place a check mark next to the items on the receipt that were fully consumed.
- Track discarded value. Whenever an item is thrown out, help the kids write down the value of the amount wasted next to its entry on the receipt. Tossed the whole item? List the full price paid. 30% wasted? List 30% of the price. Very rough estimates will do.
- Tally up the damage. Before the next big grocery outing, sit down with the kids and total up the numbers. Eye opening, isn’t it?
Talk about what was wasted and why. Talk about the opportunity cost: “Hey, we could have gone to a movie with that money!” Talk about changes you can make to your shopping habits to waste less, and save more.
Then, make sure to take your kids with you on the next grocery store visit. I bet your newly deputized food auditors will keep you in line.
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