Real Life Homeschooling: Coupon Math

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Coupon and Life

How do you teach practical math skills? Watch as real life and homeschooling intersect with coupon math!

As a frugal mom, I  try to stretch our money as much as possible, and I also want to teach my children how to use their money wisely. When Harris Teeter had Super Doubles going on one week we jumped on it!

I have found that I need to make sure I’m rested and coherent enough to teach my kids in the grocery store how to work the “system.” It’s best not to use grocery shopping as a teaching tool when I’m exhausted,  irritable or just “done” for the day.

When I first began homeschooling (and when the kids were younger) I would give them a coupon with a picture on it, head them in the right direction and see if they could find it. This can be an early reader because they are basically trying to match the picture to an item on a shelf.

(As an aside, my children never wandered the grocery store before age six or so, and even then, it was with explicit instructions and teaching on how to handle strangers. This is an excellent at home teaching opportunity to educate your child about safety. My kids also had to stand by the product they found until I came and got them . (I was never more than an aisle away when they were younger.)

As they learn to read they can try and find the product by aisle headings and groupings on the shelves. As their reading improves I teach them to read the fine print on the coupon: size, exact product match and quantity needed for purchase.

When my kids are teenagers we go with the intent on finding good bargains. They have to figure out with their coupon (or super doubled or triple doubled coupon) if the item is on sale and what it would cost after the coupon is applied. They still wait in the aisle for by their product (usually hoping I’ll buy it because it’s generally something I wouldn’t normally purchase!) All of this is mental math,  done without any calculator or paper.

Last week we went late morning to HT and it wasn’t too packed (which makes it easier to use the time as a teaching tool). When a grocery runs a special coupon week like this they tend to run out of products quickly. If you can find out when a truck is coming (usually every other day) then you have a better chance of finding the stock to match the coupons. Getting a rain check won’t help because by the time the product is in the super double coupons have expired. If it means shopping two or three times during the week, do it if the savings is worth the time investment.

Learned something new this week as well. The register coupons you receive after paying for your groceries specifically say “no doubling.” I always thought HT doubled anyway, but I was wrong. They will double the manufacturer coupon but not their own register coupons. I would have passed on some of the items if I had known. Lesson learned for mama.
One of my kids’ favorite parts is guessing how much all the groceries will total. We love viewing the total then watching the cashier press the key that starts taking off all the discounts. It’s suh-weet.
On this shopping trip I spent $58.74 and saved $62.60. This included: 2 bags doritoes, 2 chocolate syrups, 1 greek yogurt, 1 nonfat yogurt,  heat and eat dip, 2 guacamole dips, 2 grands biscuits, 6 muffin mixes, 4 pak margarine quarters, box nonfat dry milk (this was a big expense rarely incurred, about $7), 2 frosted Cheerios, 3 orange Crush, 3 six-pack ramen noodles, 1 smart balance, 3 boxes poptarts, bananas, cream cheese, 8 oz cabot cheese, pepperoni, peanut butter chips, 5 cran raisins, and 2 shredded cheese. Not bad.
Do you know how to create your own unit study?
Can you discern the truth behind homeschooling?
Would you like to know more about a day in the life of a homeschooler?
How about the lessons learned in a corn maze?   
Or how do you know if you’re a mean mom or not?
Linking with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, A Mama’s Story, Cornerstone Confessions, Growing Home, Far Above Rubies, Thankful Homemaker, 3 Boys and a Dog, Living Life Intentionally, ABC and 123, Hip Homeschool Moms

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  1. Pingback: Real Life Math Practice - A Woman After God's Own Heart
  2. I am sending this out in my next news letter. Teaching children through play and real life experiences is the most effective way to teach, because it teaches to both left and right brain.

    1. Thank you for featuring my post! I try to link up every week. I enjoy meeting homeschoolers and sharing stories and ideas. Thanks for hosting each week!

  3. What a wonderful real life math activity!!

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! I so look forward to seeing everyone’s creativity. I hope you link up again tomorrow =-)

  4. I’m sure glad I’m not the only homeschool mom who counts coupon shopping at school. In fact, we just went yesterday. I only had so much money to spend ($14) We sat and made the list, added it, figured the sales tax and subtracted the coupons.
    Oops, got to the store and they didn’t have one item do we had to do some refiguring and decided on the store brand, which was cheaper than the name brand even with the coupon and sale.
    We spent $13.73 and saved $22.25 with coupons. We got quite the variety of foods too so I am pleased.
    I love that she is learning to make due with what you have—-use your resources wisely—-do the math to figure—-and more.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Marsha! There is so much more to school than textbooks, as you obviously know. Homeschooling is a blessing with its individuality and uniqueness to each family. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Awesome savings! It’s always valuable to teach kids to manage money! We do that a lot here…thinking about purchases, searching for the best price (if we decide it is truly NEEDED), saving, etc. But I do find that coupons haven’t been helping us much this year. We have changed to a diet of very few pre-packaged items.

    1. I actually got an extremely ugly comment about all the processed foods in the pic! What I didn’t say is that I rarely buy this stuff. I only did because it was either free or a great price as a treat for the kids. I agree with you about coupons. It is harder because the price of everything in general has gone up, but I find stores aren’t catering to them as much. Thanks for the comment!

  6. How lovely that you are able to homeschool your children! It is such a blessing for them, the schools are not conducive to a peaceful educational experience these days. It is wonderful that you are teaching them in ways that actually relate to real life. Plus you are great at saving money, and the kids are learning the value of a dollar.
    BTW, you have beautiful children! Love those sweet smiles!

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comments. Homeschooling is definitely a way of life for us, and I believe my kids are blessed by the opportunity to learn at their own pace while preparing for life. I appreciate your stopping by!