Day 22: If you give a kid a cart, she’ll want some money to go with it

Monday evening my husband and I used our $25 Winger’s gift card for a meal out. (I told that story at the end of this post) Winger’s happened to be having a deal where you can get 2 entrees and a dessert for $20, so that made for an affordable date for us– very nice! We brought the 3 year old along because we can’t stand to be child-free we’re afraid she’ll wander off when the teenagers aren’t looking it makes the child care easier for our teenagers. Afterwards we weren’t quite ready to head home, and I suggested to my hubby ever-so-casually that we just wander through Target for awhile. he raised his eyebrows at me. “You’re kidding. You know you can’t go into Target without buying anything.”

I gave him a weak smile. “Well, maybe I could…..”

“Hah. How about we go through Petco?”

“But that’s boring,” I whined.

“Exactly, ” he said sternly. “But your daughter will love it.”

Good thing my hubby’s cute, because I felt like a petulant child at that moment. But I knew darned well we didn’t need a thing at Target. I sighed and we took our daughter to Petco.

Just inside the door of Petco in the cart rack, she immediately spotted a child-sized shopping cart. She pulled it enthusiastically out of the rack, and was off! Within seconds she was stopped, examining a bunch of squeaky doggie toys.

“Can I get this, Mommy?” she asked.

“No, we don’t need that, ” I said. This conversation was repeated at least 10 times in the next 10 minutes. Finally my daughter sighed and said, “Mommy, can you just give me some money?”

Apparently if you give a kid a cart, she’ll expect to have some money to go with it.

That made me wonder how much I’d save on my ‘small’ shopping trips if at the door of the store I just grabbed a basket instead of a whole cart…..

Meals on Monday
Breakfast: Pancakes with homemade syrup and apples
Lunch: Fresh trout from our camping trip, fried rice jazzed up with a bit of leftover sausage and potatoes from Sunday’s breakfast, plus apples and cookies for dessert
Dinner: Hot dogs with all the fixings, plus grapes

Today we ran out of regular sugar again, and I am wondering how soon we should go to the store. We still have powdered….we need other things too, but nothing feels pressingly urgent. One more week until this challenge is done. I still have $32 from my original $200 to spend!


  1. Hi Mary–that is a GREAT idea. We started doing the small basket thing at the grocery store for our smaller trips and it saved big $$. But to do it at Target…oh me oh my…

  2. Funny! I have that conversation with my children often as well. I’m cheering for you on your journey. One week and $32.00 probably feels much bigger than it is – hang in there and you’re hubby’s probably right about Target – I feel your pain!

  3. I have to say I always get a good chuckle from many of your posts. You have such away with words. I feel as if I am there with your family when I read your posts. Ordinary life really can be quite that easy can’t it?

  4. With as many animals as we have, we end up spending more money at Petco than we do at Target. My kids love the tiny shopping carts too.

  5. What a great story….just goes to show you that the desire to spend money starts early.

  6. Dear Owlhaven – I’ve got a question for you. I’ve been intrigued by your 30-days-of-nothing challenge and have been following it since Day 5. I do plan on doing one of these with my family in the future. Here’s my question: What is your plan for October? What I mean is this, it sounds like a lot of the non-grocery spending in Sept is due to using up what you’ve got in your fridge/pantry. So whilst you can get by until the end of this month without buying much more, come Oct 1 you’ll have a massive grocery list of staple items and most likely you’ll spend heaps more than you normally would?

    We just moved from Australia to the US and couldn’t bring an ounce of food with us. I spent the last 6 weeks we were in Aus making world’s strangest meals as I was trying to use up everything in the cupboard. Then when we got to the States I had to spend a HUGE amount of money each week for about 4-6 weeks just stocking the pantry with staples.

    I’d love to get your thoughts on this.

  7. I LOVE this post!! My sweet dd always feels as if she needs $$ when we go out anywhere. Oh and my tip for saving money when shopping in Target (or Petco or Walmart…) I don’t get either a cart or a basket. If I can’t carry it I don’t need it… I probably look a bit funny with my arms stocked full of items, teetering precariously with all my little ones running around me, but it has saved us more money that you could imagine… and it’s good exercise too!! 😉