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Saving Money is one hard task. There are lots of things to be considered, primarily on how to budget your cash on hand that would somehow, if not manage to have excess left money, be exact of what it should be used for. Budgeting is really a pain in the neck. Now try picturing this same concept and teaching it to your autistic child(in our case, he is a teenager) and making sure he/she practices this most days. As a parent of an autistic child, you have to consider all of the utility bills that your autistic son/daughter will have to be responsbilbe for as an adult.

The allocation of electric bills, water bills, phone bills, etc. are just few of the many things that I consider when teaching him how to utilize his cash wisely. Food is no exception. Being the most important of all house responsibilities, prioritizing how to budget your money, reducing the money spent without sacrificing the food allocation. It is important to teach the necessity of buying only things that you need vs. buying the things we want(We are all guilty of that;-). So it would be a great idea to write down the things you already have and/or if there is a shortage . If so, you could trim down your list or think of a better replacement. To furthermore avoid shopping shortages, here are those tips to teach your autistic child/adult these important tips.

  1. List goods that should always be found in the kitchen. Examples of which are coffee, milk, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, onion, garlic. These goods are necessary, so they are always being bought. Now have your autistic son/daughter look for coupons for these items and even if you both are not able to find any coupons look for store sales. The math concepts are the prices of these items, how much the coupons discount these items, and then the final cost. The more you do this with them, then the better their understanding of how coupons work as well as the math concepts of addition, subtraction, etc. I have taken it a step further by purchasing workbooks on Amazon about functional math skills in the everyday life setting.

2. Teaching autistic individuals the concept of math comes in many forms, even in the form of being practical in the groceries you purchase as well. Buying goods that have a dual purpose. For example with mayonnaise, you can use it as a sandwich spread or make macaroni salad instead. Modeling this for your child shows life skills and that they can enjoy eating both without spending a ton of money on separate items.

3. Buying less expensive cuts of meat. Make it a point to list recipes that the meat cuts don’t matter, so that as your autistic son/daughter ages, they have a reference to look at or even take a picture. So that they have a reference and can buy smarter in the big scheme of things.

4. If possible, try and model to always pay in cash(if a small quantity of groceries) and by debit card if the grocery cart is full(large quantity of groceries). A visual representation of this would look like a small basket vs a grocery shopping cart. So that they are able to see what this “looks like” in a grocery story location. Again, this is part of the math concept of visualization/memorization as well.

5. Keep a list of prices of groceries you always buy( I use Flipp because of the visuals). At least, with those products you’re sure of how much you’ll be spending and if you sway from that list that’s okay.

Since the pandemic has hit, we do a bit of everything from Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, Grocery Pick up and occasionally go in for a fresh meat/dairy run to the store because these are staples in our household. But we have learned to minimize overspending by shopping only when needed. This also gives us the opportunity to model these math life skills to our autistic son. PRICELESS!