It’s not really fair that they get to run around the house turning everything on, is it? I’m sure you’re saying to yourself ‘They’re the ones using all of the energy. They don’t care one bit!’ And you’re probably on point; they probably don’t even know they’re causing a ruckus. Odds are you know one of these youngsters and they might even live in your home!
What can you do to get them to help keep some money in your pocket when the bill comes?
Here are a few ideas I’ve heard from local families on how to cut back as a family…
- First, make it fun. I know a few families who have an Energy Challenge. If you can reduce your energy consumption for 6 straight months (compared to the last year’s energy usage for that same month), then you take them to a theme park, take the kids to the state fair, or have a shaving cream fight in the back yard.
- Make it easy for them. Put everyone’s cell phone charger on power strip in the kitchen and during the day when you’re at school and work, turn the strip off. Do the same thing for the video game consoles and TV.
- Make it memorable. Take a photo of your open refrigerator right after you’ve gone to the grocery store and stocked it with the week’s food. Put the photo on the outside of the fridge so everyone knows what’s in there (or, what was at the beginning of the week).
- Don’t tell them! Check the water temperature of your ‘water heater’ (it’s not a hot water heater, that’d be redundant!). If your temperature is set too high, scale it back to 120F. You can cut your water heater costs by 6-10%.
- Last resort I’ve heard people do, pay the kids! Let’s say your highest bill the last year was $200. Each month you budget for $200, and when your actual bill is lower, the kids split it. Simple. If your highest bill was $218 in August of last year and your upcoming March bill is $122, you split the $96 by your two kids, each one takes home $48 and that’s their allowance for the week. I wish I had that growing up.
Another good help is the Dept. of Energy’s site. They have a great Lose your Excuse interactive web site and one for Energy Star Kids.