How to Teach Your Children to Save Energy and Cut Bills Drastically
In the past I have written articles on how to winterize you home, how to save money on your electric bill and how to save money doing this.
One of the top ways I know to conserve energy if you have children is to teach them to respect and appreciate what they have, teaching the importance of saving money and conserving energy.
This is valuable to their future, even though they might not be aware of it at this time in their lives.
So the lesson plan is as follows:
BOUGHT SENSE IS BETTER THAN TAUGHT SENSE!
You constantly "teach" and have "taught" your kids the right way to do things. You tell them:
- Turn off your light
- Quit staring into the fridge
- Close the door
- Why is your TV on when no-one is watching it
And the nagging, rather "teaching" continues.
This does not work.
Here are some sure fire ways to cut your electric bill and really teach your kids!
- Give them an allowance for doing their chores, this enables them to have money and understand that you have to work for it.
- Post a chart on the fridge showing their chores and mark off only when done and done correctly.
- If they do not do a good job they do not get paid...no second chances for that day.
- At the end of the week, go over their chore list and pay them for what they have done and explain why they did not get the full amount.
- And then deductions come along.....
Now because your kids have money they can start to learn the value of it. They worked hard to earn it, wouldn't it be awful if they had to pay it back?
- If your kids leave the lights on in their rooms they are charged for it...each time. I charged my nephews .25 cents each time they left their light on and were not in their rooms. At first they thought oh well, that is until payday (allowance) came.
- Put your grocery list on the outside of the fridge, this avoids the standing and looking method kids use to see what they want to eat.
- If they are caught standing with the fridge door open just looking I would charge them (not immediately you have to be reasonable) but again it was .25 cents.
- If they left the TV on and left the room and did not come back right away, I charged them.
- They each had their own laundry day, if they did not take care of their laundry by a certain hour they did not get to do laundry again until their day and if they did do their laundry but left it in the dryer for someone else to take care of. ..they were charged .25 cents for the service of carrying to their room.
- On payday they are paid first and then have to pay out their bills used.
Lights will stay off, they will go outside to play or immediately turn off the TV...etc.
You see where this is going?
Now, because I had 3 nephews living with me, grocery bills started to become a problem, I remedied that right away.
- We went grocery shopping every 2 weeks
- The boys were given $8.00 to buy their own goodies and snacks with.
- What they bought with their $8.00 was up to them totally.
- What they bought had to last them the full 2 weeks or too bad
- I gave them each their own locking cupboard (as yes they will steal from each other)
- They had full reign to their cupboard anytime they wanted, but when they were out they were out, no asking for a handout from anyone else's goodie cupboard.
At first the boys thought wow ...I get this and that and they pigged out, within a few days they were out and I kept it that way. They learned really quickly to appreciate what they had and to make it last.
They also caught on to "how to shop" by looking for bargains and yes cutting coupons. In fact sometime they would see a special (buy one get one free) and ask for an advance. I did not allow advances ...so they quickly learned not to spend the full $8.00 but to save some just in case!
"During all of this any extra electricity was being paid for by them and it quickly saved on the energy bill as the electricity stayed off."
I would constantly find that they way they "cleaned their room" was to put everything in the laundry basket. Wrong, they were not allowed to do this, I know what they were wearing and would immediately spot an over full laundry basket. Stop them right there and pick out the clothes they just put in so they didn't have to clean. If you do not appreciate these clothes then you just lost them.
Cost to get them back .025 cents.
If they left stuff lying all around the house...I taught them to clean this way:
- If they left their shoes, skateboards, skates, whatever lying out where someone would or could trip on them, I threw them out the door!
- If I went into their room and their dresser drawers were a complete mess I would take all the clothes out of the drawers and make a pile on the floor and tell them to re-organize and appreciate what they have, they had 20 minutes to do this, any article left or not being taken care of was put in the "buy back" pile.
Now this may seem a little rough, but it works, within less than 2 months, they kids not only kept their full allowance, they also asked for bank accounts to save some, they learned how to shop really well and they learned the importance of saving electricity. Plus they kept themselves much better groomed and valued the clothes and shoes and fun things they owned.
Another thing I did...When the boys came home from school they had until a certain hour to play, then they all helped cook or your didn't eat. No maid service. Setting the table, washing dishes etc all fall under helping to cook. After dinner came homework and chores and there was no TV allowed on during the week until 8.00 PM and by 10:00 PM it was to be off. Big saving, plus the kids got outside and did other things besides being glued to the TV. The more they are outside the less likely it costs you on your energy bill as nothing is being used. Kids learn quick, if you make them.
What I can tell you, my electric bill went down about $25.00 every month just from the kids turning off things.
We as adults know the value because we have to pay for it. Merely showing your kid the bill does nothing, it is just numbers on paper. And I believe they should not have to worry about that. However they should help out.
When your kids have to start doling out their own hard earned money...The savings come back to you in full for what you pay them for allowance. They learn and appreciate and your family life is better for it.