Do your kids leave lights on all the time? How about that dear husband? Do you find yourself constantly reminding everyone to shut off lights or feel like the electricity police?? I actually found a way to get everyone involved in saving energy by turning everything off when they leave a room....and my investment was less than $10! I have shaved well over that amount off my electric bill, and I've also taught my family to think about the energy they are wasting. Want to know how I did it? Read on....
At the start of September, I went to the bank and purchased a $10 roll of quarters. I then took 5 paper cups and labeled each with the initial of one member of the family - one cup for each of us. I then divided up the quarters into the cups - 8 for each person. A family meeting was called to explain the quarters, and the related game we were going to play. Everyone was informed that they had a chance to make some money in the coming month - this got their attention very quickly, especially when I detailed that the earnings potential could be as high as $10. Here's how it worked: everyone was to be on the lookout for lights and televisions that were still "on" when nobody was in the room. If you found this situation, you were to turn off the offending item, and immediately go to the offending person and inform them of the oversight. Then, for the corrective measure, you got to move a quarter from THEIR cup to YOUR cup. If brother left on the television and light in his room and went downstairs to play, and youngest sister saw this, she could turn off both items, inform her brother, and collect 50 cents.
This was an immediate hit with the kids. Dad took a little longer to come around, but he's finally learned a bit. Every day saw quarters moving from one cup to another and the competition grew - all three kids wanted to collect ALL the quarters! They were running around the house constantly turning off lights. We ended up having to set boundaries - you could leave the light on if you were to be gone 5 minutes or less. This prevented the "but I just had to go to the bathroom!" situation.
After the first month, the girls had quite a few quarters, and their brother had less than the 8 he was given to start. The girls reveled in this and were very excited to receive their cash-out at the end of the month. I put the quarters from mine and DH's cups back into the kitty and supplemented back to $10 and we started again. The second month, not nearly as many quarters moved, and we haven't even had to do it this month. They are turning off lights and being very consciencious about electricity. It's amazing how well this worked! They still catch each other every now and then just for fun. If they start slacking, we'll just start the quarters again.
This little electricity-saving game *definitely* works for me! Let me know if you give it a try - or how you make improvements to the system. I'm always open to great new ideas!! If you're looking for more great tips, visit Rocks in my Dryer!