Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Encouraging Children to Save Your Money! Electrifying Results

I have seen several articles on teaching children to be financially fit from Dave Ramsey followers to industrious mothers instilling life lessons.  This post will not be a guide to create little Suze Ormans.  Today's post will be a simple idea to encourage your children to be conscious of the electric bill.

This new series will be a compilation of some ideas to help your children get aboard your money saving program.  As parents, we budget and sacrifice our wants and desires for the family.  It's only fair that children realize that everyone in a family needs to work together for a common purpose. 

First things first. 

My children aren't always willing participants when it comes to sticking to a budget.  They balk and sometimes try to sell me a sob story so I buy their argument.  However, most of the time they understand and help curb their gimmes and wastefulness. 

I am thankful that recycling is now considered cool and reusing an item is acceptable.  I rely on that argument several times a day.  In a weird way, I owe Al Gore a big thank you hug.

There are wonderful resources available that have even more great ideas.  Please feel free to suggest your ideas or sites in the comment section.  I know I am always looking for feasible ideas that will help the boys bypass a few of our mistakes.

Here is one idea we incorporated in our family life to promote savings and budgeting: 

Electrifying Results! 

Our electric bill last winter was a nightmare.  I literally dreaded opening up that envelope and the 15th of the month was filled with anxiety.  We devised a plan to help the boys get excited about reducing the amount of electricity our family consumed.  Basically, we bribed them with cold hard cash. 

IF the boys keep the electric bill under $150, the children split the cash difference among the three of them.

It was a simple idea and I am not sure where I encountered this concept.  My husband and I decided that $150 was an acceptable electric bill amount to budget for.  The children were then given the task of keeping their lights, game systems, chargers, and computers off when they weren't using them.   We might not meet our goal every month, but the boys LOVE when we receive a bill for $114.  They get to split the surplus $36 between them.  I LOVE it because I am not always harping on them to turn off the lights or unplug their chargers.

It sounds funny to pay the boys to save, but when they are on board with our budget we don't get blindsided by surprise $500 electricity bills.  Paying my boys a few dollars a month motivates them to save and helps my bottom line.  I would rather keep our money in the family than give it to the fat cat's at the electric company.  This method pays them for their efforts.

Do you have any great ideas for encouraging your children to help the family's electricity budget?

For more money saving ideas I have a few posts in the Saving Money and Living Simple sections above.  Feel free to look around.  I have more ideas for saving the green on your next electric bill posted here:  Peak and Off Peak Hours.