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Family Challenge

Last month we were discussing the cost of living with the girls, over dinner. Miss e is at the age where she is only beginning to understand that having access to the internet for example costs money. She was intrigued to learn about all the costs involved in living in a house, that she had taken for granted.

I explained to her that, for example, the gas bill had arrived that day and how much it cost. I took out some previous bills and showed her the graph on the bill which shows your usage. We talked about the fact that the next bill will be the most expensive for the year as our hot water and heating is all gas.

It was a very interesting discussion and the girls were also keen to learn that since having the pool installed last year, our electricity bill had crept up by an average of 2 units per day (to 20 units) and this was because of the filter.  We discussed real ways to all assist in keeping our use of gas and electricity usage down and came up with a family challenge. I showed them last week how to read the gas and electricity meters and we calculated how much the meters should increase each week if we were to achieve our “family goals” for the next bill cycle. We decided to read both meters weekly and see if we are on track.

Of course there is an incentive. We calculated how much money would be saved on each bill if we were to reach our goals and came up with a monetary incentive for the girls. So, they receive a monetary amount for every unit of gas and electricity these upcoming bills  are LESS than the same billing cycle last year.

I am seeing the changes already. Shorter showers, reminding each other to switch off lights, we discuss the need for the gas heater at night and all wear our dressing gowns and slippers and even cuddle up with blankets on the sofa. We try to remember to turn off the gas heater an hour or so before going to bed as we realised that the room stays warm for quite a while after it is turned off.

We are pretty concious as a family about the impact of using these resources, and have decided that as a family we would rather treat ourselves with the money saved, than to see it go on bills. I will keep you posted on our efforts.

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2 Responses

  1. Well done! Sapphire, too, is becoming more aware of what it costs for us and installed a 4 minute shower timer in our bathroom. I think, too, that it helped her ‘get over’ the homesickness she sometimes felt for our Adelaide house (900m land), because we’re now on only 220m in Melbourne, so every item is used far more wisely.
    Good luck!

  2. Hello there,
    We’ve installed a solar hot water ststem and have booked in our solar power system; which we will pump electricity back into the grid. All in all a cost of $3000 after rebates. It is such a worthwhile thing to do; it actually generates an income. We only use rainwater and use a 120kg bottle of gas per year (stove). We are growing a large quantity of our own food and re use our grey water too. It has taken 10 years to achieve and a lifetime more no doubt to improve, but our planet and effectively our children need all the help we can give. Good luck with the challenge; however it is the awareness I am most proud of. x

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