This post was featured at Money Saving Mom. As a result of it I was interviewed for a newspaper in Chicago. First posted December 17, 2010.
Our electric bill is, to me, very high. It usually runs around $220 per month (yeah, I know. Big house with AC running all year round.)
I've been talking to the kids about saving money on the electric bill, as well as using less electricity in an effort to do better for the environment and not be wasteful.
We turn the downstairs AC off at night and keep both set near 78' during the day. We've begun unplugging everything that isn't in use. And I harp on the kids to turn lights off, do less laundry, take shorter showers, etc.
One day a few months ago I presented them with a challenge, one with a wonderful carrot at the end of the stick. If the electric bill arrives and it's below $190 they can have the difference for junk food or candy or ice cream - stuff I don't and won't buy, so it'd really be a special treat.
Going into it I knew that getting it below $190 wouldn't be easy, and might not be practical at all. But they agreed and worked hard to keep lights off and unplug things.
And then the most recent electric bill arrived.
That gave them $38 to work with. $38 for junk food! Honestly, I knew I'd had the AC off most of the month but really didn't see this coming at all. But a deal's a deal.
They discussed and decided on an ice cream party, with whatever money they had left going towards Chinese take-out.
They chose their own groceries, opting for generic and less expensive choices to stretch their not-at-all-meager dollars further. Root beer, ice cream, cherry pie, toppings, whipped cream, chips ... total of $33!
And they loved every bite. And there are a lot of leftovers, saved for another night.
Congrats kids! You did a great job.