05 February 2014

Helping Kids Understand Electricity Isn't Free

Thanks to the summer heat wave we've just experienced and the increased use of air conditioners, coolers and fans, many households are facing a shock when they get their next electricity bill. But they'll be expecting it, they know they've used more power.

So what about the bill every month (or quarter)? How do you get the kids to understand that flicking a switch might be easy but it's also expensive? Power prices in Australia are constantly on the rise, hitting household budgets hard.

Nagging doesn't help. Having a regular conversation with the whole family about the cost of electricity and what you can all do together and individually to lower the cost is a start. Call a family meeting and show everyone the current electricity bill. Then show them the bill from the same period last year. If your children are very young showing them the cost in money (or something else they understand, perhaps lollies) might help them to better understand the cost.

Make a game of reducing costs. Have the whole family pull together as a team to lower the cost of power by 10% or 20% on the next bill. If the family meets that goal, give them a reward, perhaps a pizza party or some other one time fun event, with part of the savings. To keep them motivated put 20% of the current bill in a jar where they can see it often, on top of the fridge or even in the middle of the dining table, to act as a constant reminder of the need to save and the potential for a treat.

Then talk about ways to save electricity. Draw up a list and stick it on the fridge. It could be a list of things such as turning lights off, not using the air conditioner unless it's over 33 degrees, switching appliances off at the wall (just make sure they don't turn off the fridge or freezer), running appliances during off-peak hours, using non-powered appliances instead of powered (an egg beater instead of the mixer etc.), boiling the kettle once and filling the thermos for tea, making no bake treats instead of using the oven and so on.

Nagging doesn't work, but incentives and rewards combined with education and information probably will.

How do you get your kids to save on electricity? Post your comments below so we all can learn.


  1. Can be worth checking your older appliances. A friend saved $400 one quarter by turning off an old fridge in the garage. They said that they didn't really do anything else differently.

  2. I'm going to try using these tips on my (30 year old) boyfriend- he NEVER remembers to turn anything off!


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