Budgeting Tips for Families
Brainstorming with the whole family on how to get your Utility bills down is the way forward. We tend not to involve our children or teenagers in the ever increasing cost of Water, Electric and Gas do we? I decided that It was time to make a game out of this huge problem and discuss ways of saving on the utility bills with my family.
The meaning of 'Brainstorming', if the term is not familiar with you or yours
Unless you have worked in a business or office environment you may not be familiar with the word Brainstorming.
Brainstorming is when a group of people whether it be adults or children or both get together and discuss a particular issue and come up with as many ideas as they can. Brainstorming can be used for all kinds of things, another example could be where to go on holiday if we make enough savings on our utility bills!
This video will help you prepare for your brainstorming session with the family
Make it fun to encourage the family to think about how you could save on the Water, Gas and Electric
By making it into a fun game the family become more interested in giving you there ideas, and by discussing the ideas and praising the suggestions savings can be made and believe it or not interaction begins and hysterical laughter and some of the ideas!
Getting the family to think about the same thing and concentrate on what the outcome is supposed to be can be somewhat of a challenge, however that said I managed to get some extremely good ideas out of them by making it into a game.
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As the old saying goes 'One Mans Junk is Another Man's Treasure! We all have ideas about making money but we need to share those ideas to help those who may not have thought of them.
The Game called 'Brainstorming the Utility Bills In Our Family
So what I did was I asked the family if they could spare me sometime for a little family meeting which could be of benefit to them in the long run if they would just give up a little time for this meeting.
I didn't mention to them what the meeting was going to be about! ok, maybe I should have done but I didn't think that they would be 100% on board with the subject of Utility bills if I had of done.
Intrigue then set in for the whole family, I also had asked them to promise me that they would not groan or moan if when the game began it was not what they were expecting. Yes, a little bit devious I know but they did all agree and I knew that I was on to a winner!
What you will need in front of you to intrigue the family
All you will need to excite them is to have in front of you when they walk into the room, preferably on a large table with enough chairs for the whole family to sit around is a huge white board or 8 pieces of A4 blank white paper and 3 marker pens,
Added to this 3 packs of sweets, try to pick their favorites, because when they see the sweets that is when the fun begins!
The whiteboard and marker pens get them talking about 'whats Mum up to, but the sweets, they all want to win the sweets!
What you need information is found in this video
Are They Sitting Comfortably, Let The Game Begin!
So you have managed to take control of the family, calm them down and are ready to explain the game.
Once you have explained that the idea is to try to get the Utility Bills down you then have to, before they kick off say there is a bag of sweets for the best idea for each of the savings that could be made on Gas, Electric and Water for the the winner! (I must admit I did actually ensure that I had a bag of sweets for all of them for participating).
What To Put On The White Board
Explain to the family whilst you are marking up the white board or paper. The idea is to keep talking. Tell them that you need there help and suggestions on how to save on the Water, Gas and Electric and say that you have run out of ideas as to what more you can do! Make it sound as if you really, really need their help! (They will think that it's a game and that mum should no the answers!)
Make three columns, one for each and then let the game commence. Once you have explained the family will all be suggesting ideas at once and you need to be able to put them on the board as quickly as possible, they all will start discussing the subjects as a team and the brainstorming has began!
Your Whiteboard or Paper Could Look Something Like This
Don't turn the tap on when you are cleaning your teeth, turn it on to rinse your mouth only
If your not in the room turn the light off
Use a timer to turn the gas boiler on at certain times for certain periods of the day to warm the house, don't leave it on all day
Use a bowl in the sink when washing up,
Use energy saving bulbs in rooms and lamps
Make sure if on gas meter you always have £5 on a Tuesday eve or you will get charged and go into arrears
Share baths (some of the family were not so keen on this idea!)
When boiling the kettle use only the amount of water you need
Once vegetable's have come to the boil, turn gas off, vegetable will cook in the boiling hot water
Have a shower, not a bath
Use timer's to switch on lamps instead of leaving them on
Use a halogen oven when doing casseroles instead of using the gas hob
The Real Fun Begins When the Obvious Has Been Thought Of and You Now Want the Not So Obvious Ideas
There are many ideas that we can use for saving on our utility bills but it is the not so obvious ideas that we are looking for as a family.
Getting the family to think about these becomes a little more difficult! It's time to bring out the sweets, rattle the bags and suggest to them one idea from each of you in each category and you win a bag of sweets!
Your Know When They Have Had Enough
How will you know? Well let's put it this way, they all start arguing together about who thought of the best idea and this will continue until you step in and make the decision as to who has actually thought of the best idea!
Now a word of warning, I would make sure that you go through all of your answers and praise each and every one of them, tell whichever member of the family you are speaking to at a time how clever they are and make a really big thing out of the way forward we intend to go as a family.
Explain to them that this worked and you want them all to take on board each other's suggestions and if they do this then maybe, just maybe there could be some savings to be made and possibly those saving's could go on something far more rewarding than the Utility Bills!
Who is going to put the kettle on! All that thinking has made me.... thirsty!!
Do You Think Your Family Would Brainstorm to Save on Your Utility Bills?
What category do you think your family would make the most savings in if they were to brainstorm with you?
Share out the sweets equally!
Ask them all if they would be prepared to do the same thing again sometime! If the answer is yes then you really could be onto a winner when it comes to brainstorming!
© 2014 Trudy Cooper