My Kids And Their Bright Ideas

When I worked in the corporate world, I learned that people are always more engaged in a plan when they participate in the process of creating it.  We had a family brainstorming session about how we could save money for the farm we want to buy, and I was almost as proud of my kids as I was of my sales team that went way over quota which in turn sent me on a trip to Hawaii.

We were talking about how to get some pig pens instead of how to get to the palm trees, but my kids came up with some ideas I never though would come out of their precious little mouths.  Here are there suggestions:

  1. Buy things on sale.
  2. Don’t waste food.
  3. Be happy with what you have. {What?!}
  4. Line dry clothes.
  5. Make sure your clothes are dirty before you put them in the laundry.
  6. Play board games instead of video games. {Double what?!}
  7. Don’t go to the movies very often.
  8. Drive eco-friendly cars.
  9. Stop going out to eat.
  10. Make birthday cards instead of buying them.
  11. Don’t go on too many vacations.
  12. Get active instead of using the TV for entertainment.
  13. Turn off lights when you aren’t using them.
  14. Use a dimmer switch to get the right amount of light.
  15. Use energy efficient light bulbs.

Not one to miss a chance for a learning project, I took their ideas and put them on a large fold out display board.  I let them decorate with farm-y stickers and left a space in the middle to focus on one idea at a time.  Three of their money saving ideas had to do with lighting, so we started there.  I bought sheets of scrapbooking paper to record our observations and decisions, which can then be transferred to a “How We Bought The Farm” scrapbook. Wait; I need a better name than that.  I’m open to suggestions.

My husband wired up a light fixture and switch and outfitted the kids with an electric tester.  They’re a little young for the math to fully understand {Amps x Volts = Watts} and I just skipped lumens altogether {a measure of the visible light} but what they could understand was the difference between the energy used to power energy efficient light bulbs versus those that weren’t.

They worked together to test eight different light bulbs, and compared the actual wattage, the equivalency wattage of the energy efficient ones (for example, a bulb that puts out the equivalent of 100 watts, but uses only 75), and figured out which bulb was most efficient.

It was fun to test a real 100 watt bulb, then immediately do a 75 watt bulb with the equivalency of a 100 bulb and see it register on my kids that the light output was the same, but that it used less energy. Therefore cost less money to use. Therefore put us a step closer to the farm.

The kids decided correctly that the the CFL Spirals are the “Best Deal”.  Or the best bang for your buck. Or Lumen For Your Loonie! That would only makes sense to Canadians and those of us living in border states. Trust me, people all over Michigan, Alaska, and North Dakota are laughing hysterically right now at that.  Or maybe it’s just cold, and we really don’t have anything better to do.

The kids insisted we change all bulbs in the house over to CFL Spirals immediately.  We did switch out many, as they are the least expensive and most efficient light bulbs available, but we do have some visible light fixtures that we chose to use the Energy Smart LED lights, and some dimmer switches that we use the Energy Efficient Soft White Bulbs.

As kids tend to think of houses as costing either five hundred dollars or a million billion dollars, I broke down some of our livestock goals. Oh yes friends. I have livestock goals.  As it turns out, when we change all of the lighting in our house over to GE Energy Efficient Light Bulbs we will save enough for a pig with some left over for Pig Chow.

I used the GE Energy Savings Calculator to estimate my savings, but their calculations use a slightly lower kilowatt hour cost than we actually pay.

 Farm life, here we come!

Keep up with GE Lighting on Facebook and Twitter.  I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and GE Lighting #CBias #SocialFabric.  All opinions are my own.
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  1. I can’t wait for you to be able to say you bought the farm. You know, only if you actually end up living on a farm and not six feet under one…
    And how cool that a pig can be bought with a light bulb???? (Well, sort of. You know what I mean…)


  2. I love the farm animals! Too cute. Isn’t it amazing how something as simple as changing your lightbulbs can have such a HUGE impact?!


  3. What an awesome project! You have super smart, caring kids and a handy husband – what more can any woman ask for?? Seriously I think this is such a neat idea, I need to make a Pinterest board for “when they get older” and pin this for my daughter!


  4. Awww!! I totally enjoyed reading this! You are so blessed to have such smart and thoughtful kids! I love how you always brighten your posts with so many detailed pictutes (eg “my handy husband made this” :))! Thanks for sharing and inspiring the rest of us! I hope you are able to buy your farm soon :)!


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