October 19, 2012

Change Your Lightbulbs and Save for College!

Saving for college...just writing those words elicits a big old sigh from me.  In my observations there seem to be two schools of thought on this:

1) Ignore it and pray it goes away/ your child gets some massive scholarship
2) Look that ever ballooning cost in the face and start hacking away at it.

I can still remember getting hysterical about saving for college when Kayla was about 7 months old.  My husband who is a pretty financially conservative guy didn't seem to think we had to be saving so soon and I thoroughly disagreed.

Kayla was born in early 2009 and the world was a very scary place financially speaking.  I knew that even if we weren't saving hundreds of dollars a month that getting in the habit of saving for college was important.  I also assumed that as soon as we saw the savings growing and starting to feel significant it would motivate us to save even more.  For once I'm happy to say that I was right and I'm glad we opted for choice #2.

I think the most common reason that people go the #1 route is that saving for college can feel like an impossible task.  You hear this HUGE number that you will need to save and it's a turnoff.  Trust me, I've been there!  But recently I was called upon to look into energy savings for Champions For Kids  and flex my crafty #GluenGlitter muscles with a creative project.

#GluenGlitter GE Energy Savings from GE Facebook

I decided to create something that showed just how simple it is to save by doing something you would probably never connect with college savings - changing lightbulbs!  This is one of those moments where you realize that small changes really can add up to big things - similar to the Champions For Kids premise that taking small actions as an individual can create a huge impact for children when combined with the work of others.

I counted light bulbs throughout our home and was astonished to find that we have 59 lightbulbs!  I thank the previous owners for some of their lovely selections in light fixtures which I have yet to replace.

#GluenGlitter checking out my light bulbs at home

I did some calculations through a tool on the GE Facebook page which featured The Lorax and I was able to calculate that if we switched our lightbulbs to more energy efficient ones we would save around $393.15 annually!  Obviously my husband and I will be having another savings conversation.

#GluenGlitter simple savings calculator to show energy savings for college savings

I then took that number, divided it out into a monthly savings of $32.76 and added up what it would be worth if we had taken just that energy savings, put it in an account for Kayla when she was born and let it grow at 7% a year which is less than the annual growth we have experienced so far in her college savings account.

I was beyond shocked to learn that my savings from swapping out lightbulbs could easily add up to $13,792.66 over the 18 years before college without adding any additional savings!!  Makes you think twice about those light bulbs, huh?  With my new exciting info in hand I headed off to Walmart to shop for some supplies to make my project which was designed to show my "visual learner" of a husband just how much more we could save.
#GluenGlitter Elmer's Glitter Glue and Craft Bond Products at Walmart

I was also going to give us a jump start on change by buying some more energy efficient GE lightbulbs and some school supplies to donate to Kayla's school because that's part of what I love about Champions for Kids, they remind you to keep on giving through small SIMPLE Service Projects that anyone can do.

I spent a lot of time in the craft section and saw some neat products I didn't know existed like the Elmer's Craft Bond glue dots, some snazzy Designer Series X-Acto knives with comfy grips on them and these sparkly bottles of Elmer's Glitter Glue that Kayla would go nuts over.
Elmer's  Craft Bond products at Walmart and X-Acto

I also checked out a bunch of different energy efficient lightbulbs including the GE Energy Smart ones.  Can you believe that one 50/100/150 watt bulb can save $66 in energy costs over it's lifetime? You can take a look at my entire shop if you like.

Back at home I got to work crafting my savings display.  I used an Elmer's Tri-Fold Display Board, construction paper, an X-Acto knife, some Washable School Glue, a few foam flower stickers we had laying around the house and my all time favorite Disappearing Purple School Glue Stick.  

I printed some Lorax pictures right off the GE Facebook page since he's just so darn cute.   I backed them with colored construction paper to make them stand out.  I covered most of the display board with bright construction paper that I glued on to make it eye catching.

#GluenGlitter crafting with Elmer's Glue and X-Acto knife

I also added some printed headers and outlined them with a black marker to make them bubbly and fun.   I drew some lightbulbs by hand and stuck them on with a glue stick.  At the end I added the flower stickers and my savings calculation project was complete.  

My husband was shocked when he saw the calculated savings and insisted I explain further.  Kayla being a typical preschooler just wanted to hug the Lorax and glue more things to the board.

#GluenGlitter Elmers Project to Show GE Energy savings

After I finished making up my project display board I put together a little donation as part of my Champions For Kids SIMPLE Service Project for Kayla's preschool teacher with construction paper, some Crayola markers and Elmer's glue.  I tied it all together with a stink on ruler tape which made it look pretty cute and ready for school and left it for Kayla's teacher during morning drop off.

#GluenGlitter Champions For Kids School Supply donation

Want more creative projects you can do?  Check out GluenGlitter on Facebook  and Twitter and Elmer's Craft It! on Facebook

Just so you know, 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 Elmer’s #CBias #SocialFabric everything you see here is my own incredibly picky opinion and I was honored to participate in paying it forward with information and supplies!
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