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August 20, 2008

Project SESAME

Reducing your impact on the environment is a very hot topic these days. That is why my aunt decided to start project SESAME (Save the Earth SAve MonEy) for her family. Here's how it works: Every time one of my cousins finds a way around that house that will SESAME, my aunt and uncle give them the financial savings for the first two months. So far, each one of my cousins has come up with one really great way to SESAME.

Olivia, the eldest, has come up with the plan to replace their paper napkins with cloth ones. Brilliant. They went to the store and bought a couple of packs of cute dishcloths that could pass for napkins. With a little help, Olivia factored out the cost of buying paper napkins over one year versus the cost of purchasing the cloth napkins upfront. Every week that their family abstains from purchasing paper napkins, Olivia receives $1.75, and so far they haven’t bought any all summer.

Annemarie, the youngest, had the idea to be in charge of turning off the main power strip button to all of the electronics that are around the television. She is still waiting for their next power bill to come so she can see how she did.

Tony’s SESAME project is to buy less at the grocery store and to reduce average spending each week. In the summer time, my cousins usually accompany my aunt to the grocery store. Before SESAME, the summer-time grocery bill would increase significantly as the kids suggest and relentlessly bug my aunt for extra, and often nutrition-less, food items.

With the goal of a $180 per week for groceries, the kids make the grocery list. They go through the refrigerator, pantry, and garden to try and come up with meals that their family has on hand. At the grocery store the kids watch my aunt like a hawk to make sure that she doesn’t slip in any extra items that are not listed on the grocery budget. As a result, they rarely ask for junk food, and if they do it is only one thing, which is well thought out. At the end of the trip, they all stand by the register and watch to see how they did.

So far this summer they have missed the goal once. And they were only over by one dollar. Every week that they beat their goal, the kids split the difference of the total bill and $180 between the three of them.

SESEAME is Environmental Education at its finest. There are so many connections and skills that are presented: math, creativity, budgeting, responsibility, environmental awareness and stewardship, healthy eating habits and nutrition, waste reduction, and so many more! What are some ways that you might employ SESAME in your home?


Anonymous said...

What a great idea! Project SESAME! Too bad I don't have any munchkins around to teach about this stuff anymore, but I think it's a super great way to teach children about not just conservation, but about the importance of budgeting, commitment, and discipline. Good for your aunt (and my sister-in-law!) ;)

Rachel Greig said...

Great ideas!! Thanks for sharing. I could try this out with my 2 kids.