While becoming a parent for the first time is undoubtedly exciting, it also comes with an unavoidable bank account. From possibly having to find a bigger home, upsizing your car and purchasing an endless supply of ‘stuff’, the expenses you come to face during this transitional period can often feel overwhelming.
But while there are costs we usually account for when preparing for a baby to arrive, what many soon-to-be parents don’t often realise is having a baby typically leads to 25 percent more energy usage in your home, according to energy.gov.au.
That’s why we’re here to help you make smarter decisions when it comes to your energy so when the youngest member of your household arrives, you’ll already be saving. Here are the household costs you should factor in and how you can save on them:
Having a baby in your home usually means a whole bunch of new appliances. From baby monitors to formula makers to baby food blenders and night lights, you’re likely to find yourself reaching for the power point more often.
This is where it pays to consider the energy labels when you’re looking at buying these new items. Most of us know to look at the energy ratings closely when purchasing big-ticket items such as a new refrigerator or a washing machine, but smaller items can often be forgotten.
And usually, it’s the appliances with the cheaper price tag that lead to the biggest cost where your energy bill is concerned.
Many electric appliances in Australia have an Energy Rating Label, so it pays to have a read when deciding between appliances.
Aside from looking out for items that don’t burn up electricity, keeping electronic items plugged in but not in use, or in standby mode is silently adding three to 10 percent to your electricity bill.
And if you’re unsure of what to look out for, a little light or a clock on the item is a giveaway. So turning off these appliances can save you a fair amount of cash over the year.
Heating and cooling
We know ensuring rooms are at the right temperature are essential to ensure a baby gets to sleep and stays asleep. But this is where heating in winter and cooling in summer can quickly begin to cost you a bomb.
A good way to reduce energy costs associated with heating and cooling is to make sure you’re not heating or cooling rooms that you’re not using. That means if you move from room to room with your baby, ensure you’re turning off the air conditioner as you go.
Aside from the cost, over-heating or over-cooling a baby can have serious health risks. Thermal stress (over-heating) has been implicated in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SUDI and SIDS), so it’s important to monitor temperatures using a thermometer in your home and adjust when necessary.
Heating and cooling can account for 20 to 50 percent of your energy bill – so it’s worth looking into alternatives where you can. It might be using fans during hot weather, or installing curtains with heat-insulating fabric to keep the heat inside during cooler weather.