What the? Family of 4 and a power bill under $200
THEY are a family of four, including two teenagers, and enjoy all the comforts of living at home, but they are achieving something most find near impossible.
Coolum's Fred Stokes has managed to keep his household power bill under $200 a quarter and he doesn't use solar.
With electricity bills due to rise by 13.6% from July 1, the Stokes family's lesson in saving is something many could do with.
The Queensland Competition Authority says average electricity use for a family of four is $501 a quarter (or $2005 a year).
This will go up to $556.25 a quarter (or $2225 a year) after the July 1 price increase.
By making a few simple changes, the Stokes family also uses less than half the water of an equivalent Sunshine Coast household.
And no, he doesn't make his kids, Joel, 13, and Phoebe, 15, bath together.
Mr Stokes said he decided three years ago to make some basic changes after the family's electricity bill was hitting more than $300 a quarter.
"One of the first things I did was get rid of the swimming pool," Mr Stokes said.
By removing the family's 30,000 litre above-ground pool, Mr Stokes estimates he saved about "$60 a quarter".
He also systematically replaced his home's normal light bulbs with lower-voltage compact fluorescent light bulbs, known as the "twirly ones".
"We also got rid of the big plasma television downstairs," Mr Stokes said.
And the second "beer and bait" fridge got the toss, saving "about $30 a quarter".
Living in a classic Queenslander saves the family on the need for air-conditioning, thanks to its high ceilings and good airflow from its location on a hill.
Mr Stokes does remind his kids to switch off lights and not to stand with the fridge door open, and he also ensures the family switches appliances off at the wall.
"Those red standby lights are also using energy," he said.
Two years ago he shopped around for the cheapest electricity provider, securing an 8% discount from Origin.
The family still waters the garden and uses the shower, but the last water bill was $232.
"We used 289 litres a day (in the last bill)," Mr Stokes said.
Unitywater says the average water bill for a family of four with a garden, no pool is 712 litres a day.
Mr Stokes replaced all the tap washers and made sure the toilets were not leaking.
YOUR SAY: What are some of your power saving tips? Comment below and share your tips with others.