If managing the money, the mess and Monday night soccer practice seems a bit overwhelming, that’s because it is. Without a strong management system, running a household might seem more like chasing a runaway train. To put the brakes on the household locomotive, hone your budgeting and organization skills, and don’t be afraid to delegate responsibility.
Budget and Save
Whether you need to rein in your spending, reduce the debt load or just keep an eye on what’s going in and out of the bank account, a budget is an absolute must for a smoothly running household. Create a budget to keep track of your household expenses, incorporating anticipated home and car repairs, debt reduction plans, vacation planning and other savings ventures into your projected spending. This way you aren’t caught off guard by unexpected bills and you also have something to work toward as a family. If you aren’t sure how much goes out each month, make a journal to keep track of the family’s spending and analyze the results to create a budget at the end of the month.
Delegate and Share
All of the cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring and homework help is far too much responsibility for one person to handle. Share the workload to make the household run smoothly. Create a list of chores for each member, keeping in mind developmental limitations, and then work together the first few times to ensure the chores are done right. Try to avoid micromanaging; once you've laid out the responsibilities and consequences for each member of the family, leave them to their tasks instead of hovering.
Schedule and Organize
Whether your household is made up of two or 10 family members, its success is dependent on the home’s organization system. Establish a daily routine for all members of the household, composed of chores, mealtimes, bed times and everything happening in between. Make lists and charts your new best friends, and the fridge your favorite hangout spot. From grocery and cleaning lists to the kids' chores and extracurricular activities, write it all out and post it on the fridge -- your new organization central. Here, the family can check out what’s on the day’s schedule and post notes and reminders when necessary.
Analyze and Adjust
To ensure the household remains running in tiptop shape, evaluate the system on a regular basis -- and get feedback from other members of the household, too. You can call a family meeting once a month to discuss any concerns over responsibilities and scheduling -- expect a little grumbling over chores from the kids. However, infuse these family meetings with positivity, too, by brainstorming fun and exciting activities for the family, such as trip planning or a backyard playground project.
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