A happy, successful family is never an accident. It doesn’t just happen. It’s a result of an ardent commitment by both parents to teach and share values and pass on beliefs and traditions. Ultimately, a family is a small organisation, and like any organization, it requires a manager and a team spirit for the family to get along. There are many different issues to face in home and family management. As a parent, you have to make sure everything falls in place as you create an environment where everyone flourishes. Issues you face might include monthly budgets, groceries, childrearing, and school fundraisers. Let’s take a look at these common challenges:
1. Monthly Budgets.
When it comes to budgeting, you have fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed Costs Often fixed costs like rent or mortgage, utilities, car payments and so on can’t be changed. However, sometimes you might be surprised that you can reduce a fixed cost. If you live in an area that has electricity deregulation, you will be able to choose electric rates. This will result in noticeable annual savings. Variable Costs The nice thing about variable costs is that you can decide whether or not you should buy something.
Here are some saving ideas:
- Plan your meals. By planning your family meals, you can skip trips to fast food restaurants
- Shop smarter. You can learn to shop smarter, buying at less expensive stores, choosing generic brands over name brands when quality is not a big concern.
- Reuse products. Use a reusable item instead of a disposable one. For instance, instead of buying paper towels for the kitchen, washable cloths will work for a long time.
- Buy secondhand. Everything doesn’t always have to be brand new. If there is a book you want to read when you shop on Amazon, you can always get a used version for less.
- Entertain at home. When you go out for meals or to a movie, it always ends up costing you more than you would have liked to spend. It’s possible to have a home movie night with popcorn by simply renting a video. Interestingly enough, it’s also possible to get a chef to come to the house to prepare for a social party. This is cheaper than taking all your guests to a restaurant, and instead of spending all day in the kitchen yourself, you can be a good host and hang out with your guests.
Despite your best strategies, you might find that your family spends between $500 and $1,000 a month on groceries. While you might have saved as much as you can by buying the lowest priced brand on the things you need, your grocery bill may be higher than you can comfortably manage. The solution to beat the rising cost of living is to use coupons.
In an article in Money Crashers, Extreme Couponing 101: How to Extreme Coupon and Save 84%+ on Groceries, Author David Bibby shares his success with coupons:
“January: We paid $474.59 for $2,088.27 worth of products (groceries and toiletries), saving $1,673.70 or 77%. February: We paid $402.85 for $2,369.40 worth of products, saving $1,966.55 or 82.99%, and we’re awaiting $305.94 more in rebates. March: We paid $361.19 for $3,122.63 worth of products, saving $2,767.44 or 88.43%.”
3. Child rearing
Most parents try to use an intuitive approach to child-rearing, but since they often lack experience, this approach does not always work well. However, there is a lot of behavioural science on child rearing that they could easily research. When it comes to child rearing, here are 7 insights from behavioral psychologists:
- Raise their self-esteem. Prefer to encourage rather than discourage your child by catching them when they are being good rather than scolding them in the hope that they will see the error of their ways.
- Consistent discipline. It’s better to set limits than to be too permissive, and when you do, you have to be consistent.
- Spend quality time. Making time to spend with your kids is probably one of the most important things you can do to raise their self-esteem.
- Be a good role model. It’s not what you say that impresses kids, it’s what you do. If you scold them about talking about their absent friends behind their backs when they are with their playmates, then you set a bad example when you gossip about the neighbours with your spouse.
- Communicate clearly. The more clearly you communicate, the higher the trust and better the rapport you develop with your kids.
- Unconditional love. Help your kids recognise that when you’re cross with them, it doesn’t mean that you’ve stopped loving them.
- Admit your limitations. As a parent, you are always learning how to be better at this role. Admit to yourself and your children when you’ve made some bad decisions.
4. School Fundraisers
School fundraisers can be confusing. You often say “yes” when you don’t have the time or money and yet you feel guilty when you say “no.” One strategy to manage school fundraisers is to treat it as part of your family time and monthly budget. Managing a home and family is both rewarding and challenging. It’s rewarding to build loving relationships that will last a lifetime, but it’s also challenging to balance work, home, and social life.