Organizing your finances and lifestyle as a whole is no easy task. Luckily by doing a Family All Hands Meeting once a month, my husband and I have been able to find a better balance to it all. Just like many of you, I know that my husband and I have a lot on our plates. From speaking engagements, and meal prepping, to taking care of my kids. Keeping my finances and lifestyle organized is no easy task. So instead of “forgetting” to do our budget or over-committing to family activities, and burning out. My husband and I sit down and plan out our upcoming month to the “T”. This way we’re both aware of our top priorities and maneuver our expectations to protect our finances and our sanity.
What is a Family All Hands Meeting
Think of a Family All Hands Meeting like your monthly family meeting. Where you don’t just talk about budgeting! But about your daily routine, appointments, family activities, meal prep, and even cleaning duties. It’s your designated time to strategize on all that you have to do. By actually thinking threw everything and prioritizing what’s most important for the upcoming week.
If you’ve worked in corporate America, monthly and even weekly team meetings aren’t rare. It keeps everyone aware of what’s going on and what’s to come. At my husband’s job, they call their team meetings all-hands meetings. I love that name and the symbolism of all of us getting our hands dirty in order to succeed. As a family, this is what we have to do to make sure everyone is involved in the problem-solving stage. So that we all understand why we’re moving and how we’re moving.
Going Over the Family Finance
Talking about your personal finances will evolve during your Family All Hands Meetings. When my husband and I first talked about money it started with our spending, goals, and eventually our debt. Every single month we go over our whole budget to see how we did. But as we jointly budgeted, paid off debt, and hit our goals. We started including a lot more in our talks. Our financial future became something we also need to discuss and track on a monthly basis. This includes our investment strategy, the economic news, and our businesses. Like it or not, the more responsibilities you pick up, the more you have to be aware of all the moving pieces. Having this Family All Hands Meeting every month allows us to re-confirm that we’re on the same page before the new month starts.
Monthly Meal Plan
Just as schools have a monthly meal plan, we make it a commitment to have a monthly family meal plan as well. But it didn’t start off that way, so please don’t burn yourself out trying to be a super chef. Instead, embrace making a monthly meal plan and really think about what you enjoy cooking and eating. When I first started meal prepping, I would make a plan for my meals every week. I would create meals based on what’s in season, on sale, and what I already have in my fridge. As my meal plans evolved, I’ve collected seasonal recipes, bulk-bought essentials, and gotten a food saver. Now instead of creating weekly meal plans, I now save even more time, energy, and food by planning out all of my meals for the month.
Here are a few pro tips I’ve learned over the years. First, is to list out all of the seasonal foods and recipes you like during the upcoming month. From there talk to your family about which meals they’re most excited about and those meals into the meal plan. Also, consider creating meals based on items you already have in your fridge or pantry to help you utilize everything that you have. Lastly, don’t forget to include which days you’ll eat out or order in to get everyone in your family excited. Your meal plan won’t be perfect and you shouldn’t expect it to be. Instead, every week make adjustments to your meal plan as needed and discuss improvements at your next Family All Hands Meeting.
Add Some Family Fun
As a young family from San Diego, there is always something fun to do almost every weekend. Instead of feeling FOMO or saying you’ll go somewhere and don’t, add it to your family activities list for the month. We are annual Zoo pass holders. In order to get our bang for our buck, we have to spread out and plan out our visits. This is the exact same thing we do for date nights, family activities, beach days, and even small road trips. If you plan it out, it will most likely happen vs wishing it would happen.
We love mixing 1-2 free fun activities a month and some paid activities to give our budget a break. Just knowing that I’ve planned out several fun activities for the month allows that “mom guilt” to fall off. We’re all doing a lot, make sure you add some fun, relaxation, and you time to your busy calendar.
Stick to Your Cleaning Routine
I am one of those Latinas that was raised by a mom who wanted to live in a model home with no mess. Even though that does sound nice, as a mom of little ones it’s not realistic. I have to make time to deep clean anything outside of vacuuming, washing dishes, and doing laundry. To make sure that my husband and I do what we said we would do. We literally have to spread out and schedule our deep cleaning dives. So you won’t catch us getting burned out trying to clean the whole house all at once. Instead, we focus on cleaning and organizing sections of our house. By scheduling the garage to get cleaned once a month and then cleaning the cars the next weekend. This way it doesn’t take up our whole weekend and it doesn’t burn us out either.
When creating your Family All Hands Meeting, add topics that interest you and that need to be discussed as a family. Some of the topics can be fun like eating out, family activities, and even cleaning. But make sure you don’t skip the hard conversations about your finances and meal prep. To keep you organized, I recommend checking out Notion. It’s a project management site that allows you to create, collaborate, and keep track of any project you’re working on. It’s free and easy to share with your partner and even kids if you wish.