"Well it's not like I overdrew our account on purpose. We needed those things!"
"Oh really, and how was I supposed to know I needed to do that? I'm not a mind reader!"
Any of these questions familiar in your home? Possibly with more passion and expletives? :) It's common for couples and families to have miscommunication, especially around finances and schedules. But I have a simple suggestion to help get everyone on the same page -- weekly family meetings!
Stop rolling your eyes, I'm serious. They don't have to be long, they don't have to be boring, but if they cover some basic household management topics, you can prevent a lot of confusion and irritation later. My husband and I try to meet every Sunday for 30 minutes or so. When my sister was living with us for awhile, she also joined our meetings. The cats are optional attendees (sometimes they do have grievances to report, ha ha). If we had kids, I'd make them join us too.
Our typical family meeting (or family check-in, if the word "meeting" makes you break out in hives) covers these basic topics and gives us a chance to voice any concerns, make requests for the household, etc.:
- The F.U. (Financial Update) - how much $ in our accounts, upcoming bills and expenses for next week, etc. We sometimes transition this into larger financial goals, such as discussing life insurance or investments, or a big purchase we want to make.
- Where's Waldo (scheduling) - overview of each person's schedule for the week so there are no surprises later (in theory) and meals can be planned more easily
- Keep It Clean (chores) - if you split chores amongst family members, this is a good time to get everyone to agree to the schedule and make adjustments if needed
- Making Progress (goals) - we like to set family or household goals once a year, and then check-in occasionally, like when and where we want to take our next trip or the next home improvement project we want to tackle. Meetings are a great time to set priorities!
- Plus any other topics regarding the household
We've been doing this for over five years now and find it works well for us. We always know there will be time to talk about things on Sunday, even if we have busy weeks and feel like we've hardly seen each other. And I'm never in the dark about how much money we have (my hubby handles all of our finances but that doesn't mean I don't need to know the information - it's my money too!)
Do you have a creative approach for staying on top of finances and schedules for your family?