Being a parent is tough. Managing work commitments, social commitments, household duties, childcare and family commitments can take its toll on your time and your budget. To help make things a little easier, try our 7 hacks for busy mums and dads.
1. Plan your meals
Planning meals in advance is a great time saver. No more wandering aimlessly around the supermarket trying to decide what to buy or staring into your fridge trying to work out what you can make with the available ingredients. If you spend time at the start of each week planning the family meals, you can shop faster and get meals underway much sooner. Plus, meal planning will save you money as you won’t waste as much food or need to rely on takeaway meals.
2. Batch cook
Batch cooking can save you lots of time. Many meals such as chilli, casseroles, lasagne and pies can be cooked in bulk and frozen for future meals. If you cook extra portions when making your evening meals, you can use the leftovers for packed lunches the following day.
3. Have a rota for household chores
Instead of leaving one person to juggle all the household duties or arguing every day about who should walk the dog, why not set up a rota? Make a list of tasks that need to be done such as washing up, feeding the cats, unloading the dishwasher, dusting, emptying the bin. Divide the tasks up so that everyone has daily tasks and a weekly task. Everyone will know exactly what they need to do so you’ll reduce arguments and get everything done faster. It also teaches children about responsibilities and time management.
4. Use a family planner
Have a whiteboard, calendar or diary that everyone can easily access and record any activities in it. Record clubs, classes, lessons, nights out, friends staying over, visits to grandparents and social events. This helps everyone keep track of where everyone else is going to be, so you can plan more easily.
5. Prep the night before
It’s stressful trying to locate P.E kits or not being able to find your car keys when you are already running late. Having an evening routine where everybody gets things ready for the next day is extremely beneficial. Get tomorrow’s outfits out and ironed ready to put on. Have shoes, coats and school bags in place ready to go. Make packed lunches the night before. Check the family planner to make sure there are no events that you have forgotten about. Put your car keys, wallet or purse and other important items into your handbag or together in a pile for you to grab before you leave. Preparing everything the night before will make everything run much more smoothly in the morning.
6. Plan a no spend weekend
When you’re a busy mum or dad it can be difficult to plan, resulting in you spending more money at the weekends than you intended. Plan a no spend weekend once a month. Schedule it in so that the whole family can prepare for it. Choose the activities that you will do in advance. If you’re struggling for ideas then check out our list of 50 things you could do on a no spend weekend.
7. Align your schedules
Try and plan your schedules around each other. Book yours and your children’s dentist or hairdresser appointments for the same day so that you only need to make one trip. Plan supermarket visits for when you are already making a journey out such as dropping one of your children off at a friend’s. Aligning your schedules can save time and reduce petrol bills, saving you money.
Managing your time and money can be difficult but hopefully, the above suggestions will help you get more organised.
Of course, it isn’t always possible to plan for those little surprises that life throws at us. Unexpected events such as your car or boiler breaking down can put a real strain on your time and your finances.