Episode 103: How to Run a Big Household Efficiently

September 13, 2020

Let’s try this again!

We are definitely going to give you some great tips and tricks on how to run a big (or small, or medium!) household efficiently. But, I just need you guys to know that this episode was a real pain to get out into the world! I posted it once – and it just disappeared. So I rewrote the show notes, much shorter than the first time; and then the audio was SO BAD that we had to take that episode down IMMEDIATELY. Now, here I am, writing these show notes for the THIRD TIME! Plus we re-recorded the whole episode. So, enjoy! You would think that being on episode 103, we would know what we were doing… **palm to face.

How to use the ESA

We mentioned that our Kindergartner went to a private school for about 4 weeks… keep your judgment to yourself, please. Did she start at our public online school in August? Yes. Then did we enroll her to a school that was meeting in person? Yup. Then did our public school state that they were finally going to meet in person? You know it. So we pulled her out of the private school and she is back in public! But, we mentioned that there are scholarships for families with adopted children to attend private schools, here in Arizona. This one is called The Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) and is actually applicable for adopted children, active-duty military families, and many others.

Definitely read the dates that these applications are due. We missed out on those unfortunately. But many private schools offer a ton of other scholarships, and there are ways to use people’s tax deductions as well!

How to run your home efficiently: Organization!

When we were a small family of 4 – we were super disorganized! Our house was a mess, as were our finances! But we have found that with each child we add to our home, the more we NEED order, schedules, routines, and a BUDGET!

We talked about this calendar and chores chart, which is definitely my most recommended Amazon purchase to date. Although I have also recommended these headphones with mic and share port, to quite a few early elementary parents who are doing online school. We even mentioned them in this episode.


The way we like to organize the Chores Chart is to add daily chores – which include emptying the dishwasher, setting the table, and clearing the table. We have 4 kids on rotation for those chores, so that makes sense for our family. If you have 2 kids, you may want to add another daily chore to make sure things are fair. 🙂 

We’ve heard people say that they can’t get their kids to do chores. Well guess what? You don’t give them a choice. Yes you can get your kids to do chores, you just may not be able to get your kids to WANT to do chores. Those are different things, and also things that don’t matter. Doing chores is an integral part of childhood, and launching into successful adulthood!

The monthly chores are also on the chart, with the names of who is in charge of what. Our monthly chores are done every Sunday, but each kid sticks with the same chore for the month, and then we rotate. Those chores include cleaning the toilets, tubs, picking up dog and tortoise poop, cleaning sinks, vacuuming, and tidying up the car. It’s pretty great! 

Run your meals efficiently

I also add what for lunch and dinner every day, which helps me to meal plan. It also prevents the kids from asking me what we are eating for every single meal, every single day. Our stores budget for the month is $1600. You may operate for less with more people. You may operate for more with fewer people. You do what works for you! This number is a GOAL we have. We often go over… But we try not to!

Eating healthy is a priority for us (even though we don’t eat organic). And we host people at least once a week for dinner. We love to eat, and in community! So that is partially why our stores budget is pretty high, And the stores budget includes toilet paper, and other household needs. Again – that’s needs, not wants. 🙂 We need toilet paper, I want more throw pillows. For us, that stores budget breakdown is about $177 per person per month.

Awareness of your kids

Chris also mentioned in the podcast that we try to have a safe home for all of our kids. We are very thankful that none of our children struggle with food hoarding, or trauma in the realm of food. This is why we are able to have a meal and snack schedule that is pretty similar for all the kids. If you are fostering or adopting a child who has food-related trauma, you have to do what is best for your child! If it helps them to be more at ease, with a granola bar in their pocket – let them do that! Only you know what is best for your child, and for your family!

Let them play

Another important part of our daily routine is that we do not allow the kids to be on any devices during the week. They can watch a bit of tv in the afternoon if all of their schoolwork is complete, but the kids are encouraged to get off their butts and MOVE AROUND. Especially in this time of online schooling, the kids do not need to keep sitting and staring at screens. And they need to interact with other humans! 

How to run your home efficiently: Finances

We truly believe that financial freedom leads to freedom in so many more areas of life. Being stressed about finances causes you to be stressed about pretty much everything else in life. 


If you don’t have a budget yet – YOU NEED ONE! There are so many different budgeting spreadsheets to suit your needs. Whether you use Microsoft or Google Spreadsheets, there is something for everyone!

Chris recommends doing a Zero Budget. You start with all of your income, and you account for everything! The $0.89 you spent at the gas station on your debit card? There’s a place in your budget for that! Account for how much you are saving, tithing and giving away, and spending everywhere you go. 

Debit Card for Kids

And, it’s a great idea to let your kids start having control of some of their money as well. This will help your kids to see how much they have in savings, and in checking, and they have their own little debit card too. We use Greenlight which is a handy app for everyone to use. 

We love to listen to the Defining Stewardship Podcast because they make financial talk and practices so easy! This was Chris’ podcast pick of the week, as he listened to this episode on whether to save or for your kids’ college funds, or not.. Mine was this episode of The Storybrand Podcast, with an interview with Nicole Walters.

Books to help with efficiency

Darren Hardy talks about the Compound Effect, in his book of the same name. The ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ moments you have now have a cumulative effect for the future. If you always ‘deserve’ a Starbucks treat, the compound effects are hundreds of dollars wasted, extra calories consumed, and… well, that’s a lot of serious repercussions. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a treat every now and again. But if you do it every day, it’s not a treat, it’s just a lifestyle. But is it a lifestyle you can afford??

Another book that came up this week is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Maybe you watched her show on Netflix (it’s inspiring!) or you have read her book. If you have done neither – we recommend doing one or the other!

As always, we have to mention How To Raise an Adult, any time we talk about chores, or preparing our kids for adulthood. Check out episode 34 where we dive deeper into this amazing book! You can also listen to it here.

The Good Word of the Day

“Kids develop their identity by getting clues from you about what you think about them, feel about them, and hope for them.”

Dr. Meg Meeker, Pediatrician

We have to trust our kids to do chores, to have some control of their finances, and to see that we think that they are smart and capable little humans! 

Thanks for listening to another episode of our podcast.

We are so thankful for all of you. We hope that you will do great things with great love.

If you would like to connect:

Fostering Voices on Instagram

Jihae on Instagram and Chris on Facebook

You can also email us at hello@fosteringvoices.com

AND we would LOVE it if you would SUBSCRIBE and leave us a review on iTunes! This helps others to find our podcast so we can share these voices from the foster care and adoption community with more people!


Episode 103: How to Run a Big Household Efficiently


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