BY CATHY MEYER
UPDATED MARCH 12, 2018
If you’re going through a divorce, chances are it’s left your budget a little lopsided with much less monthly income to use in your current lifestyle. Now is the time to re-evaluate your budget, not months later when you’ve gotten deeper into debt and your credit has been ruined.
Budgeting Tips for Your Post-Divorce Lifestyle
Budgeting and keeping track of where your money after divorce goes is the only way to ensure that your income will be enough to provide necessities with, hopefully, fun money left over.
Consider these budgeting tips for financially surviving divorce.
List All Sources of Your Current Income
Don’t forget any money you may get from consulting work or a second job. Make sure you don’t forget to either add or subtract any alimony or child support you may receive or have to pay.
Assess Your Essential Expenses
Make a list of all your set expenses and see what can be eliminated. Set expenses are those that you have every month, like car payments, mortgage payments, or insurance. Will you be moving to a smaller place, or downsizing your family mini-van? Can you cut back on any insurance expenses like vision insurance or extra disability insurance? Do you really need a cell phone and a landline in your home? Can you live without bottled water delivery, cable television, or internet service?
Look at Your Fluctuating Expenses
Fluctuating expenses normal include those little luxuries we enjoy.
Dining out, hair styling, manicures, your morning Starbucks, gold club fees snacks from the machine at work, or gym membership. Be willing to cut out all expenses that are not absolutely necessary.
Compare Your Income to Your Expenses
When you compare your income to what you currently are spending, you may see a noticeable lack of balance.
Go back and decide what you can eliminate. Can you pack a lunch rather than eating out at lunch daily? Can you give up that weekend movie night? Can you do your own hair coloring or nails for now? Call your creditors and ask for lower payments. Most are willing to work with you to make sure you don’t fall behind. Keep eliminating unnecessary expenses until you have income left over at the end of the month
The Changes Don’t Have to Be Permanent
Remember your changes don’t have to be permanent, just until you can increase your income. Once you have been on your own for a while, without the benefit of a double income you will be able to better gauge how far you can stretch your income. It helps to eliminate extras if you know you can have them back at some point.
Embrace the Difference Between Wanting and Needing
Consider your wants versus needs. Survival may come down to eliminating everything from your budget but needs. Your priorities may need to shift. Many of the things you thought were necessities become optional.
Look for Ways to Bring in Extra Cash
You might want to take part of any savings you have to pay off some of your fixed expenses so you will have more left each month for other things.
Take a good look at the talents you possess and get creative in ways you can build your cash flow. Can you do some freelance writing? Do you have an artistic ability? Could you run an ad to do home maintenance for others? Put on your thinking cap and come up with ways to earn extra monthly income.
Avoid Any New Debt
It may seem tempting to use a credit card rather than giving up a luxury you enjoy. Don’t give into the temptation. It will make your future financial picture much gloomier for much longer. Don’t allow the emotional stress of divorce cause you to soothe yourself by spending more than you can afford.
Avoid Added Stress By Staying on Budget
Financial problems bring stress and avoiding that stress may make it easier to give up things you can live without. Your situation is not permanent and this, too, shall pass.
Your financial picture does not have to be as bleak as it first appears. Use your creativity and self-control to make some needed changes, and you’ll be back on your feet much sooner.