Tips for a Successful Post-Divorce Budget
Divorce is a complicated process for many reasons. First, separating your life from another person’s can be very difficult after you’ve lived with someone for a number of years. Secondly, a divorce raises some uncomfortable emotions, whether you’re happy about the marriage ending or not. It’s also worth noting that leaving your partner means you’re going from a double to a single-income household in many cases. Living without the extra support that your spouse provided – even if they weren’t offering a full-time wage, can be difficult to get used to at first. The good news is that you can learn how to survive in a way that maintains your independence and protects you from dangerous decision making. It all starts with creating a reliable post-divorce budget.
The best way to get a realistic idea of how much money you have coming in and going out each month is to start from the beginning. Get rid of any previous financial plans and strategies you had in place from before the divorce and make a list of all your sources of income. You should also have a list of all of your outgoing expenses too. These include everything from essential bills to maintenance or spousal support costs. Knowing what you have to pay for each month will give you the basis of a bare bones budget. Once you know how much cash you have going towards essentials, you should also have an idea of the money you have to spend on yourself. As you put this theory to the test, carefully track your expenses to ensure you’re not missing anything important.
Now that you have a good idea of your incoming and outgoing expenses, think about how you can cut down on the amount of money going out of your bank account. You don’t necessarily need to cut all of the fun out of your life straight away. You might be able to save money by getting creative with your bills and incoming cash. For instance, look into consolidating your existing student loan debts into a single monthly payment with a private lender. Cutting your repayment costs will give you more cash for yourself, without making you feel like you’re missing out on anything. You can also think about taking on a secondary freelance job as a way to make some extra money. There are plenty of roles you can handle form home.
Start Saving as Soon as You Can
Finally, though it might be tempting to treat yourself to some bonus gifts as soon as you come into a little extra cash, remember that your emergency fund is likely to be depleted after the divorce. Rebuilding this cash safety net will ensure that you’re protected if anything goes wrong in the months and years to come. Even if you can only afford to put a little money away from each paycheck at first, start building an emergency budget that accounts for at least 3 months of your expenses. This will give you some much-needed peace of mind during an uncertain time.
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