Saving money after divorce may sound like a daunting task. With two households to fund instead of one, and expenses being individual as opposed to shared, it can be challenging, but not impossible.
Planning is key! Having a budget is essential for anyone hoping to save money. If you don’t know where your money is going, it’s hard to figure out where you can cut back in order to save. For some, budgeting may be second nature, but for others it may be entirely new, especially if their partner took care of finances during the marriage.
Fortunately, budgeting can be done with a pencil and paper, a computer spreadsheet, or even apps that feel as if you have your own personal money guru. In addition to having an overall budget, it’s best to plan on a daily basis:
- Before you head out on a shopping trip, make a list, or set a spending limit. How many times have you gone to buy one or two things and come out with a cart full of unnecessary goods, having spent $100 more than you meant to? Buying only the essentials or setting a spending limit – and enforcing it – can add up to dollars in the bank.
- Plan meals. It may seem easier to order takeout or go through the drive-through but eating at home can significantly reduce your food budget. And like budgeting, meal planning is now all the rage. Websites like The Simple Dollar or social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram all have areas dedicated to meals on a budget.
Look at your current expenses – many things we pay for are actually wants instead of needs:
- Bypass the daily stop at your favorite coffee shop and learn to make an amazing latte at home. Small changes can add up to big savings over time!
- Look at your cable and phone carriers – do you need every movie channel? Is there a cheaper monthly cell plan? Shopping around takes a little time but can pay off in the long run.
- Get creative – partner with another family and buy in bulk to lower costs for groceries and home goods. Instead of going to the happy hour or seeing the latest movie, look for free entertainment in your hometown like museums, local parks or free concerts. Go to your local library to check out books, music and movies.
- Check your health plan – are there changes you could make that would decrease your monthly spend?
Do a review of your credit and debts:
- Make sure that all bills and credit accounts that were once joint are now only in your name. You don’t want to accumulate more debt if your ex is still listed on an account.
- Try to consolidate your debt – obtaining a personal loan or switching to a lower-interest credit card can reduce monthly payments and give you more room to breathe.
Consider a side-gig:
- Do you have talents that could bring in extra income? Perhaps you could freelance as a writer, provide a spa service, or browse websites for ideas on how to make extra money on the side.
Saving money is challenging, whether you’re divorced or not. If you’re able to establish a budget and make small changes over time, you will soon find your bank account growing – and you may even discover that you enjoy discovering new ways to save!