Divorce is difficult, expensive, messy, and trying. One of the most dramatic changes is your finances. And once the papers are signed and filed, the next step is to start moving on with your life. One of your first steps should be getting a hold of your financial situation post divorce. It can be overwhelming at first, but take it day by day. I’m going to share a few resources I used when my divorce was finalized to help me get back on track financially. I recommend you approach your financial situation objectively, this will help clear your mind and make progress with the budgeting process. Being overly emotional with the process can slow you down and cloud your judgement. Your ultimate goal here is to get back on your feet, and that means being honest with yourself regarding your spending habits. It’s not going to be fun, but in the end you will feel better knowing where you stand and the steps you need to take to get your life on track.
The first step is to sit down with a pen and paper and comb through your divorce judgement. Write down the debts you are responsible for. Make note of how much child support you are to pay/receive each month. Then go through your own personal expenses and make a list of what you are responsible for. Writing it down on paper gives you a black and white view of where you stand.
The second step is to make a monthly budget. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I just took out a piece of paper and on the left side noted all my bills and expenses for the month and on the right side noted my monthly income. I then subtracted the bills and expenses from the income and that is what I had left over for the month. In my case, with my first budget, I was in the hole money wise. So what now? Look at your bills and expenses and cut things that are unnecessary. Be that cable, getting your hair and nails done, eating out, etc. It sucks, but at first after your divorce, you need to get back on your feet and to a place financially later on down the road to be able to spend money on those things.
The third step is research. Google and YouTube will be your friends. Research all you can regarding budgets and ways to save money. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I took this course at my church with my now ex-husband several years ago in the early stages of our marriage. Dave gives no-nonsense advice on how to make a budget, understand insurance and investments and instructions on how to use his baby step program to get out of debt. He also has an awesome podcast on iTunes, and a motivational Instagram account to keep you on track. To find more information about Dave Ramsey click here
As a single mom, I found Emma Johnson over at Wealthy Single Mommy to be a great resource for moving forward financially post divorce. She gives great advice on how single moms need to be financially independent. She also blogs about issues affecting single moms, be it jobs, relationships, parenting, etc.
I found that social media is a great resource for financial information and motivation. Just be wise about who you follow. I personally love Instagram because it is simple and to the point and it is easy to engage with others for advice. Facebook pages are also a great resource for budgeting and advice on saving money.
The final step is to get moving! Now that you have your budget made, look at ways to increase your income if need be. Start a side hustle on eBay, Etsy, or sell things on Craigslist. Take whatever money you can make and apply it to your debts and saving. Make goals and start working on them. Goals will give you motivation when times are tough. And there will be tough times on this financial healing journey. Keep in mind that you will get through this, just one step at a time.
What resources do you use to budget? What advice do you want to share in regards to healing financially after divorce?