One of the biggest adjustments that most people have to make during a divorce is a financial one. You suddenly have to manage a household on your own with less income. You may also be struggling to pay off debts — and pay for your divorce.
Learning new ways to save money during your divorce can be just as important as finding ways to cope emotionally. With that in mind, here are some practical suggestions:
1. Get a budget in place.
If you operated without a firm budget in place while you were married, it can be a tough adjustment to have to count your pennies again. However, a budget can help you keep track of your expenses and control your spending. Budgets also help people identify ways to cut back. For example, a morning Starbucks run two or three times a week before work can add up — and a cup of coffee from home is pretty cheap in comparison.
2. Drop extra insurance costs.
A lot of people carry more insurance than they need. You can free up some money for your monthly budget by dropping a whole life policy and picking up term life insurance instead. Increasing your deductibles on your car insurance and rental or home insurance can also lower your costs.
3. Limit your shopping trips.
Most people impulse buy more than they realize. It’s much harder to do that if you aren’t in the stores in the first place. Limit your shopping trips to the grocery once a week. Use lists to plan what you will buy in advance — and stick to them.
4. Stop overspending on food.
Take an honest look at how much you are spending on takeout — dinners, lunches at work, coffee shop trips and anything else you regularly purchase instead of cooking.
Buying just a sandwich and a drink for lunch can add $30 or $40 to your budget every week. You can save a lot of money by brown-bagging it instead. Similarly, pizza for dinner is easy but far more expensive than cooking for yourself.
Navigating your divorce successfully is often a matter of learning to make adjustments. An attorney can help protect your rights, but you have to do a lot of the work outside the courtroom yourself if you want to quickly move on to a brighter future.