Every household would benefit from keeping a budget. Knowing what your expenses are and building your savings are part of being a responsible spouse and parent.
The same is true if your marriage ever ends in divorce. In fact, it could be more important than ever. Divorce is a big adjustment in more ways than one. In addition to having to adjust to not being married anymore and not seeing your kids as much as you used to, you may have to prepare for a different lifestyle. Instead of living in a household with two incomes, you will probably be living on your own and mostly reliant on your own ability to make money. Meanwhile, you might have new expenses you didn’t before, such as child support or spousal support.
Seven steps to building a post-divorce budget
Setting a post-divorce budget is a fairly straightforward process you can do yourself. Here are seven steps to get started.
- Make a list of your current monthly expenses (rent/mortgage, utilities, child support, auto payments, food, etc.) and income
- Total the expenses and income to see if you have a surplus or deficit
- Track your income and expenses over a few months to see if you missed anything in your initial budget
- If your expenses outweigh your income, it’s time to make changes. On the revenue side, determine whether you have opportunities for increasing your income. With expenses, be ruthless. Cut items you do not need, such as seldom-used TV subscriptions. And pay off high-interest credit cards.
- Stick to your budget
- Make adjustments as needed and don’t give up
- Set aside money each month for savings and future expenses
It can take time to get used to your new circumstances, but you can achieve a financially comfortable life after divorce. Budgeting helps.