6 Top Tips to Improve Your Post-Divorce Budget

Going through divorce is one of the biggest things that will change your finances. If you were a two income family before, you now have to manage on just one income, and if you were a one income family then you'll either need to start working to support yourself and your kids or likely spend money on the things that your spouse used to do. Then there's the aspect that many people had their spouse do the budgeting and bill paying before so, or had spouses that didn't allow them to keep a budget, so making a budget is something new entirely. If you're newly divorced or heading that way, here are some ideas that will hopefully help you navigate this financially.

Photo by Engin Akyurt

In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the most efficient ways you can cut costs and budget post-divorce…

Divorces are no easy thing to go through, as not only do you have to deal with the emotional side of it all, you also have the financial implications. While separating and living alone can be more expensive, there are ways you can cut the costs and save money.

So, whether you’re yet to contact a family law solicitor and get the court proceedings rolling or you’ve already separated, it’s important to have a plan to manage your finances properly.

Keep reading to find out more on how to budget in your newly single lifestyle …

1. Work Out Your Monthly Expenditure

The first step to budgeting is knowing how much you earn and spend per month. This will help you better understand where you can cut costs in the future. To work out your monthly expenditure, you should gather the following items:
  • Bank statements
  • Payslips
  • Debit and credit card statements
  • Bills
  • Receipts of necessities and things you tend to buy consistently, such as food and toiletries
Make sure to try and include all your expenses, so that you have a more accurate picture of how much money you are earning and spending. Using an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your finances can make it easier to stay on top of your costs. There are also a range of budgeting tools and calculators online and on the Appstore, which can be useful when trying to work out your monthly expenditure.

2. Create a Budgeting Plan

Once you’ve worked out your monthly expenditure and what you’re left with, you can make a more informed decision on what things you could spend less on. For instance, can you reduce how much per month you spend on luxury items? It is important to try and set realistic goals so that you can more easily stick to them and not kid yourself.

The 50/30/20 rule is a recommended technique in the world of budgeting, as it divides your monthly expenses. Specifically, 50 percent should go towards needs, 30 percent towards wants, and 20% towards savings and/or debts. This method can help you keep a closer eye on your finances, as well as helping manage your budget more effectively.

Even a small bit of preparation can go a long way when it comes managing your finances. For example, meal planning and sticking to daily routines can mean you don’t spend an excess amount of money on things you may not need.

3. Making Use of Divorce Settlements

During the process of a divorce, the court’s objective will be to make sure assets are divided as equally as possible. To ensure this, they will take into account a range of factors, including earnings and potential earnings, needs and responsibilities, such as, the provisions of accommodation and any child costs.

The standard of living for both parties is also considered, as well as components such as their age and duration of marriage. What’s more, they will assess whether there are any potential financial losses that either person may incur as the result of their separation.

So, depending on some of these factors and your situation, you may be entitled to a certain amount of money from your former partner. If this is the case, it’s important to plan ahead, jotting down everything which may contribute to your divorce settlement in order to make sure your assets are divided as evenly as possible.

4. Child Maintenance Costs

Child maintenance covers how your kids’ living costs will be paid when one of the parents no longer lives with the child. The arrangement can be made once you’ve separated from your partner and can provide regular financial support for the everyday living costs of bringing up a child.

Child maintenance can make a real difference to some single parents affording things such as clothing and food. So, it is important to look into to help with your costs post-divorce.

5. Reducing Your Bills

Your bills likely contribute to a sizeable chunk of your monthly expenditure. So, it may be worth researching different ways you can cut the costs. Some of the ways you can do this include:
  • Refinancing your mortgage, by lowering your interest rate.
  • Wearing more layers during the winter months, so you don’t have the heating on all the time.
  • Installing a water meter, so that you be more economical with how much water you’re using.
  • Swapping phone contracts for a cheaper alternative if you find your current contract doesn’t conform to your means.
  • Finding better deals using comparison sites.
6. Consider a Career Change

Being newly single and having this newfound freedom can be exciting, so it may be the perfect time to focus on you and pursue any dreams and ambitions you may have. For some, this may mean a career change as it provides you with the perfect opportunity for change.

Not only might a new job make you feel more confident and happier but, depending on the job, it could provide you with more financial stability. However, before jumping ship it is important to do your research, as changing career is certainly not a walk in the park. It is, in fact, a big commitment that requires serious consideration.

Some of things you should look into before deciding whether a career change is right for you include:
  • Your current job satisfaction.
  • What job prospects are there out there which are in line with your interests, values, and skills.
  • Whether you’ll need to invest in further education and qualifications to get the job you’re interested in, and if this is feasible for you.
  • Current in-demand jobs.
We also recommend speaking to a careers advisor, who can provide you with the right advice, information and guidance in regards to a career change, as well as ensuring you make a realistic choice. Additionally, it may be useful setting up a day or two shadowing individuals who work in the type of profession you’re interested in. This can help you get a real feel for the job and ultimately help you decide whether it is the right career for you.

Ready to Start Budgeting?

Separating from a partner can be stressful for many, and one of the hardest parts of it all can be sorting out your finances. However, with the right planning, time and consideration, money doesn’t have to be as much of an issue as many people fear.

Making use of your financial settlement and child maintenance costs can be beneficial to many single parents post-divorce. Additionally, tracking expenses and creating a budget plan can massively help when cutting costs and saving money.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained financial professional. Be sure to consult a financial advisor if you’re seeking advice on your finances. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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