Getting Your Finances in Shape After a Divorce

Your divorce is final and now it's time to get your money matters sorted in your new single life. Read more to for budgeting tips.
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So, you’ve just been through a divorce. Phew, what a ride, right? Now it’s time to get your money matters sorted in your new single life. Don’t worry; it’s not as scary as it sounds. I’m here to walk you through how to create a budget that’s perfect for your new situation. Let’s make this as painless as possible!

What’s Going On with Your Money Now?

First things first, let’s figure out where you stand financially after your divorce. This means checking out what cash is coming in – maybe it’s your job, some alimony, or child support – and what’s going out. Your expenses might have changed a bit, so it’s time to reassess. Think about your rent or mortgage, food, insurance, and those pesky debts or legal fees.

Making Your Budget.

Okay, so we’re diving into the heart of it – creating a budget. Trust me, it’s sounds scarier than it is. This is the time where you make adjustments to find your financial peace of mind. Let’s break it down:

  1. List Your Income:

    • Grab your notepad, or better yet, open up a spreadsheet.
    • Write down every single penny that comes your way. We’re talking about your job, any side hustles, alimony, child support – all of it.
    • Be real with yourself. If your income changes from month to month, take an average.
  2. Track Your Spending:

    • This is like being a detective in your own life. For a whole month, keep tabs on every dollar you spend.
    • You can do this the old-school way with receipts and a notebook, or get techy with a budgeting app.
    • Don’t forget the small stuff – yes, even that morning coffee counts!
  3. Sort Your Spending:

    • Now, let’s play some sorting games. Put your expenses into groups like ‘Household,’ ‘Groceries,’ ‘Kids,’ ‘Fun,’ ‘Car,’ and ‘The Random Stuff.’
    • This will show you where your money’s really going. You might be surprised how much those little things add up.
  4. Set Your Spending Limits:

    • Here’s where the magic happens. Based on your income and what you’ve been spending, set a limit for each category.
    • Be realistic. If you’ve been spending $300 on groceries, don’t suddenly drop it to $150.
    • Leave some wiggle room for unexpected stuff, because life loves surprises.
  5. Plan for Savings:

    • Savings are super important. Even if it’s just a small amount, try to put something aside.
    • Think about short-term savings (like for a holiday) and long-term savings (like for your retirement).
  6. Adjust As You Go:

    • Your first budget might not be perfect, and that’s okay. Life changes, and so will your budget.
    • Every month, take a moment to see if you need to adjust your spending limits or savings goals.
  7. Get Everyone Involved:

    • If you’ve got kids or others in your life, bring them into the budget conversation.
    • It’s a great way to teach them about money and make sure everyone’s on the same page.
  8. Celebrate the Wins:

    • When you stick to your budget, give yourself a high-five. Seriously, celebrating the small victories keeps you motivated.

By following these steps, you’ll have a budget that not only works for your post-divorce life but also makes you feel like the boss of your finances. Remember, a budget isn’t about restricting yourself – it’s about taking control and making your money work for you!

What’s Most Important?

Now that you’re flying solo, you might need to tweak your spending. Always cover your must-haves first – your home, food, bills, and health stuff. Once those are sorted, see how much you’ve got left for saving or fun.

Dealing with Debt and Credit Scores:

Let’s start from the beginning by ordering your free credit report.  Federal law gives you the right to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus.  This information can be accessed at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Now that you have your report in hand, let’s check for any debts hanging around and make a plan to knock them down. Focus on the ones charging you crazy interest first. And hey, keeping your credit score looking good is important, so don’t forget about that.

Saving for a Rainy Day:

An emergency fund is your new best friend. Try to save enough to cover a few months of living, just in case something unexpected pops up.  Keep in mind that the majority of Americans have little to no savings, so any savings is a good start!

Thinking Ahead:

Don’t forget about your future self. Whether it’s putting away a little for retirement, saving for a dream home, or maybe some classes – it’s all important.

Getting Some Help:

Feeling a bit lost? It’s totally okay to get some advice from a financial pro. They can help make sense of all this money stuff.  Consider talking to a Certified  Divorce Financial Analyst about your situation.  

Stay Flexible:

Life’s full of surprises, and your budget should be ready to roll with the punches. Check in on it now and then and make tweaks as needed.

Wrapping It Up:

There you have it – your guide to budgeting in your new life post-divorce. It’s all about understanding your money, prioritizing, dealing with debt, saving for emergencies, and planning for the future. Remember, it’s a fresh start, and with a bit of planning, you’ve totally got this!

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