8 Ways to Save During the Transition After Divorce
By I Am Divorced Not Dead’s recommended Certified Credit Counsellor, Suzanne Cramer.
The economy has been on shaky ground for the past three years and re-entering the workforce following a divorce may prove to be more difficult now than ever before. Divorce is statistically one of the most trying life events both emotionally and financially. In order to keep your sanity and your finances in check you need to stay focused on strengthening your money management skills.
If your only steady source of income is alimony or child support, you must know you can’t depend on that source forever. It’s important to continue to save as much as you can, while you look for career opportunities.
Here are 8 tips to help you cut back on your spending during this tough times:
- Pay bills first; buy new things later. It’s good practice to pay your current bills first before making new purchases. Once the bills are paid, you can adjust your life style to suit the remaining funds. Make sure you understand all of your bills before you start taking money out of your account.
- Prioritize your bills. Mortgage/rent payments should be at the top of your list (you don’t want to be homeless) along with necessities such as food, gas, and utilities. Lay out all of your bills and get a clear picture of how much you owe and how much you have, then start cutting back. You can also organize expenses into two categories: needs and wants.
- Credit cards are not your friend. Using credit cards often leads to bad spending habits. Avoid the temptation to “charge” by removing credit cards from your wallet, especially if you’re going someplace where overspending may occur, like the mall. For existing debt, don’t be afraid to negotiate with credit card companies to get lower rates or consider a Debt Management Plan.
- Be persistent with creditors. For existing debt, don’t be afraid to ask credit companies for lower rates. Simply explain your situation; tell them you don’t have the money to give your payments in full. Some of them will say no, but keep trying. There’s a chance they will reduce your late fees or not raise your interest rates, but you have to ask to find out.
- Adjust your budget. Upon researching your spending habits you will most likely find there are many things you can live without. Like going out to lunch everyday and dining out for dinner 3 nights a week. Make an effort to prepare dishes that can be reheated to provide multiple meals.
- Sell your stuff. Get rid of all the stuff accumulating in your basement or garage. If it is in one of those locations it is most likely not something you use frequently or at all. Sites like Amazon, eBay, and CraigsList are great places to unload the stuff and make some money in the process. Consider it part of your healing process to purge the past and keep your life more organized.
- Cancel internet or cable. There are many locations with free WiFi; most libraries and many restaurants provide access for patrons, and it’s easy to find other hot spots in your area. This is a hefty expense you can most likely eliminate from your budget. Not willing to cut off the internet? Consider cutting cable! You can watch movies and TV via the internet. Choose what’s most important to you and cut the other one out.
- Visit the temp agency. If you can line up a job through a temp agency, you will find yourself with less free time, which means fewer opportunities to spend money and more opportunities to make and save it. If you start out in a temporary position, work hard, and mesh well with the company you are working for, you may find yourself in a full-time position.
While getting back on your feet after a divorce can prove to be trying at times you can still find ways to save money while searching for the right career for you.
What have you done to save money post divorce?
Suzanne Cramer is a certified credit counselor working in CareOne’s Ask the Expert forums as a coach and a Social Media Specialist for CareOne. Suzanne writes for Divorce, Debt and Finances and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. Ask her questions, share your story or just follow Suzanne on her journey as she navigates dealing with divorce, debt, and finances. Suzanne is also very active on Twitter and manages two CareOne accounts: ADivorcedMom and Ask CareOne where she shares the latest debt industry news and tips to keep your finances in check.