Creating a Post Divorce Budget that Works for You
Divorce is a difficult process that can have an impact on finances. Post-divorce budgeting is something that many people struggle with, and it’s not just about paying the bills. It has to do with how you view your new lifestyle and adopting a new mindset around making financial decisions.
Check out our free post-divorce budgeting worksheet below:
Budgeting Considerations Following Your Divorce
As you adjust to a new lifestyle, you will have to consider various financial aspects that can affect your budget. Here are some to consider.
Keep a list of dates when you are scheduled to receive money from either your job or from your ex-spouse’s financial support. This can help you create an efficient timeline for paying bills, running important errands, and other tasks that require out-of-pocket expenses.
Long and Short-Term Financial Goals
You will have to set short-term financial goals following a divorce. What are some immediate items you want to accomplish? Be sure to write down the approximate costs that are associated with them. These could include examples like:
- Bill payments
- Vehicle repairs
- Home repairs
- Children’s school or extracurricular expenses
- Opening a new savings account
Your long-term goals should be more focused on your future. These might involve objectives like going back to school, entering a job training program, saving up for a down payment on a house, or putting money away for your future retirement. Post divorce budgeting is about making the right choices today so you can live comfortably in the future.
Add Up Your Total Income
This includes your income from all sources, such as:
- Wages or salary
- Bonus pay
- Alimony or child support payments
- Take-home pay after taxes and other deductions are applied
Once you have a good understanding of your total monthly income, it will be easier to create a budget that works for you.
Include Fixed and Variable Expenses
Your fixed expenses are those that generally stay the same from month to month. This might include your rent or mortgage payment, car payments, and utilities.
Your variable expenses can fluctuate greatly from one month to the next. They could be impacted by changes in your income, such as bonuses or overtime pay, or they do not remain consistent each time.
For example, groceries can vary in cost depending on the store you shop at and how many items you need to buy. When calculating these, use an approximate average cost to build your budget around. If your most recent grocery total was $150 and the one before it was $120, you can assume that $135 would be a fair estimation for this expense.
Make an Appointment with a Divorce-Informed Financial Advisor
It can be helpful to have a neutral third-party look at your budget and offer suggestions. They might have experience with post-divorce budgeting and can provide some valuable insights.
Put It Into Practice
Once you’ve created a budget with the help of a financial advisor, you should keep a financial journal that contains items like:
- Future goals, thoughts, and considerations about your budgets
- The question you might want to ask your advisor
- Next-step actions you can take toward accomplishing your goals