Making Ends Meet on Your New Budget

Financial situations change after a divorce. There are no two ways around it. Whether you are lucky enough to be able to keep your house or whether you’ve got to find a new place to live, you’ll have an entire set of expenses to manage on your own. If you’re struggling with making ends meet on your new budget, sit down and run through these tips to see if you’re maximizing what you have.

Evaluate your living arrangements.

First and foremost, evaluate your living arrangements. Are your living arrangements appropriate after your divorce? Can you afford to live in your current house or apartment? Unfortunately, it’s often necessary to downsize after a divorce, so don’t be caught by surprise by your living expenses. If you need to get a smaller apartment, get a smaller apartment; it’s better to lose some stuff than to stress every month about making your rent or mortgage payment.

Cut out unnecessary expenses.

Everyone’s routine consists of unnecessary expenses. Maybe you don’t need a house phone and a cell phone; consider cutting one. Have one of those colossal cable television packages? Downgrade. You may need to quit or temporarily pause workout classes or other hobbies that add an extra expense every month. If you’re really heartbroken about cutting expenses, make a pact with yourself that it’s only temporary and find a way to resume the programs or services you’ll be missing.

Create and stick with your budget.

Budgeting is never fun, but it’s the best way you’ll be able to survive with an adjusted income. Even if you have the ability to spend within your means, you won’t do it if you don’t know how much you’re spending or what your means actually are. Sit down, create a budget, and follow it. If you go over budget in one area, cut the budget back in another. It may be stressful, but by developing a plan and sticking with it, you can take better care of yourself in the long run.

Supplement your income.

It may be time to consider a part time job, or some other way to supplement your income. Do you bake really awesome cookies? Consider selling them at a local farmer’s market every week. Are you a skilled knitter? Look into hosting classes, or selling hand-knit items on the Internet. While the economy is bad in general, there are plenty of ways that a creative person with a few skills can supplement his or her income outside of getting a part-time job. However, a part-time job has added benefits; it keeps you from sitting at home, moping, if you’re unhappy about your divorce.

Food, food, food.

Food is one of the single biggest budget busters out there. If you go out to eat too often, you’ll blow your budget. Likewise if you’re an impulse buyer at the grocery store, or even if you buy things that you don’t end up using when you shop. Seriously evaluate your food habits and determine whether or not you can save money on food somehow. Cut back on eating out, buy generic brands when possible and avoid buying convenience foods to save cash on your food bills.

Ask for help if you need it.

There’s no shame in asking for help. If you’re having trouble with an unusually high electrical bill or fluctuations in your income, ask for help. If you call creditors or utility companies, they’re usually willing to set up payment arrangements and work something out. Don’t avoid dealing with the issues, as costs mount when you practice avoidance. Instead, deal with financial issues head-on before mounting late fees and overdraft fees make it impossible.