When you’re a newly single parent, budgeting can seem like a total nightmare. But you’re not alone in the financial struggle.
To help you manage your new budget as you navigate the world as a single parent on a one-person income, consider the following tips you can use to manage your money more efficiently.
- Update your budget. Divorce can come with a lot of financial changes. It’s important that you evaluate your finances and update your monthly budget template to reflect your own income and any new charges that will be made like child support. Those weekend road trips or building projects might not be feasible anymore! Updating your new budget after a divorce can also give you a detailed understanding of where your money’s going so you can figure out where you can cut back.
- Find ways you can save. Once you’ve updated your budget to reflect your current income, make a plan and figure out where you can cut costs. Contact your utility companies to have bills lowered either through cutting plans or getting a better deal. Take the time in the morning to make your own coffee instead of buying it by the cup at your local cafe. Stop hiring out cleaning companies to vacuum your carpets and organize your home and make the effort to do it yourself. Learn how to stitch holes in your clothing to avoid buying new items for yourself and your kids when you don’t need to.
- Evaluate your accounts. When you were a couple, you and your ex probably had certain kinds of banking and investment accounts. You don’t necessarily need to keep those as you rebuild financially after a divorce. It’s important to evaluate every part of your financial picture once you’re a single parent so you know you’re investing appropriately based on your new lifestyle and goals.
- Talk to your accountant. If you have an accountant, it’s a good idea to talk to them after your divorce to discuss your financial situation. You can explore your new tax situation, emergency savings, retirement planning, estate planning, and more. You don’t need to resort to selling jewelry here. It might even be worth considering finding an investment adviser who specializes in money management after a divorce.
- Work on building your credit. You might be tempted to rely more heavily on your credit cards after a divorce. But it’s important that you work on building your credit instead of digging yourself deeper into debt. The average FICO score nationwide as of April 2016 was 699 and the average U.S. household with a credit card has up to $8,284 in credit card debt. If you’re not careful, high-interest rates can keep you from being able to pay off your debt at al.
Children who are 12 or older are able to speak with the judge privately about their living situation preferences after a divorce. Whether your child chooses to live with you for most of the year or with their other parent, it’s important to take care of your finances to ensure your family is secure.
By following the tips above, you can learn to manage your money more effectively so you can worry less about your finances and focus more on starting a new chapter in your life as a family.