Divorce is taxing emotionally, physically and, yes, financially. Most people going through a split have half – or less than half – of the resources they are accustomed to, often necessitating some cut-backs.
In addition to having less revenue, the cost advantages of coupledom (family cell phone plans, combined utilities) quickly dissipate with a divorce.
Below are 7 suggestions for lowering your expenses during this difficult time.
Lunch at a restaurant can easily rip a ten-spot out of your wallet – which, day after day, will really pile up. If you want to spend that cash eating out, save it for dinners out with friends or, when you’re ready, a date.
With gas at $4/gallon, a bus pass could save you serious change – and some employers offer vouchers for public transit (plus you get to feel lean and green!).
Shelling out three bucks a day for Starbucks translates to almost $100 a month… and how many coffee-holics only drink one a day? Instead, brew up your own pot and take a megacup to work.
Thanks to Hulu, most of your favorite network shows are readily available on the internet almost as soon as they air. Other channels (like PBS) stream programming from their website. If there is a specific show you must watch that’s not available for free, buying the episode through iTunes often proves more cost effective than a monthly cable subscription. Swapping trips to the movie theater for a Netflix subscription can save you a lot of cash as well.
There are a lot of fun things to do for little or no money. Public parks provide places to explore, picnic and play sports; many museums offer discounts and free days and libraries run a number of programs and are especially great for people with kids.
I know. Budget. Ick. And you’ll never stick to it. No matter. It’s important to have one regardless. A budget makes you conscious of the amount you’re taking in and the amount that is going out. Give yourself a lot of wiggle room and be realistic about what you WILL spend, not what you’d LIKE to spend. You may also want to consider going on the budget plan for certain utilities – by paying a fixed amount throughout the year, you may be able to avoid getting socked with a huge heating bill in December.
No, you don’t need to go out and frantically clip coupons from the Sunday shopper, but Groupon and Living Social provide daily deals that may save you some bucks. Just make sure you’re not buying coupons for things you wouldn’t normally buy at all.
Katie Fetting-Schlerf is a Seattle-based writer who hopes to never use the divorce advice she gives above, as does her husband.