After your divorce, your life has changed. Your expenses have, as well. Managing your finances now might look very different from how it did before—but it’s still smart to take a moment to get a realistic picture of your finances, set a budget, and save some money.
Maximize your income
You may be facing living on a reduced income. For the short term, find a way to maximize the money coming in until you feel more stable. This could be by selling your engagement ring, starting a side hustle, or asking for a raise.
Minimize your expenses
Get creative and think of more cost-effective ways to do what you love: If you love going to the movies, you can recreate the theater experience at home with popcorn and Netflix? If you love to read, why not download the Libby app and get books and audiobooks from your local library for free? If you frame minimizing your expenses as a challenge, rather than a chore, it can be easier to stick with it.
Update your accounts
Untangling your finances from your ex’s can seem too painful to even face, but it’s part of good post-divorce money management. If you haven’t already, cancel any shared credit cards. If you don’t have any credit in your own name, you can apply for a credit card as a way to build your credit score—just be smart about it. You may also consider removing your ex as a beneficiary on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and from your will.
This one can be difficult, but it will go far towards your peace of mind. If you don’t have an emergency fund equal to 3 – 6 months of living expenses, make that a priority. The faster you can get one, the better, but even putting away $50 a paycheck helps.
After you have an emergency fund, don’t forget to save for retirement. This is especially important for women, who tend to save less overall yet live longer than men. Your local credit union advisors can help you discuss different savings options.
Divorce changes your marital status—but it doesn’t change your strengths and abilities. As you rebuild your life, managing your finances well will give you the strongest possible foundation to move forward and achieve your goals.