Handling Finances on Your Own After Divorce

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I walked out of the pawn shop with some much needed cash in hand, but feeling terrible. I had just hocked the beautiful twelve string guitar I had so lovingly played and cared for over the years. It broke my heart to part ways with it, but, it had to be done. Although I was working both a full-time and part-time job, I needed to eat at some point. My unwanted divorce was just as financially devastating as it was emotionally grueling.

When I got married, I married for life and never expected to have to battle financial hardships alone, so adjusting to this new reality was a very painful eye-opener. I was doing the best I could, but nothing could have prepared me for the extreme financial situation I was in. I knew frequenting the pawn shop was not a smart way to go and I could not afford a financial planner, so I was forced to just roll up my sleeves and fight my way through.

If you are divorced and trying to make ends meet, I’d like to share some tips with you I’ve learned over the years. Some of them render immediate results, some are more long term, but either way, these are things that can make a difference for you.

1.    Negotiate with creditors.

Many people believe that creditors are predators and sometimes, that’s true. But a lot of them understand financial hardship and are willing to work with you if you are honest and upfront about your situation. Personally, I spoke with every creditor we owed money to (credit card companies, utility companies, mortgage companies, etc.), to find out where I stood with each of them and it was well worth the time and effort. Most of them were willing to renegotiate a payment strategy which gave me some breathing room and helped me save my credit rating.

2.    Establish a realistic budget you can stick to.

Any of the financial gurus like the Dave Ramsey’s shows or programs  can help you with this, but oftentimes it can be overwhelming to try and commit to a program like that when you’re suffering emotionally, too. You might try Everydollar.com, one of Ramsey’s tools that can help you establish a do-able budget and get a grip on your finances.

3.    Take advantage of painless ways to save money.

If you are in extreme financial duress and have no cash left over after paying bills, there are some ways of saving money that are hardly noticeable in the moment, but provide a nice payoff in the long term. Savingstar.com is one of those ways and I encourage you to check it out. Use their site with grocery store loyalty cards. The money you save when you buy groceries goes into an account and accumulates, which offers you a nice payout.

4.    Find an additional stream of income that won’t interfere with your primary job.

These days, the internet provides extraordinary opportunities to capitalize on your skills and talents. Websites like Odesk.com, Toptal.com, or Freelancer.com offer ways to earn money in your spare time and bring in additional income.

5.    Don’t use your lawyer as a therapist or financial planner.

Legal fees rack up quickly, and with hourly charges ranging anywhere from $250 to $450, keep your conversations short and to the point. Don’t fall into the trap of using your lawyer as a therapist or financial planner.

6.    Try therapy by phone.

Therapist fees also rack up quickly and typically when you lose your spouse’s income, you also lose insurance benefits. If you are in need of therapy but can’t afford the office visit, you might find a therapist who will do appointments over the phone. This usually costs less and you’ll save on gas money and babysitting as well. A great place to find a good therapist who will do appointments by phone is at CatholicTherapists.com. Greg and Lisa Popcak’s Pastorial Solutions Institute also does phone counseling.

7.   Save every extra dollar.

Sometimes when you have some expendable cash, it’s great to treat yourself to something you can’t normally afford and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s important to live a little! Just make that the exception, not the norm. If you get in the habit of putting whatever extra money you have in a savings account, even if it’s a small amount, you can start building a financial cushion for yourself that can be used as an emergency fund or the start to a nice long term investment account.

8.    Remember that tithing does not go unnoticed by God.

Tithing may be a hard thing to do when you’re in financial straits, and it’s totally understandable if you don’t want to throw the small amount of expendable cash you might have into the basket. You might consider throwing the loose change you accumulate during the week into a bowl or jar and tithe each Sunday with that. No matter what you put into the basket, always remember that God sees every sacrifice you make and he will bless you for them. His generosity can never be out done.

Above all, remember that this is just one chapter of your life, and better days will come. You may find it difficult to get through this challenge but if you view it as an opportunity to grow, it will change you and make you a better person for the experience.



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1 Comment »

  1. Md Abdullah M. November 8, 2016 Reply

    Glad to know that. Nice post. Thanks.

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