Divorce, Debt, and Finances

Tips, Struggles and Successes navigating Divorce, Debt and Finances

The “Sticking” Budget

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Every aspect of divorce is difficult no matter how you look at it, especially when it comes to your finances.

Let's face the facts:

  • The “Sticking” BudgetYou have gone from two incomes to one.
  • You are no longer "splitting" expenses with someone.
  • Your rates on insurance are likely to rise.
  • And you probably got stuck with some debt from the divorce...sigh.

The best way to get yourself on track is to create a budget; that's the easy part.

The hard part is actually "sticking" to it.

Sticking to a budget takes work and sometimes we are to distraught, busy, or simply don't know how to stick to the budget we created.

The problem with most budgets is that they are set up with unrealistic expectations.

We are so focused on paying down debt, building an emergency fund and our retirement goals that we set the bar to high and subsequently fail leaving us discouraged.

So most importantly be sure your budget is realistic in terms of what you make (your income) and how you live day to day (your lifestyle).

5 Tips to help you Stick to Your Budget

  1. Track expenses.  Who has time to write down everything they spend? You do! This is a key component of sticking to your budget. By tracking every expense you are more "accountable" and at the end of the month you can see where you went wrong or what you did right. To make things easier try an internet-based free budget planner like budgetpulse.com.
  2. Check yourself.  Periodically throughout the month you should "check in" with your budget. Maybe your "overspending" in one category can be made up for in another.
  3. Spend less than you earn.  This is the easiest way to stick to your budget. Find little ways or make minor adjustments to keep you out of the red; that way if you go rogue one month and spend over budget you won't have to charge your groceries.
  4. Treat yourself.  If you are so vigilant in sticking to your budget that you don't allow yourself a lunch out once a month, eventually you will crumble and possibly binge by ordering take out every night the following month. Just like dieting, budgeting requires you to treat yourself now and then to things you have given up. Believe me the $5 footlong is not going to bust your budget as much as a month's worth of carryout.
  5. Set a goal.  It's funny how we can trick ourselves into doing things. We all want something to strive for and that's a good thing! So to reward yourself for a job well done at budgeting consider paying yourself. (See the $5 challenge)

Sticking to a budget doesn't have to be painful. The important thing is to set up a realistic budget that works for you.

Your hard work will provide valuable information that helps you plan your expenses better and keep you from whipping out the plastic!

What tips do you have for sticking to your budget?

More From Divorce, Debt and Finances:

Kids and Money - What Message Are You Sending?

Are You Still Responsible for Debt After Divorce? 

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly...Your Credit After Divorce

Suzanne CramerSuzanne Cramer

Suzanne is a certified credit counselor and a Social Media Specialist for CareOne Debt Relief Services. Suzanne writes for Divorce, Debt and Finances and A Straight Talk on Debt. Follow Suzanne on Twitter @ADivorcedMom  and @AskCareOne where she shares her insights on divorce and managing your finances.

              Download a Free Budget Planning Template

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