The effects of a divorce can be devastating. My divorce had a huge impact on my performance at work and turned my personal life upside down. Relocating, no longer living with my children, and just trying to move on were difficult ordeals to be endured.
Life after divorce entails a number of processes, but these are mostly singular activities; once you accomplish them, they are over. Finding ways to save money after your divorce, however, is ongoing. The economic impact of divorce can keep your life from returning to normal, and alimony and child support can add significant expenses to your monthly finances. Fortunately, there are simple ways to trim your budget.
1. Donate or Sell Unused Items
Once your divorce is final, there are going to be a number of items in your house that are no longer needed. These items might include a wedding ring, extra computer equipment, unneeded furniture if you are downsizing, and wedding gifts.
Don't let your emotions get the best of you and simply discard the items. Instead, turn unwanted items into cash. Sell them online, or have a garage sale. You can also donate the items to charity to receive a tax deduction.
2. Decrease Deductions Withheld from Your Pay
After the divorce, you will have to change some of your tax filing information. Take this opportunity to decrease the number of deductions taken from your pay. This will increase the amount of your take-home pay.
If you receive a large refund check every year because your deductions are too large, you may be giving the government an interest-free loan on your money throughout the year. Increase your take-home pay as soon as you can!
3. Spend Less on Groceries
There are many ways to save money on groceries now that you are shopping for a changed family structure. Use an online coupon website to receive discounts for the items you purchase the most. Buy generic items instead of name brands. Most of the time, there is a negligible difference in both taste and quality.
Shop at more than one grocery store to take advantage of reduced prices for sale items. And be sure to sign up for customer loyalty discount programs. These programs can save you money every time you shop.
4. Save Money on Utilities
Lower your utility bills by turning down the thermostat at night before you go to bed, as well as before you leave for work each day. Turn the lights off when you leave for work in the morning, and unplug any devices that are not in use.
In addition, unplug any devices that are rarely used during the day. These appliances, even if they are not actually "on," are still burning energy. Use power strips to quickly and easily switch off appliances.
5. Reduce Your Cell Phone Bill
There are many creative ways to find a cheap cell phone plan. Now that you're divorced, you may not need as many minutes or may no longer be part of a family plan. Call your provider to discuss changing your plan to save money. Investigate and compare plans from other providers to save even more money on your cell phone bills.
6. Trim Your TV Plan
I was able to save almost $30 a month by paring down my cable TV plan, saving nearly $360 annually. Many people are canceling their cable altogether, and instead streaming movies online through inexpensive on-demand video providers like Netflix. You can also borrow films from the library and view many TV shows and movies online for no cost at all.
7. Re-evaluate Your Insurance Needs
Due to these changes in your living situation and finances, your insurance policies may need to be changed or updated. Maybe you need renters insurance, or to update your auto policy, or to change the beneficiaries on your life insurance, or perhaps you now need additional life insurance coverage. Your Trusted Choice ® independent agent can walk you through your options and help you find the best policies for your new life.
Divorce can be emotionally devastating, and it will be a definite period of adjustment for your family. It's time to move forward and determine how you're going to factor child support and alimony into your monthly budget. Focus on your personal finances and save wherever you can.
Do you have any suggestions for additional ways to save money following a divorce?