Many people see the time immediately after a divorce as the time to reinvent themselves. They go on a shopping spree, get a new car, and completely ignore principles of fiscal responsibility. It's understandable. This is your chance at a new life of freedom and fun. After years of suffering in an unhappy marriage, the phrase "[Expletive] it, it's Vegas" seems to rule your world.
Go out and buy that mid-life crisis gift. This is a time to celebrate, reward yourself, and figure out who you are as a single person. However, adhering to some, if not most, of these principles will keep you from putting yourself in an inescapable pit of debt.
Fix Your Accounts
Take your ex's name off of your bank accounts. Same goes for your credit cards. How about your insurance policies? Have you adjusted those yet? This will all need to be done as soon as possible. Considering how much your ex sucks, you really don't want to die in a horrific accident in a month and have your ex-husband end up in a new Ferrari. Speaking of untimely death, have you adjusted your will yet?
Stick to a Budget
It's easy to say. Our parents have always told us to stick to a budget. But with online shopping, quick trips to Starbucks, and other random small expenses, you can find that bank account draining faster than you ever experienced while married. If you ex handled the finances, you might want to consult a financial planner in order to ensure you don't ruin your credit. Your sugar mama's gone. Plan accordingly.
Reevaluate Your Discretionary Spending
AT&T's charging you $120 a month for your iPhone plan. Your cable and internet bills combined are almost $200 per month. The little bills add up. Consider cutting the cable and subscribing to online video streaming. As for your cell phone, prepaid plans can result in unlimited talk/text/web for as little as $45 per month from companies like StraightTalk, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile. Sure, most of them have fewer phone options, but some of them allow you to bring your old iPhone. Do the research. It could save you $50 or more per month.
Avoid Guilt Spending
You have kids. They are sad about the split. A simple solution is to try to quell their sadness with toys, video games, and a new iPod. Don't. Drowning them in material goods isn't going to help the transition, nor is it going to help your bottom line. Even if your ex is spoiling them, don't succumb to temptation.
- Consult a Chicago Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- How to Change Your Name During and After a Divorce (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)
- Fixing Your Finances: Get a Postnuptial Agreement (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)
- Learning From Seal and Heidi: Tips For Dating While Divorcing (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)