Turning your financial situation around after your divorce takes discipline and smarts, but the most important move is always the first step. But like anything in life, especially with the travails of divorce, that first step is always the hardest. However, as the women of our community that have now made it through their divorce will tell you, once you start taking more and more steps, little by little, things do get easier. The same can apply to your financial health.
Here are a number of simple tips, which although may seem obvious, will help you start regaining control of your financial situation:
Research purchases carefully. Use the internet to find the best products and to identify the lowest cost suppliers.
Spend in a disciplined manner. Buy only what you've budgeted.
Pay attention to coupons. Yes they're a pain, but they actually do save money when used for planned purchases.
Take public transportation instead of buying a car. At the very least, carpool whenever possible. Just one day of car pooling weekly helps automobiles last up to 20% longer, and also lowers other transportation costs too.
Track all spending. Keeping a spending log will open your eyes to "holes" in your budget.
Barter baby-sitting services with friends and family.
Carry your snack to the movies instead of buying there. Popcorn — at $4.50 a box and Coke for $4.75 a cup — are bad for your wallet, or your date's. Carry an apple and bottle of water in your purse instead. You'll save big bucks for you and make a great impression on him.
Organize a weekly "night-in" with your friends as opposed to going out. Take turns hosting, but require each guest to bring food to share with the group.
Pack your lunch. Carrying twice a week lowers costs by 40% a month!
Buy soft drinks in bulk and keep supplies in your desk at work instead of buying drinks at the café.
Drink tea at work instead of coffee — keep bags in your desk.
Pay cash instead of charging. At 18% APR, a thousand dollars in revolving credit results in almost $15 in interest in just thirty days. In a year, that adds up to $180 of your hard earned cash!
Buy insurance from one company to get a multi-policy discount.
When buying clothes, select separates that coordinate.
Buy pre-owned cars instead of new. Cars are depreciating assets that loose the highest percentage of value in the first three years. Buying a pre-owned "factory certified" car often results in a great deal. But remember, research your purchase carefully first and choose a car that is known for reliability and retaining value.
5 Financial Actions to Take Before You Even Think About Divorce, by Certified Divorce Financial Planner, Lili Vasileff
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Brian Kilroy is a FWW supporter and retired Vice President of MBNA America Bank, N.A. He directed the Financial Advisory Service, an employee assistance, credit education and lending unit servicing MBNA employees worldwide.