Working with a post-divorce budget seems like a clumsy, uncomfortable idea — especially when you may have never done one before. But it’s incredibly easy to get started — and here’s how.
In today’s episode of Your Money Minute with Tracy Stewart, CPA, I want to share some helpful advice for getting started with your post-divorce budget. A budget seems so scary because it makes us get very, very honest about the money we spend. But working with a budget can be incredibly freeing, and you’ll find you have greater confidence about your finances and that you are able to stow away more money into savings.
So, I’ve already talked about how to capture your expenses for a month to get a good baseline for your budget. I want you to think about necessary and optional expenses you might need to account for when building your budget. A necessary expense would be your rent or mortgage, utilities and food. These expenses could fluctuate in cost, but they’re not going to go away entirely. On the other side of things, you will have optional expenses that can easily be reduced to help offset the outflow in your budget. Do you have to go to the theater every other weekend? Probably not.
Your inflow is going to be what money you bring in each month. This may come in the form of support from your divorce, a salary from work or any other situation where you’re getting money. Remember that your budget should reflect what you actually “take home”, not your pre-taxed amount.
The goal here is to make sure your inflow is greater than your outflow. It’s going to feel like a balancing act at first, but once you wrangle the numbers, you should get to a point where you have a little extra money at the end of your month that you can put into savings.
Financial independence is unbelievably liberating. Mastering your finances will give you total control and complete peace about your future — and that’s the kind of security and stability that will carry you through the rest of your life.
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