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  • Writer's pictureHarper

Budgeting is Your Friend

We talked about getting your bank account set and separating your finances, now let's figure out an ongoing budget. It's going to important that you get a plan in place now that you have only one income. Even if you make a lot of money, it's important that you know what's coming in and going out.

Since you printed your bank statements for the last year (ahem, did you read our post about Banking?), you have a good idea of what your expenses for the year are. Now, sit down with them and make a list .. use a pen and paper, plug it all into an excel spreadsheet, whatever works best for you. Be sure the list includes all of the essentials, and a few of the fun items. Here's an image of a generic budget to give you some idea of where to start. Some of us have more income and expenses, some less. This is just an example. But, the majority of the items found on a monthly budget are represented.

I get it if you don't have money leftover, I didn't either. You'll get there. Odds are high that you have some costs that can go away until you get on-track with monthly expenses. When I went through our expenses on bank statements I found several places where I could save money: cable TV (if you just can't stomach getting rid of it, go to a lower plan); cell phone, combine with your parents, or take advantage of new customer deals at a different carrier; car wash monthly expense; daily Starbucks stops. There are always places to cut.

Before you get a bright idea to sell all the things ... don't ... unless your agreement is final and the stuff you are selling is yours by decree or agreement. That is a way to raise cash for stuff; BUT, it isn't cash you can count on long-term, so use it for an extra-curricular activity for your kids, or Christmas gifts. Just don't put it in your budget as a sustainable income stream.

When I was first out of college, my mom taught me to make envelopes for stuff. I had envelopes for everything! Rent. Eating out/Activities. Groceries. Gas. If you think that will work for you, make some for your family. It's easy to explain to kids that the envelope with activity money is empty when you turn it upside down and nothing falls out. That said, be sure to put some in the activity envelope each week, even if it's a dollar! We all need some down time. We've got a new found love of Steak'n'Shake .. coupons and all .. because the three of us can get out of there for $10 including tip!

IF your budget doesn't work. Don't panic. Take a step back, have a friend you trust come over and go through it with you. Often you can work with utilities or providers for a budget plan. Sometimes there are programs to help, check with your state for help for lower income families, or talk with your church to see if they have a fund for temporary assistance. You'll get it handled, I promise.




Disclaimer...Two Divorced Girls is intended to share our experiences in the hope of saving others pain and misery.  We are not doctors.  We are not lawyers. We are not providing professional advice.  If you need professional help, you won't find this here and please look elsewhere. By using this site you  agree not to rely on us for those services that can only be provided by licensed professionals.

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