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Smart Spending and Money Management

February 22, 2024

After my divorce and as a financial advisor, I've seen firsthand how the transition to a single-income household can be overwhelming, and how managing finances effectively becomes more crucial than ever. In this post, I want to share some practical tips and advice to help single parents confidently navigate this new financial landscape.

The first step in smart spending is understanding your new financial situation. It would help to examine your income, expenses, assets, and debts post-divorce. Here's a link to a tool I give to my clients to use in getting their financial information organized.  Creating a detailed budget is key. It helps you see where your money is going and where you can cut back. Remember, a budget isn't set in stone; it should evolve as your circumstances change.

It's critical to have an emergency fund. Life is unpredictable, and as a single parent, you're the primary safety net for your family. Start small if you need to, but set aside a portion of your income for unexpected expenses. This fund will give you a sense of balance and confidence and protect you from having to dip into savings or use credit cards for emergencies.  Setting money aside is more important that paying off credit card balances at first--liquidity is your first defense against unexpected expenses or income interruptions.  Work towards having 6 months of your income set aside in a savings account.

Now, let's talk about managing daily expenses. It's all about getting the most out of every dollar. First, track your spending. You might be surprised to see where your money is going. Small, regular purchases can add up quickly.  Use your online banking app to categorize regular transactions, and save the category for all past transactions.  Then, look at where your money went for the past 3 months.  This step will be enlightening.

Avoiding impulsive purchases is crucial. Intentional spending leads to intentional savings.  It's easy to give in to the temptation of retail therapy, especially during stressful times. However, impulsive buying can quickly derail your budget. Before making a non-essential purchase, give yourself a waiting period to decide whether it's something you need or just a momentary desire.  Have fun shopping online--but make a rule that you hold items in your shopping cart for at least a week before completing the purchase.  Sometimes, you'll be surprised when these items go on sale for a lower price than when you orginally selected them.  Score!

Investing in yourself is also a smart move. This could mean furthering your education, learning new skills, or attending workshops, leading to better job opportunities and higher income in the long run. Remember, investing in your financial education is equally important. Understanding the basics of personal finance, savings, and investments can significantly impact your financial well-being.  Check my Events page regularly--I hold educational workshops regularly at no charge.

While dealing with the day-to-day financial demands, it's important to maintain sight of the future. This includes intentionally saving for your retirement, travel, large purchases and for your children's education.  When your liquidity needs are met, savings can be accelerated by investing in an appropriately allocated portfolio.  I'm happy to help you assess your individual situation and to make recommendations for appropriate investment options.  Schedule a consult with me here.

Navigating finances as a single parent post-divorce can be challenging. Still, with the right strategies and mindset, managing your money effectively is possible. Remember, smart spending isn't just about cutting costs; it's about making informed choices that benefit your family's financial future.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, feel free to reach out for help. As a financial advisor, I specialize in assisting women in situations like yours. Together, we can create a financial plan that works for your unique circumstances and creates a success path for your independence.