One of the toughest times in my life was when I was going through a divorce. I’ll spare you all the details, but I went through a divorce in late 2012-early 2013. This was a tough time for me emotionally and financially.
I was a full-time student with only a part-time and suddenly my household income was slashed over 65% when my then-husband and I separated.
Unfortunately, I was the one left with the more expensive rent and living costs to pay for as I had to stay in that location to finish my college degree while he elected to move to a different town with a much lower cost of living. College towns always have higher rental rates and other costs, and I was really feeling the pain of having to pay for our apartment on my own.
During the divorce, I chose not to pursue spousal support or any other monetary claims as I just wanted the process to be as quick and simple as possible, so part of my financial trouble after my divorce was definitely of my own making. But even still, it was a tough time to weather. Here are some things I did to help keep me afloat during this tough time (some good and some bad). Below is how divorce affected my finances.
Good: I took on Another Job
I was taking 18 credit hours at my university and working approximately 25 hours a week Monday-Friday at a government office. The pay was very good compared to the jobs that most of the college students I knew had, but it still wasn’t enough to keep me afloat financially. I took on an additional job on the weekends to help make ends meet.
Bad: I Didn’t Change My Spending Habits
Instead of finding different and cheaper hobbies, I continued to do the same things I had done while I was married. I felt lonely a lot and spent nearly $100/month on movie rentals to keep myself occupied and to supply background noise for my apartment. Now I know that I should’ve checked out movies for free from my university library, the public library, and done more streaming via Netflix since I was already paying for that service anyway.
Neutral: I Got a Pet
We all know pets can be expensive and therefore you should consider your budget and financial situation before you get a new pet of any kind. I made an emotional decision and got a kitten shortly after my ex and I separated. I still have her today and she has been a great companion to me. I don’t regret adopting her, but I definitely should have considered my finances more first.
Bad: I Started My Spiral into Credit Card Debt
After my divorce was when I got my first credit card. At first I was pretty responsible with it and paid it off each month, but then slowly I started charging more than I was able to afford each month. I used my credit card to go to the movies, to go out to eat, and to buy new clothes all to make myself feel better, and in the process I wrecked my finances.
There are many, many other ways that divorce can affect your finances, these are just a few of the ways getting divorced impacted mine.