What gives me the right to teach you about household budgeting? Well, I've been there and done that. And as the saying goes: "I've got the T-shirt." After 18 years of marriage, it was over. Why it was over doesn't matter. Whose fault it was doesn't matter. That was part of my "moving on."
It took me a while to get to this conclusion. I went through all the emotions — anger, fear, resentment, acceptance, etc. I lost a lot of confidence in myself ... if he didn't want me, who would? I spent a lot of time thinking about what happened, not so that I could place blame, but to understand and learn from it. 10 Lessons I Learned From My Divorce
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In the middle of this soul-searching journey, and being mother and father to my two young children, of course the bills had to get paid. How was I going to do a budget with only one income? How could I do this without drastically affecting the lifestyle my children were used to?
I have been saving for retirement since I was 18 years old, so that definitely had to continue ... monthly deposits right off my paycheck. Then of course, I needed to budget for the necessities — mortgage, heat, electricity, car, food, etc ... I was doing ok so far. I also, made sure I gave to those less fortunate. Again, right off my paycheck and only a few dollars if that's all I could afford at the time.
I was also sure to gave myself and my children a treat. Every year I saved all my income tax return money and from that, we went away for spring vacation. We all needed a break and rather than change my paycheck to pay more taxes every week, I learned to live with a little less so we could have a big payout at tax time.
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The single most important thing I did, my "Aha moment," to stay on track financially even though I was down to one income, was to be very frugal. I only went to the store if I needed something and only bought what I needed. If it was not a necessity, I talked myself out of buying it. I would always say, "Do I really need this?" If the answer was no, I did not buy it.
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