Divorce is never easy and when you finally get it over with and done, you face a new challenge – how to cope with so many things when you only have a single income? Your children need financial support, and perhaps you are paying for alimony. What can you do to make things work? Well, the first thing you ought to tell yourself is this: It is actually a blessing, for you actually do have an income. Yes, having an income after your divorce is a big thing – it can pays for all the things that you think you can’t pay. All you need is a plan to make things work.
Budgeting is the most important work that you need to do when you are supporting your children and yourself on a single income. Work out a realistic budget on everything that you need to pay for – the house loan, the utilities, the bills, the groceries, the children’s school fees, text books, daily expenses, etc. Lay everything on the table and get down to calculating how much you have for every single item on the list. Once you have the budget, you will have a better idea of what you are up against. With that, the below pointers should be able to help you figure things out smoothly.
The below work for both male and female who have a job, care and control of the kids and a roof over your head. It helps you to save wherever possible and you could put those savings into better use.
Change your Lifestyle
The first thing that you must do is to adjust your lifestyle to the income you earn. Previously, you are enjoying a lifestyle that a dual income can afford, but now that you are single again, you need to remember that your single income is now shared with the children. Cut back on lavish spending and readjust your wants and needs. A meal taken out of the house need not to be taken in a restaurant; you can enjoy a good meal at a hawker centre or a coffee shop with your children at a fraction of the price you will pay in a restaurant.
Lower your Expectations on Material Goods
If you are someone who likes branded goods, it is time for you to cut it back totally. A dual income family naturally allow you to indulge occasionally on branded things, but a single income that needs to take care of you and your children has no margin for branded goods. Cutting it all back will be a blessing for you since the money saved can be put into good use – like spending it on your children’s child care fees.
Start Cooking at Home on Weekends
Most dual income families will choose to eat out on weekends if they cook on weekdays. Some might even choose to eat out every day. We would suggest that you consider cooking at home on weekends if you cannot do that on weekdays due to work commitments. By cooking at home, you would save some money as buying groceries to cook at home is generally cheaper than eating out. Of course, you have to manage your expectations on the ingredients you choose – buying simple food for a delicious home cooked meal is the key to save.
Visit your parent’s home more often
If your parents stay nearby, it may be a good idea to bring the children to their place more often. It is especially helpful to you if your parents are able to support you and your children by providing one meal at their place on some days of the week so that you get to spend lesser on food. However, if your parents are dependent on you for support, do not stress them out by eating at their place 7 days a week.
Sell your car – if you have one
If you have a car, sell it. Start taking public transport to work and home. Train your children to take the public transport instead of sending them to school in your car. You can save a lot of money just by not having a car as you immediately save on season parking and petrol cost. Moreover, there is road tax and insurance cost that you will be saving too. Singapore has a good transport system (even if it does break down way too often) so make good use of it to maximise your savings out of transportation cost.
Socialise with friends and colleagues who understand your situation
It is tough to have a meal with friends or colleagues who are not sensitive to your situation. It is important that you do not overspend on your lunch when you are at work so that your saving efforts pay off. Therefore, choose your friends and colleagues wisely. If that is not possible, you might want to consider lunching on your own some days of the week to cut back on cost.
Cut back on entertainment
You may be someone who enjoy a movie way too often or someone who loves to visit the karaoke. Cut these out of your sight and focus on saving whatever money that you can. As long as you can keep these expensive entertainments at bay, you should be doing well.
Create free and fun things to do with your children
Your children may be used to hanging out in the malls with you and your ex-spouse in the past, but with your current budget, it is unlikely that you can afford to do the same every week. Try to create free and fun things to do with your children over the weekends, like going for a picnic at the beach, exploring the museums or building an imaginary castle at home with existing Lego bricks. If your children are older, you can gently explain to them that the circumstances have change, and they will have to make do with your love and your abilities. Usually, children will understand and appreciate your honesty.
All the above pointers should help you to save some cost so that your single income can sustain far better than you think. Try it out – you may be in for a big surprise when you realise that you can actually put aside some money for rainy days!