Spend Money on Things That Bring You JoyNov 08, 2023
No matter where you are in the divorce process you may find it is a difficult, expensive, and at times exhausting process. Everyone says you have to BUDGET and be careful with your money. Don’t spend on unnecessary things! Keep an eye on every penny! Don’t use that credit card unless it’s an emergency!
And those are wise guidelines, but it’s also important that we not completely deprive ourselves of all the things that make life fun. You’re working hard and keeping things together for you and your kids during a difficult time. You need to have things to look forward to and you need to find ways to keep things fun!
You can manage your spending, but also spark some joy to help you get through what may be one of the most difficult times in your life.
So…. completely depriving yourself of the things you enjoy is a recipe for disaster. I know it’s common for the “budget everything” crowd to tell you that you have to eat rice and beans until your debts are paid. That you can’t eat out until you have every last bill paid. That you should be ashamed of getting your nails done when money is tight.
Now I’m not saying you should go out and spend recklessly. No. You have to be financially responsible. But at the same time, this “deprivation” mindset is depressing and unsustainable. You need to have a the fun things here and there to help keep you motivated and just have a more positive life experience.
Here's what I recommend to help you budget, use your funds wisely, and also give yourself the joy you need to keep moving:
- Prioritize What Truly Matters: Identify the things or experiences that genuinely bring you joy and prioritize spending on them. It might be traveling, hobbies, dining out, or even purchasing items that mean something to you. Know what you MOST want to do, and put that at the top of the list.
- Budget Wisely: Create a budget that allows for occasional purchases that truly bring you joy, while keeping in mind your current financial reality. You probably can’t do the things you love ALL of the time. But you can make a plan to eat out once a month, or take that trip next year, or get a pedicure on your birthday.
- Avoid Impulse Purchases: This one can be difficult, particularly in divorce as you are under a lot of stress. However, when you can avoid impulse spending you will have more left over for the things that truly matter to you. Planned spending works better than off-the-cuff purchases that trash your budget for the whole month.
- Quality over Quantity: During divorce and post-divorce, your financial outlook and future can look drastically different than what you anticipated. This is an ideal time to consider quality experiences and items over quantity. If having a fancy coffee at the corner coffee shop truly makes you happy, you don’t have to eliminate it all together. Maybe instead of getting one each day, you get one a week. You haven’t completely eliminated it from your life, you’ve just come up with a way to enjoy it without spending as much money. And that occasional treat will probably taste even better than the one you had every day.
- Save for Future Joy: Saving money to go on that dream vacation or purchase something that may even feel out of reach at this time, can be very rewarding as you navigate your divorce. Having a goal and dream in mind can help you save for your "bigger" joy items and experiences to come. You have your whole future ahead of you!
- Consider the Experience: Consider spending on experiences over material items. As you are trying to build new positive memories for yourself, having experiences with those you care about and love can often do more to bring you joy than items.
- Daily Joy: Finding things in your daily life that bring you joy. While being mindful of your budget, consider daily or weekly experiences that you can indulge in to give you joy. It does not have to cost money or be a big purchase for it to make a difference for you. A simple coffee with a friend once a week can be a lifeline when you are going through a difficult time.
While divorce can have deep impacts on your life, there are ways to experience joy during this time and it can help you build the future you DO want to experience.
Do you need help with planning and creating your budget? I have a free resource to help you begin planning now. This resource will allow you to take the guessing out of your living costs and get a handle on your finances today. Plan for your current and future joys. Click here to get my Home Budget Worksheet.
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