Wise Divorce Advice During Trying Financial Times

It’s always a wise thing to be smart about money, unfortunately, brains and intelligence has nothing to do with money, especially for women. I am a smart woman, and I KNOW the basics of what I am suppose to do vis a vis money. I’ve been a business owner, yet I know money is an emotional issue for me as it is for many others.

I can look at my childhood and understand why money equals love for me. But really, who cares? I’m a grown up now and it’s time to take charge…yet…I want to have a temper tantrum and kick my feet when I truly don’t have enough money to get what I want. Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever spent money you know you don’t have? Have you lived a lifestyle beyond your means? Do you have credit card debt? Did you argue with your spouse about money issues?

We know all about keeping up with the Joneses; wanting “stuff” that other people have. That has been our set point here in the US.  Now, as a result of the fallen economy, we are starting to look at things differently. We are taking pride in “simplifying” our lives.

Almost two years ago, I had the opportunity to live in Costa Rica for 3 months. I didn’t have much money and lived simply. No car; I walked ½ mile to wait for the bus. I had to schlep groceries home. There were no fast food restaurants. I ate whole, healthy foods. I had to cook all my meals. I lost the weight I struggled for years to get off without even trying. I wrote a book, created classes, meditated, floated in the water and read books. It was a time to go inside for me, and inside I went.

I wanted to keep that lifestyle going when I returned to the US. Truthfully, it is way harder to do all this here in the US. We have our cell phones, internet services, facebook, fast food in every direction, cars, kids and schools, work, employers, looking for work, and a barrage of political and economic crap coming out of our TV sets. I could not stay 100% on track, but there were important lessons I learned from that experience, and I am honored to share them with you.

So, you want to slow down and actually live differently? Can you do that here? YES you can, but don’t expect to do it all at once. As a coach, I often suggest that people take small baby steps and I had to take my own advice. Here’s a list of steps I’ve come up with, and I know they work because I’ve incorporated them in my life. Maybe you can choose to do ONE step a month, so that step becomes a habit. And I’d love to hear your suggestions, what works for you? Let’s share our ideas!

1. Before you purchase something you like, choose to wait 24 hours and come back for it the next day. You’ll often find that “thing” you wanted isn’t so important, and you’ll save money and have less clutter in your house! I really am a spontaneous shopper and if I feel broke or like I can not afford it, I want it even more. I love the power of, “I’ll think about it and come back tomorrow if I really want it” rather than the disempowering thought of “I can’t afford it.”

2.  If you are in need of new clothes, ask a friend who is your size if you two could shop in each other’s closet for something ‘new’. We do this all the time for our children, let’s start recycling what we already have. Maybe you could even have a clothing exchange party…don’t forget to include purses and shoes and necklaces and earrings!!! And you have the extra bonus of respecting yourself more for being so “green.”

3.  Give to someone less fortunate than you. Divorce is a great time to be more giving. Clothes, food, bedding, toys, look around your house and decide what you really don’t need and let it go. Giving helps you feel ‘wealthier’, clearing clutter from your house gives you more freedom and space as well as emotional clarity.  Less clutter allows you to breathe and feel proud of your home environment.

4.  Volunteer for something. It could be time at your kids’ school, help administratively at your local hospice, or veterans group, raise money for a cause you love; just do something where you give of yourself. In these more difficult economic times, non-profits are also suffering as you can imagine. Giving of your time not only helps them, but it reinforces what is really important in your life, YOU, not the money!

5.  I always hated the “budget” idea, even though I know it’s good. Instead, institute a “spending plan.” Be creative, you can even make it into a pie, looking at it through the percentage lens. For example, what percentage of your income goes towards food, housing, car, utilities, etc. If you can, put 10% away in a savings account for emergencies. That added security can certainly give you additional peace of mind.

6.  If you already have a spending plan and realize you don’t have enough money to meet your needs, take action. Sit down with a trusted friend or family member if you can’t afford a great financial advisor, and figure out where you can cut back. Don’t fret about it; look at it as a challenge to overcome. Go into ‘problem solving’ mode rather than ‘whoa is me’ mode. Tell yourself it is temporary and take solid action steps that will make a real difference. For example, kids really like eating lunch in the school cafeteria, but we know the food is usually crap. Send them with healthy lunches instead and it’s fine to tell them we are all cutting back right now. Teaching children fiscal responsibility is a good thing!

7.  Asking for help. Gulp, I know you HATE this one, but you are willing to give, right? So it’s equally important to be able to receive, it’s the flow of the universe, giving and receiving. If your income is low enough, see what programs are available. Maybe you qualify for food stamps or unemployment or medical aid or the school lunch programs or grants to go back to school for retraining. Be an investigator and see what help is out there. If you have teenagers, encourage them to earn their own money for clothes. Asking family members for help once in a while is better than going into deeper debt on credit cards. Remember to be grateful from your heart and pay them back when you can.

8.  Acceptance is a beautiful thing. We can despise our situation and fight it and be miserable, or we can accept that this is the way things are. You know how when you fight and push against something you create all this resistance and struggle? Stop struggling and accept the situation. Ask, what is the learning or gift in this for me? Why did I choose this? OK, you are saying you did not choose this divorce, and my response is that on some level you did, or it would not have happened. Ask for spiritual guidance if you need it. Use this time to learn to forgive yourself and your ex for where you are today.

9.  Become an entrepreneur! If you are unemployed, this is a great opportunity to become your own boss. There are plenty of stay-at-home parents who earn income to support themselves. What do you LOVE? Are you really good at something? Is there a product or service you are completely ga-ga over? Start really fantasizing about how you can turn what you love into your own business. Start a campaign to educate yourself about what entrepreneur’s do. What qualities or skills do you need to learn? Start learning them. There are tons of articles, tele-classes, webinars and on-line classes. Check out your local community college or small business administration for even more classes.

10. Move your body! I know this may sound silly, but getting up and out of the house is really important. Lack of self-esteem may be the number one factor in stopping you from stepping into the life you are meant to live and from becoming the best you can be. You don’t have to join a gym, but it’s great if you can. Have a ‘move your body partner’ and support each other in stretching, yoga, walking, running, whatever you like to do, just stop making excuses and start doing something today.

I love this list! Don’t you? What would your life be like at the end of one year if you did one of these each month? Wow!!! Can you hold your head up high and say powerful, competent, in charge, dynamic, check me out! Yep, that’s me!

Lori Rubenstein has transformed her life and will help you transform yours. A former divorce attorney, she is now a life-after-divorce coach, mediator, author, retreat leader and teacher.  Her mission is to help others heal from the hurts caused by relationships. She is the author of Transcending Divorce: A Guide to Personal Growth and Transformation. She can be reached at 928-634-0252 or through her website www.TranscendingDivorce.com.

2 comments

  1. I’m glad that I found your website and blog. It seems like a great resource for many that are in need of information about divorces. Do you offer opportunities for lawyers or firms to place links on the site. If so please feel free to contact me. I look forward to more posts.

    Thanks!

  2. Yes Joy, I’d be glad to post a link if it’s appropriate. I have some attorneys who have my book on their coffee table, it’s good for clients to read while waiting.

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