Updated: Dec 11, 2022
The holidays can be a tough time for anyone, but if you're going through a divorce, they can be especially challenging. Not only are you dealing with the emotional stress of the end of your marriage, but you're also facing the potential financial fallout. You may be wondering how you are going to afford to buy gifts and travel to see family. From dividing up assets to figuring out who will claim the kids on their taxes, there are a lot of things to think about—and that's before you even start holiday shopping.
If you're dreading dealing with your divorce finances this holiday season, this blog post will give you some tips on how to manage your finances during the holidays after a divorce.
1. Get organized
The first step is to get all of your financial documents in order. This includes tax returns, bank statements, investment account statements, and anything else that will give you a clear picture of your current financial situation. This can be daunting, but it's important to have a good understanding of your assets and debts before you start negotiating with your ex or start spending for the holidays.
2. Make a budget
Once you have a handle on your finances, it's time to start budgeting. If you're used to having two incomes, this may be a bit of a shock at first. But by being mindful of your spending and making some adjustments to your lifestyle, you'll be able to stretch your dollars further. Remember, this is only temporary and it will get easier in time. Budget planning is one of the first things the Financial Sherpa and Divorce Coach Sophie Helenek has her clients review.
Knowing your finances and your plans will help. Once you know what your holiday plans are, you can start to make a budget. This will help you stay on track and avoid overspending. When making your budget, be sure to factor in things like travel expenses, gifts, and any additional costs associated with hosting guests.
3. Stick to your budget
It can be tempting to overspend during the holidays, but it is important to stick to your budget. Remember that the holidays are just one day and that there is no need to go into debt just for one day. If you find yourself struggling to stick to your budget, there are plenty of ways to save money during the holidays. For example, you can make homemade gifts instead of buying them, or you can travel by bus or train instead of flying.
4. Be mindful of gift giving
Speaking of holiday gifts, try not to go overboard—either with your spending or the number of gifts you give each person on your list. A few well-chosen presents will mean more than a bunch of stuff that ends up getting regifted or collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you can't give great gifts! Get creative and think outside the box when it comes to what you give your loved ones this holiday season. Instead of buying presents, why not make homemade gifts or give experiences instead? Consider getting tickets to a show or concert for your kids or making a coupon book full of free babysitting
services for your friends who are also parents.
Divorce Coach, Sophie Helenek recommended to one of her clients that she give the gift of future travel.
She found this especially helpful since she knew her finances would be better by the summer and gave herself and her teens something to get excited about in the future.
5. Communicate with your ex-spouse
If you have children, you may already have a Parenting Plan and Schedule. If you do not have a plan yet, you will need to come up with a holiday schedule that works for both of you. If possible, sit down and iron out the details before the craziness of the holiday season sets in. You may talk to your ex at some point about things like holiday gifts or decide if you are doing your own thing. If you don't have children, you may still want to talk to your ex-spouse about your plans so that you can avoid any potential conflict. It is also important to discuss how you are going to handle financial matters such as a gift giving budget if you are still in the midst of your divorce.
6. Seek professional help if needed.
Finally, if you're finding it difficult to cope with everything that's going on, don't hesitate to seek professional help from a therapist, counselor, or coach who can offer guidance and support during this difficult time. This is probably one of the hardest things for anyone going through a divorce to do—ask for help. Whether it's asking your family or friends for financial assistance or simply reaching out for emotional support, admitting that you need help can be tough. But it's important to remember that there's no shame in asking for help.
The holidays can be a tough time for people who are going through a divorce. However, by following these tips, you can manage your finances and enjoy the holidays despite the challenges. Remember to set and stick to a budget, get creative with your gift giving, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. With some planning and effort, you can make this holiday season one to remember—for all the right reasons.