Beth recently divorced Brad and she is relieved to finally having the ordeal over with. Unfortunately, it has meant her moving into an apartment and having to rebuild her savings. Yet as she approaches her fifty-second year, she is grateful to no longer be in a loveless marriage. A point of contention was her two teenage children. Brad would agree to nothing less than joint custody. To avoid a drawn-out battle putting her daughter and son in the middle, she finally relented. Beth was also worried that her daughter might choose to live with her dad if it came down to it. Now that the holidays were around the corner, Beth vowed to make Christmas special again in hopes of bringing her family closer together. Including keeping up holiday spending.
For couples who recently divorced and are contemplating the holiday season, they may feel like they are in the same boat as Beth. A word of caution… Feelings of guilt around a recent divorce may end up setting you back financially as you try to make the holiday season special for your children. This could lead to disappointment when the holidays don’t go as planned. Ask yourself, can you afford to take on additional debt at this time? Is it the best course of action?
Christmas can bring on a lot of anxiety for many people, especially for recently divorced couples. With the expectation associated with the holidays, no wonder the holidays often fall short. Sometimes it is the pressure of wanting to recreate a happy Christmas memory for your children. Or it could be potentially trying to forget a particularly painful past Christmas. You can be sure that disastrous financial consequences will happen if you are not aware of the emotional toll the holidays can take on you and your wallet. Read on for the Top 5 Post Divorce Holiday Tips to keep your finances in the black this holiday season.
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Start A New Chapter
For many families, Christmas represents a time of tradition. Elaborate meals are prepared and served over the holidays. Also, many cultures will observe family traditions, or take part in certain activities. You may be tempted to go all out if you sense the emotional toll the divorce may have taken on your children. Don’t be afraid to start a new chapter for them. Especially if you simply cannot afford to observe the traditions you used to partake in with your ex. Think about the activities your children enjoy and try to include those activities in the new holiday routines. The good news: a new tradition can be created and build new memories that you and your children can share.
Time to Tighten the Belt
Getting divorced in a pandemic creates even more financial challenges. A recent study indicated that Canadians are experiencing more stress about their finances than ever before since the onset of the pandemic. Are you one of them? Perhaps you are concerned about the financial health of your business, or the security of your job since the pandemic began in March. Recently divorced and worried about your finances in the middle of the pandemic? Cut out as much needless spending from your budget as possible.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Add up all of the income you receive on a monthly basis. Write down all of the expenses associated with your new lifestyle. Don’t forget to add in expenses that may come up over the course of the year such as car repairs, maintenance on your home or car. Also, think through what you plan to spend on gifts such as birthdays and Christmas. Attach a number you are comfortable with spending for the year. You don’t want to blow your budget on holiday spending if you know you will have other gifts to buy for family and friends throughout the year.
Look at your budget to see what you can afford for holiday spending after accounting for all of your expenses. For example, if you plan to spend no more than $1000 a year on gifts and you spend $1000 on Christmas, how will you pay for the remaining gifts you want to purchase for family and friends? Are you prepared to go into debt and is it worth it? It is also a good idea to write down the gifts you are planning to buy this Christmas and add up how much they will cost to see if you’re on track as well.
Love Don’t Cost a Thing
Sometimes some of the best memories of the holidays don’t involve presents. Your kids may be grateful to be spending time with you and looking forward to happier times together now that the divorce is over.
There are plenty of activities you can do together that won’t create a big dent in your pocketbook. Perhaps dinner and a movie of their choice at home, or going for a Christmas hike, doing some baking at home- Showing love doesn’t always have to come with a hefty price tag. Many of us are recognizing this as we grapple with lockdown measures taking place during the pandemic.
Careful Clicking For Comfort
Online shopping has never been easier. Major online stores can have your holiday gifts sent to you in a matter of days already gift wrapped. In addition, you may have noticed that just searching for an item on google, may lead to your social media feed constantly showing you pictures of the item you are considering purchasing suddenly on sale.
Be mindful of your time looking at items online so you are not tempted to purchase extra gifts, not on your list.
You deserve to start the new year off with your finances in the black! Do let Holiday Spending set you back….