Whether you are in a stable marriage or are looking at a possible divorce, the fact is life can throw you a curve ball in an instant and leave you on uncertain ground. This is especially true for the spouse who has stayed at home to care for the kids while the “bread-winner” handled all the financial matters, from weekly paycheck deposits to balancing the checkbook.
If you no longer have the in-house accountant watching the books, would you know how to care for the family funds? It’s time to make sure you have some basic understanding of good money management habits.
Get your own credit card and use it
If you are in the process of getting a divorce, it’s time to apply for a credit card in your own name immediately. It doesn’t matter if this card has a low limit, but what matters most is that you get one. It will help you build a credit score independent of your spouse’s spending history. Make regular purchases with it and pay off the balance every month.
Learn how to verify banking transactions
You will need to make sure that you are not spending more cash than you are bringing in each month. Whether you use online banking tools or a traditional checkbook, sit down every week and make sure you know exactly how much money is available and where it went.
Establish a rainy day fund
Start putting a little bit cash to the side every week. It can be as little as five dollars, but it will get you in the habit of saving. When the dishwasher breaks, you’ll have some ready cash to pay for a repair without having to add more to your credit card balance.
If you are in the process of getting divorced, ask your family law attorney for advice on who to contact for some financial coaching and start your new life off on the right foot.