Valentine’s Day has come and gone, leaving many couples with the unfortunate reality that this simply isn’t working anymore. Whether you’ve dumped someone, been dumped, or come to a mutual agreement to split, there’s a reason why they call it “breaking” up with someone. Splitting up can be emotionally painful, but did you know it can also take a toll on your finances? Here are some of the ways that ending a relationship can cost you, and tips to help you deal with the expenses.
1) Shared Expenses Are Now Your Sole Responsibility
The more intertwined your lives were, the harder it will be divvying and separating any shared expenses. This can range from rent to phone bills to Netflix subscriptions. Costs that may have been split in half before will now fall squarely upon your shoulders. What’s the best way to deal with a huge increase in your living expenses, now that you’re flying solo?
Whether you’re moving out or staying in your current housing situation, finding a roommate can help to cover the cost of rent or mortgage payments. If that’s not an option, you can consider moving to someplace smaller or more affordable. Sometimes getting a fresh start in a new place is the ideal way to get over a breakup. If you own your home, you can also consider refinancing to take advantage of a lower interest rate, or selling and finding a new house to call your own. For your other expenses, consider what’s truly necessary (you’ll probably need a phone plan, but shop for one that’s affordable. It can be helpful to cut back of the streaming subscriptions, however). With some careful planning, you can keep your expenses from rising too much after a breakup.
2) “Treat Yourself” Spending Feels Like a Necessity
Ask anyone what the standard remedy is for a breakup and chances are, they’ll tell you “Ice cream, junk food, and fun new purchases.” Maybe that’s a luxury brand of clothing or the new video game you’ve been eyeing. When everything else feels awful, it’s common to try to fill the void with food or objects that make you feel good. However, it’s best to not let that spending get out of hand – don’t go out and buy a brand-new sports car, for example. So how do you keep your “treat yourself” spending in check?
In the midst of heartbreak, it can be hard to worry about your budget. However, leaving your credit cards at home can help protect you from impulse buys when out shopping. Giving yourself a daily spending limit can be useful, and would allow you to buy that extra candy bar but not that new television set. You can also set a savings goal for yourself, to give you something to focus on and look forward to. For example, tell yourself that you’ll go on a self-care vacation once you’ve saved up a certain amount. Saving for a pre-planned goal is more financially responsible than booking that vacation on impulse.
3) Therapy to Help you Process and Heal
Depending on what your relationship was like and the aftermath of your breakup, sometimes therapy is necessary as part of the healing process. Counseling has many proven benefits, including finding more satisfaction in yourself and your interactions with others, gaining a sense of well-being, and being happier overall. That being said, it’s not always an easy process, and on top of the work that you put in, it can also be expensive. So, what steps should you take if you want therapy?
First, see what your insurance will cover. Most insurance plans offer some form of coverage for mental health services. If you have a high deductible, see if you can pay for counseling through a Health Savings Account. You can also check if any local or community services offer free counseling or support groups. If you find a therapist that you like, you can also ask if they offer payment plans. And while it’s no replacement for therapy, you can also consult self-help books, podcasts, and apps, many of which you can get for free online or through your library.
4) Legal Fees for Divorcees
If it’s not just a relationship, but a marriage, that’s ending, you may also need to factor legal fees into your budget. Just filing for divorce can be hundreds of dollars, and the more complicated the divorce is, the more you’ll need to spend on attorney fees. Depending on your situation, this could be hundreds or thousands of dollars that you just don’t have. So, what should you do if you need to get divorced?
One way to avoid having to pay for a divorce lawyer is attempting to file for divorce by yourself. However, you can also ask an attorney for a free consultation, where you can then work out how the lawyer will be paid. Some services also offer pro-bono legal help. The messier the divorce, the more likely you will need a divorce lawyer, so trying to settle things amicably through mediation or arbitration can also be a beneficial route.
As with all hardships, it’s important to remember that this too shall pass. No matter how you’re feeling in the moment, eventually being post-break up won’t be so difficult anymore. Once things are feeling normal again, consider other ways to help improve your budget, such as watching out for these common money mistakes!