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Faced with the problem of how to live with less money, time and assets is like a Rubik's Cube®.  Solve one side and the other gets messed up.  At least for us beginners-

The point here is that this problem is a multi-sided puzzle that isn’t easy to figure out.  So, we put together some points on how to solve this little riddle without ripping your life puzzle apart and putting it back together bit-by-bit (which usually never works for life btw, but not bad for a Rubik's Cube®).

Side One

How to live with less of it.

How to cope with the financial consequences of divorce on an emotional scale?

Getting over the loss of 50% or more of your assets is never easy.  It makes you feel less successful and inclined to blame others for your loss.  The primary blamee' is obviously your former spouse.  She likely ruined your life (perhaps much like your mother used to when you were a kid) and bares a close resemblance to Satan's sister when it comes to getting what she wanted and leaving you and your assets in shambles.  Ya' she's a real financial ego killer.  

Well, this is going to be the most common advice for much of your loss, financial and otherwise.  Let her go and let the money and assets go with her.  Here's why.  They're gone.  You don't want her back and the money and assets are never coming back.  Even if you had cause to have your case reopened, which is rare, it's usually not financially prudent to do so.  You can't focus on your future finances if you're looking at the past and your losses.   The longer you're faced in that direction, the more loss you will incur in the future. 

Finally, you will eventually let it go.  Trust us, you will.   It could be a year from now or 30 years.  But guess which amount of time would be better for you emotionally and financially.  You think all that resentful garbage helps you? 

Why waste a single day longer mentally holding onto what you lost.  It blocks you from your happiness and is logically a waste of your energy.  At this point, you need to forget about what you had, see only what you have and use it to attain more.  This means, the past and present aren't easy to always accept, but they have the power to make you capable of achieving great things.  Allow your past to provide experience and wisdom to make better decisions today. 

How much did your education cost?

Look at the losses like a huge tuition for gaining that experience and wisdom.  Don't keep paying it.  Graduate!  And, have the sense not to enroll again by making more bad choices.  If you were smart enough to originally attain the wealth your ex took in the divorce, you're certainly more capable of attaining it again.  

That's how successful people stay successful.  They know how to take a punch, but they're smart enough not to take a second one and they never let the first one keep them down.

Side Two

How to live with less of it.

What can you do to overcome the financial challenges of having less money?

A divorce can be one the most financially devastating times you will ever face.  You often end up with less assets, less retainable earnings, less time and a higher percentage of household and financial responsibilities.  Group all that with the emotional tax on your mind and physical well-being; financial exhaustion can take over.  Here are a few tips to keep you on track or get your finances put back together:

-Get up and get going.  A second income is not only a way to get some extra cash, but the new job can give you a chance to meet new people, keep busy and release the negative feelings about your divorce.  It can be centered around a hobby that you enjoy to improve your overall well-being.  Even if you make as little as $30 a day for 5 days, you'll quickly have an extra $600 a month which could cover a car payment, insurance, child care or household utilities.  

-Get a new budget together.  Being on a budget will not only keep you from careless spending, but it can put your purchases in perspective.  When you start to see where your money is going and how much time you had to work to pay for each purchase, you'll start to rethink what you buy and how much.  Review your income to determine if added income is necessary.  Review you debts and spending ratios to come up with the amounts allocated to each.  Once you determine your spending amounts for things like food and gas, withdraw that cash for the week and monitor your weekly budgeted spending amount accordingly.

-Load a new budget app like Mint® and Goodbudget® on your phone for cash savings tips and a user friendly budget.  Coupon apps like Ibotta® and Groupon® are also a great way to save hundreds of dollar annually!  Some apps and programs have fees, so read their disclosures before signing up.

For more help, see our 2020 DMK Budget Series with helpful tips, apps and articles.

Side Three

How to keep more of it.

Save your money in clever ways.

Our spending psyche is on a simple plane.  This means we generally spend without a great deal of contemplation.  Even if you think you are a careful spender, you may need to think again. 

Few of us go to the store and analyze each item, it's value and longevity as if it was a major purchase.  Yet, most of our spending is on "small purchases".  When you wonder at the end of the month, "Where did all my money go?", it's likely not because you spent it on a big screen television (hopefully).  

So, it may seem like the budget beast could easily eradicate careless spending and make us more aware of every purchase.  But, this part of the puzzle is tricky because it seems as though our simple solution to the problem is to be more observant of what we buy in order to reduce our daily spending, but in fact, the way to fix this simple spending issue is to think less about saving it and use our careless spending as one way to save (more explanation later).

Life is not fixed and regimented.  We run out of things, run to the store, run late, pick up a coffee, need, buy, want, go, run, spend, spend, spend.  It can really get away from us.  While we may try to keep an eye on each and every purchase, it's likely we will eventually go back to our typical spending habits as the task to watch each and every purchase becomes time consuming and difficult.  To really get your savings hat on, you'll need to fix this beast the same way it dissolves your money.

Save when you spend

There are apps like Chime and Acorns that offer the programs that round up to the nearest dollar on every purchase and move the difference into a separate savings account.  Some banks like Bank of America offer this service, as well. 

Take a look at our article, DMK Best Automatic Savings Apps and get started!

Save when you earn

Take advantage of a pre-tax 401K from your employer if they match funds.  This is like free money, so contribute at least to the maximum of their match.  Have your money removed from your check for any investment accounts, if possible also. Both, saving when you spend and saving when you earn uses the "out of site, out of mind" philosophy.  Somehow, the fact that the money is auto drafted from your account, after each purchase or from your paycheck just makes this work.  It seems like you would be able to save the money just the same on your own, but really most of us don't. 

Save when you charge

Utilize cash back credit cards on everything you spend.  Try to keep these cards payed monthly so that you don't pay an interest rate.  This is ideal for work related expenses for travel and mileage if your employer allows you to use your own credit card and reimburses you for the expenses.   This will give you a great opportunity to save frequent flyer miles, points and cash back on your personal card, even though the expenses are reimbursed from your employer.

Side Four

How to live with less of it.

What can you do to make your new home more appealing with less furnishings and household décor'?

If your ex was the one that did most of the home decorating and furniture buying, it may leave your place feeling spartan.   We have some simple ideas to get it feeling like a home:


Get painting!  Start with a new warm color on one accent wall to really change the whole feel of the room.  

Accent Pieces

Add a few accent pieces like a lamp, ottoman and pictures instead of a room full of furniture.  The room may feel just as homey but more spacious.

Re-arrange Your Furnishings

Move your furniture around to give any room a fresh update without spending a dime.  You'll be amazed at how the atmosphere of a room can change!


Check out some resale or consignment shops for some good deals on gently used furnishings.  New to you, is new enough to make a difference!

Homemade and Home

Add crafts, wall shelves with pictures, bookcases, pillows and other traditional home decor if you miss a warm, homestyle environment.   

Updates are Good

Revel in some aspects of your place being a little different - change is part of living - make the home a new picture of who you want to be, not just who you were.

Side Five

How to live with less of it.

What to do when you have less time to get more done?

After spending 6-12 months going through a divorce, the idea of getting your game face on and being a super dad, employee and friend is less than attractive to you.  But, if you are looking for a woe-is-me here, well, not today, not this year.  You need to put time management as a priority on your list of things to stop worrying about.  The only way to get this one off your mind is to take control of your life, like your chasing the bulls instead of the bulls chasing you.  

You need to get your life turned around, away from the past and realize where you have less time to get basic things done like daily household chores, cooking and carpool.  Determine when you have extra time that leaves you falling short on things to do, people to talk to and places to go. 

Get serious about accepting your life is not just a little disorganized, but that it is a new life to give you and your family a new start at happiness, albeit different from the way it was, but happier.  It requires some thought and re-organization like you deliberately want to survive your divorce because you want your life to get better, not because you just needed to end something that failed. 

Let the failure go and employ a new strategy to get your time management back together so your life starts moving in the right direction.  It's never too late to make a difference!

Side Six

How to live with less of it?

Now you need to put it all together.  You need to emotionally let go of the past and the money that you saved and earned with your former spouse.  Everyday you carry the past around is one day less focused on what is really important, your present and future.  You need to focus on earning more, spending wisely and saving easily.  Finally, you need to continue to enjoy the comforts of what you keep and remember sometimes less is more.  In doing so you should continue adding the things into your life and home that reflect your personality, creativity and new lifestyle.   Embrace the changes as a positive start of a new you, moving towards a successful, positive future!


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