Yes, it can be done. Long after you settled your legal bills (if any) and split everything including the pets, potted plants and the paintings you abhor, there might be extra cash laying around somewhere.
Here’s how I found some:
- Cell phone bill – Depending on your arrangement and if it makes sense savings-wise, take him off the family plan. I did. He was overseas-bound anyway. Savings: $33.00
- Cable bill – I’m not big on sports and do most of my pop culture catch-up online or on Netflix. So this downgrade was a no-brainer – from the entertainment package to the no-frills-I-don’t-have-time-to-watch-TV-package. Savings: $15.00
- Auto insurance – One less car in the garage meant one less car to insure. Savings: $27.00
- Health insurance – As we went our separate ways, so did our health insurance coverage. Savings: $50.00
- Miscellaneous memberships – I also took him off of our auto club membership, among others. Savings: $25.00
Total savings: $150/month*
Now, now, I’m not saying you should all leave your spouses or significant others in order to save some money, and live the rest of your lives in money-savvy singledom. That is not my point here. My point is: there’s a way to see the silver lining when something heartbreaking happens, as was the case for me.
My other point is: there’s always a way to “trim the fat,” in your family or personal budget. You have to look and you have to look really deep. There are always trade-offs. In my book, I talked about a close friend who wanted to be healthy again and join a neighborhood gym. She initially thought she couldn’t afford it. So I helped her think it through, mentally going over her budget items line by line. She decided on her own that she could forego the twice a month cleaning service she’s been enjoying for years.
Other ways I became money-savvy:
Big batch cooking – I love to cook so I never considered this a chore. On weekends, I would cook big batches of food and just reheat them during the week. Most week nights are a mad dash at my house – from school to sports to school events to work events. So having cooked food is a blessing. We arent’t tempted by last-minute runs to the store or family favorites like Chipotle or the hole-in-the-wall Mexican place. Experts estimate that the average American family spends $225 a month on eating out. More on this subject in future columns from this closet foodie, as I share some favorites.
Growing my own produce – So the fruit trees in my backyard are “hand me downs” from the previous owners. I can’t take credit for my bi-annual citrus harvest. I do nurture those trees. But vegetables are another story. I have been planting my own tomatoes, zucchinis, cauliflower, squash, onions and broccolis for a few years now. One summer, I had a neighbor who had an abundance of sweet corn and cucumbers so we swapped produce. Pretty sweet deal, I would say. In certain towns and cities, I have heard of coops where people bring in their surplus produce and swap with other like-minded individuals. I love the concept and will look more into this later.
*All savings are approximations.