Living Without a Salary

How to reduce your expenses, so you can live without a salary!

Break-Ups Cost Money June 23, 2010

Sometimes, I wonder if people realize the economic cost of divorce. To say nothing of the emotional and mental costs…divorces hurt, and they hurt bad. It’s never a good thing when couples split up after being together for a long time. (It also hurts when they have been together for a short period of time, but that is not what this is about.) The pure cost of a divorce can be staggering, and it’s not just the lawyer fees and court costs–it’s life after a divorce that becomes expensive. If there are children in the mix, there’s child support along with everything else. Of course, if a couple has been married 10 years or more, the spouse not making as much money usually gets spousal support. Whether the other spouse wants to or not, this is what the law allows. Budgeting and planning during this time can really be a nightmare. Here’s how to keep your sanity, as well as some of your money.

Know Your Boundaries

There is a certain limit that all of us have when it comes to money and time. If you are not clear on these, there are ways to figure this out. First, you want to get very clear on what the plan is when you do split from your spouse. Are you going to live in an area that is relatively expensive, or will it cost less where you are moving to? If there are kids, are you going to share custody or will there be an unequal amount of custody? These issues will determine who gets what and how much. It will also determine how much you need to live on compared to your spouse. And if your spouse seems reluctant to share anything, it may be best to speak with a lawyer instead of your spouse. This will save time and your sanity. And if your income is low, you could seek out a volunteer or pro bono lawyer who could give you some guidance. You must be clear on what is happening before you move forward, or it could become a lot worse.

Set Clear Limits

This is not the time to stay silent on what you want. Make a list of everything you need, including some wants in there. Be clear in what you are expecting and what your limits are. This will keep you from being stretched too much financially. If you are the spouse that needs the child support and/or spousal support, get very clear on how much you will need to maintain a household and take care of everyone’s needs. Set limits on how low you can go, because the other person may want to give the least amount possible. Create a boundary that the other person cannot cross.

If you are the spouse giving the financial support, realize that you made a commitment many years prior to take care of this person for life. This does not end just because the marriage ends–you will end up financially supporting that person for life. This will cost you some money, but if you think of the time your spouse invested in you, it may seem only a pittance for that.

Resistance Does Not Work

Compromise may be difficult during this time, but it is not impossible. Tensions are running high anyway, but not giving in to even the smallest requests will turn the entire process very ugly. Determine what you need or can give, and then build on that. As a supporting spouse, you do not need to be so selfish that your soon-to-be ex and children are living in squalor while you’re living the high life. And as a supported spouse, you also do not need to be that greedy where you are demanding every single penny. There is a middle road where everyone can have their needs met and still maintain some semblance of order and normalcy in their lives.

Common Sense Tactics

During a divorce, probably the last thing you want to think about is money, but this is the cornerstone of life–at least until a better solution comes along. Money makes living life a lot easier, and it one of the things that, if each spouse has enough to meet their needs, can smooth over a lot of other issues. There will still be healing that needs to occur, but it’s one less thing to heal about. Be reasonable and use common sense in all your dealings, as this could mean the difference between constant frustration or finding some peace.


Living on $10 a Week?? December 17, 2008

Are you effin’ kidding me? Maybe 100 years ago, this would work okay. But today? In this sh*&ty economy?

Okay, I digress. I have been slacking off a little from posting here, mainly because I have been researching other people’s ideas on how they are able to eat on $10 per week. And I have seen some hellish, and then…not so hellish ideas. Some people swear by ramen noodles and hot dogs, while others claim that couponing is the way to go. Hey, at least some food is better than none, right? That’s what the prevailing consensus is on many of these sites. Well, I guess if you want to pay exorbitant health care fees later on, then what the heck? Go for it!

Other people aren’t so keen on those ideas, and have proposed that feeding a family of 4 on $30 a week is much more doable. And the menus they have proposed seem a bit healthier than they did on the $10 a week plan. (Oh, by the way–I should mention that these people were using $10/week for TWO people, so it was more like $5 per week for one person.) At least the $30 per week plan had fruits and vegetables, along with some good protein and dairy. And I could actually get behind $30 per week for a family of four, than I could $10/week for 2. Although, that is a bit hard to do either way.

The major point that kept slapping me in the face about all of this, though, is that no one was even touching the idea that maybe, just maybe, all the food-like stuff they are including in the menus are bound to make one need heavy and intensive medical care later on.

I should take a moment to point out here and now that I don’t subscribe to the “conventional”  nutritional ideas stemming from the 1980’s and beyond. Internet research, personal experiments, and other factors have led me to believe that maybe our evolutionary (caveman days) and recent ancestors (from the early part of the 20th century) might have had the nutritional thing correct. That animal fat is not the enemy…that cholesterol is our friend…and that grains and starches are what led humans down the dreaded path of obesity. Radical ideas, I know, but it is what I believe.

Anyway…back to my point. What people aren’t realizing is that when they eat the grains, no matter whole grains or not, and the starches, they are overly stressing their bodies to the point of breakage. The kind of breakage that requires thousands of dollars in medical care and treatment. Which then causes the body to break down even further. Listen…I know what it is like to be strapped for cash, and not know what to feed my family in lieu of what I hold dear in nutrition. It can sometimes be a huge struggle. And many people will probably blast me for saying this, but it has to be said. Buying fruits, vegetables, and high quality proteins aren’t that much more expensive than dinner in a box, or rice and beans…or even ramen noodles. Well, maybe not ramen noodles, but you get the idea. If you carefully plan your meals, and plan that you will only buy the foods that are healthy, then you not only save money immediately, you also save money in the long run by staying healthy.

Now I am not saying you need to go out and buy the most expensive meats, or the most exotic fruits if they are not in your budget. Goodness no! But, you can plan to get some type of meat that would be inexpensive and healthy. For instance, Wal-Mart carries 1 pound rolls of ground beef (I like the fattiest kind they have) for $2.28 per roll. Granted, that may seem expensive at first. But, if you plan an entire meal around the meat with items you may have on hand, or even with other really inexpensive items, your meal for a family of four will total to about $3-4 for the entire meal. If you have frozen veggies on hand, and if you buy an inexpensive bag of potatoes that will last for more than one meal, you will have a healthy dinner for 4 people. An example of this would be our dinner tonight. I made a meatloaf with things I already had on hand, plus heated up a can of peas, and made mashed potatoes. The peas were given to me, and the potatoes I already had on hand. (Yes, a starch…sometimes I don’t follow my own advice…but hey, I am learning, right?) The entire meal cost about $3.00 for 4 people.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a lot. But it does take some planning.

Oh…one more thing. If you are finding it hard to make ends meet financially, and cannot even afford to get decent proteins in your diet, let alone fruits and vegetables, you may want to see where you can cut other expenses to make up the difference. What good is a newspaper subscription, or a cable TV subscription when you are not able to eat healthily? Look at where you can skimp on some unimportant things, so you can put money into the more important items of life, such as your and your family’s health.