Skip to Content

Budgeting for the Holidays After a Divorce

sad man

After a divorce, the first holiday season is filled with many emotions, including stress, anger, sadness, relief, and even happiness. A major contributing factor to negative feelings during the holiday season post-divorce is finances. Following a divorce, money can be pretty tight, making it difficult to be generous to your loved ones.

Divorce and the Holidays

During the first post-divorce holiday, it’s not uncommon for newly divorced people to look for distractions, so they do not have to deal with their feelings. For some, this means giving out extravagant gifts or buying outlandish decorations. For example, if there is a new partner in the picture, it can be tempting to impress them through expensive gifts.

On the other hand, parents especially feel financial stress during the holidays. Often, they want to purchase more gifts than average out of guilt and an attempt to make their children happier during this challenging transition. This need to spend more to make the holidays special can wreak havoc on an already shaky financial situation. Here are some tips on how to create a divorce-holiday-friendly budget that won’t break the bank.

Evaluate Your Finances

Look at your current financial standing and determine how much money you can realistically spend on gifts this year. Once you have an idea of the total amount you can afford to put towards holiday purchases, create a budget, then stick with it. If you need to, create a spreadsheet with appropriate categories to track your spending. You could categorize by each person or by item types like decor, food, cards, or wrapping paper. Once you set your budget for each category, do not go over your set limit.

Do Not Use Credit Cards

It’s easy just to want to put everything on your credit card but don’t. It’s easy to spend what you don’t have, but you’ll dig yourself in a deeper hole of debt that will be more difficult to come back from. If possible, withdraw cash to make your purchases to see exactly how much you are spending. If using a debit card or check, immediately put the amount you spent into your spreadsheet.

Resist Trying to Compete With Your Ex

It’s human nature to want praise and be liked, and the same can be said for divorced parents. During the holiday season, it can be tempting to try to get the biggest, most expensive gift for your child in an attempt to be the “better parent” and get more attention from your kids. This is never a good idea though.

You’ll likely go over your budget and put your children in an awkward situation that creates an unhealthy mentality for them. Instead, aim to put your kids first by working together with your ex if possible. Coordinate on gifts, so you don’t purchase the same thing, or chip in together to get your kids a special gift.

Navigating complex child custody issues? Seek legal assistance from our skilled Bartow divorce lawyer today by calling Advocate Law Firm, P.A. at {F:P:Sub:Phone.}