Breaking up is hard to do. It’s emotionally draining and can affect you for months and sometimes even years. But the one thing you might not have considered is the financial struggle to get back on track after a relationship ends. There’s no question that living together saved you both money, so it stands to reason that living apart will cost you more. Here are some of the areas in which couples’ money situations are likely to change after they’ve gone their separate ways and some suggestions for getting things under control.
Rent or bond repayments
For couples that were living together, the greatest financial difficulty after separating is covering the cost of a roof over each of their heads. While you might not need as much space as you did as a couple, covering the cost of a home on your own will surely stretch your budget.
Make it easier on yourself: Share with a friend or move back in with your parents, if their circumstances allow it, or rent a room in a shared house until you get back on your financial feet.
Your electricity and water bill
While your water consumption will probably be neatly halved, you can’t light half a room, and you’ll be covering the costs of your electricity usage all on your lonesome.
Make it easier on yourself: In South Africa right now there are loads of great reasons to reduce your electricity and water consumption (empty dams, the increasing cost of power), so check out a few tips and tricks to save yourself a small fortune, and help save the planet while you’re at it.
Replacing half the household stuff
If you’d been living together for a while, and filled a kitchen with utensils, a lounge with furniture and appliances and a bedroom with a bed, you’re going to have to start over – probably by buying half the things you need to stock a home.
Make it easier on yourself: Make a list of the bare essentials that you need to restart your single life and buy a couple of things each month, while saving up for the bigger ticket items. Browse second-hand and charity shops for great bargains. And when you move into a new place, you can hold a housewarming and ask a friend to keep a list of all the things you need, and let other friends know what they can get you.
Eating for one
People’s eating habits change when they are single. On the one hand, you might find that without a partner to spend every mealtime with, you just snack more and spend less. On the other, you may eat out or buy more takeaways at a greater cost when you live alone. So if you realise that food is costing you a lot more since the breakup, start looking for ways to cut your eating expenses.
Make it easier on yourself: Make a weekly food budget and make sure you stick to it. Plan your meals and shop once a week, remembering to use up your leftovers at work or the next night. Once you’ve spent all your week’s food money, stay at home and eat what you have in your kitchen cupboard.
Keeping yourself entertained
There’s no getting away from it: it’s just not nearly as much fun staying home when there’s only one of you. To keep yourself from dwelling on your recent split, you’ll probably find that you want to get out of the house as much as possible. But that can deal quite a blow to an already battling budget.
Make it easier on yourself: Plan carefully. Invite friends over for affordable fun at home (or at your local beach or park). Allocate certain nights to staying in and catching up on your favourite novel or TV series – or even studying something. It’s important to enjoy yourself, but it’s also important not to go bankrupt in the process.
The high cost of dating
When you’re ready to get back on the dating wagon, you’ll find that it costs quite a lot of money. Sure, once you’ve settled down with someone, you can enjoy budget meals and movies on TV together, but when you’re in the early stages, chances are that you’ll go out for dinner and to the cinema more often. And you’ll probably want some new clothes and nice shoes to make a good impression.
Make it easier on yourself: Don’t date to impress. Make it a challenge to yourself and your date to find cheap and cheerful activities to try out. The best impression you can make isn’t being a rich person; it’s being a decent one. Find a date who appreciates you for who you are.
Living the high single life
Don’t let your cure for a broken heart empty your bank account. One of the most important parts of recovering from a break-up is getting back on your own two feet, and a critical aspect of this is being financially secure. Make your decisions with this in mind, and you should find that you are on the road to making a full recovery – both emotionally and financially.