6 Smart Ways to Get Through a Breakup Without Trashing Your Finances
Are you recently single?
Join the club. (Just be thankful you didn’t experience it right at the beginning of Dry January.)
Anyway, you might be sitting on the couch crying with all of the lights in your apartment turned off. Or maybe you’re sipping champagne and painting your nails red (you do you, boo).
Either way, if you’re feeling confused, apathetic or just flat out have no idea what’s going to happen next, here’s something to feel relieved about: One thing you do have control over right now is your money.
6 Ways to Get Over a Breakup Without Going Broke
Even if you shared your finances, it’s still possible to take a step back and get them under control -- you just need to implement a smart plan.
Here’s how to keep your financial situation together when you feel like the rest of your life is falling apart.
1. Re-evaluate Your Budget
Now that it’s just you, you’ll probably need to re-evaluate your budget as soon as possible.
My ex and I split groceries and bills, so my expenses almost doubled without him.
On the other hand, if the jerk was a freeloader, congratulations -- you can now spend your money on something other than a waste of space.
By re-evaluating your budget, you can cut costs you can no longer afford and still manage to stay afloat without your freshly exiled human.
2. Think Twice Before You “Treat Yo’ Self”
We love the idea of treating yourself -- but we don’t love how expensive it can get.
If you want to indulge in something like a spa day, Michelle Hung, chartered financial analyst and founder of The Sassy Investor, recommends doing it at home.
She recommends doing facials with some friends, stating face masks “can just cost a few dollars,” and also recommends doing manicures or pedicures at home or at a friend’s house.
Also you don’t need to go out and buy elaborate material goods to feel better -- here are a few ways to treat yo’ self for free.
3. Put Down the Credit Card
After a breakup, you might want to go out and spend, spend, spend -- because you deserve it, right?
By all means, if you can afford it, do it -- but if you have to charge it, don’t you dare!
Financial coach Craig Dacy recommends figuring out what your budget allows you to spend and then going from there.
“If you decide $200 is something that makes sense in your budget, go and withdraw that money and keep it in cash,” Dacy says. “By having this money in cash, it is much more difficult to accidentally overspend because it is separated from your other money. When the cash is gone, you know that you have hit your limit.”
(Tip: If getting cash out of the bank is inconvenient for you, Hung recommends you purchase gift cards instead -- when they run out, they run out!)
Credit cards can potentially have limits of thousands of dollars, which can entice you to overspend. Try putting your credit card in your sock drawer until the initial shock of the breakup wears off and you’re back in a position to make steady financial decisions.
4. When You Feel Like Spending, Write
Aside from writing down how you’re feeling about your recent life changes, you could also try writing when you feel like going out and spending money.
Hung tells her clients to write when they feel like spending money, mainly because seeing the costs on paper can clarify that they may be heading into a overspend spiral.
“Writing down and actually seeing the numbers is a really big wake up call,” Hung says. “It’s the same as when you look at your credit card bill, and you see everything add up -- you might think, ‘Holy crap, did I really spend that much?’”
Writing down what you want to purchase before you actually do it can really put it into perspective for you. You can ask yourself: Does it fit into your budget? Do you really need these things? Are there cheaper alternatives?
It’s all about awareness.
5. Spend Time with Family and Friends
If you want to be around people during your healing time, make sure it’s with those who are close to you.
Your family and friends are the ones who can help you heal emotionally. In a time where you probably feel horrible, there’s nothing like sitting on the porch with your mom or going for a ride in the car with your best friend.
Talking is important during a healing process, and these are the people who want to listen to you.
Not only will they support you emotionally, these are also the people who might even be willing to buy you a beer or lunch without thinking twice. It’s okay to lean on friends every once in a while for these things -- just don’t become a freeloader!
On the other hand, make sure you surround yourself with people who will keep you both emotionally and financially on track.
“Choosing your shopping buddy may not be the best person to lean on during this time,” Dacy explains. “Find someone that understands your financial goals and will help you move on without giving you the ‘you deserve it’ pep talk in the checkout line.”
6. Sell the Stuff That Makes You Think of Your Ex
If you know they’re gone for good, what’s the harm in selling things they gave you or left behind?
You could profit off of last year’s anniversary gift or last week’s spontaneous purchase at the Sunday market.
If you’re ready to make some extra cash off your breakup, check out these ways to sell your ex’s stuff.
(Side note: Just be sure you’re emotionally ready to let go of those items -- that’s more important than making money from them!)
Your Turn: Have any secrets for how to get over a breakup? Let us know in the comments!
Kelly Smith is a junior writer and engagement specialist at The Penny Hoarder. Catch her on Twitter at @keywordkelly.