Silent Preparation Series- Part II – Signs You Might Be Living Outside of Your Means

Silent Preparation Series- Part II – Signs You Might Be Living Outside of Your Means

Silent Preparation Series- Part II – Signs You Might Be Living Outside of Your Means

 

How do you even know if you’re living outside of your means?

 

If no one taught you how to manage money – just that you needed to make some – you’re reading the right post. It is my hope that you have useful information for yourself and can provide more tangible knowledge to the younger generation after reading this.

Here’s why…

As I was growing up, I often heard the message “don’t live outside your means.” I heard this phrase a few times a year until I was about 21-ish.

My default response was always “Hmmm, mmm OK”, when really I had no idea what the heck that even meant.

At the time, I didn’t even have any means to live outside of! 

I definitely didn’t know what to ask about this elusive piece of advice. “Hmmm, mmm OK”, felt like the appropriate response.

Download our Ultimate financial resource guide to get started on finding the right resources to work on your financial game plan or share this with someone who may need it.

After I turned 21, I started hearing the phrase financial freedom a lot. Yet another elusive phrase!

Meanwhile, guess what? I didn’t know what financial freedom meant either, but it sure did sound good.

After some hard life lessons, I at least learned what it meant to live outside of your means. I damn near became the poster child for it.

Before you start reading about those lessons, you have to agree to a couple of things. 😉

Seriously!

First, no pity parties.

Second, no self-deprecating thoughts about yourself. It’s safe to not be perfect.

Finally no judgment – of ME!

Wait, did you think I was talking about you this whole time?😁

Nope!  I’m getting ready to share some vulnerable stuff with you. 😊

Now back to the poster child thing: 

Too much credit card debt…✅

Couple hundred dollars in savings but more than a couple of hundred in expenses… ✅✅

Very little contributed towards retirement…✅✅

Dependent on every single paycheck – Jackpot baby! ✅✅❗❗✅✅❗❗

To top off all that financial unsexiness, I also learned that living outside of your means was the kryptonite for financial freedom. 

Who knew!?!

I couldn’t even reach financial security, so financial freedom was a mere pipe dream for me.

If you can relate to some of this, you’re in the right place, because I learned how to fix all of these challenges.

Getting back on your feet and maintaining a reasonably normal financial life is possible after a divorce. 

You may be thinking, “Look Nikki, I just want to make sure that I can keep food on the table, a roof over my head, and enjoy THIS new sense of freedom that may be coming my way after my divorce.”

Oftentimes, we think about putting together a budget as the first step. While that step is critically important, I want to show you a deeper perspective.

By the way, if you’re one of those parents or family members bestowing the “don’t live outside of your means” advice to some unknowing young lad or lady, note that it’s the equivalent of giving a pacifier to a starving baby.

I beg of you on bended knee!

It’s time to fill in the young person with the real meaning behind this message.

Above all, if you don’t have the time to teach them, connect them to some resources.

Heck, you can just send them the link to this post so they can read it 😋

Furthermore, if you can relate to 2/3 (or 66.67%) of the items listed below, you might want to re-strategize your own financial game plan and take some action.

You can change how you manage your finances. It’s easier than you think.

If you’re thinking, I don’t really have a financial game plan – well just steal the items below.

I’ve shared some vulnerable moments about myself already. The moments when I messed up once, or even worse kept doing it over and over again.

I share these anecdotes in the hopes that it will help you see that I’m human, learn from my mistakes, and most importantly take impactful action.

Let me clarify something. I’m not perfect by any means. 😉

However, I practice self-compassion often to reduce my therapy bill, and to remind myself that we all can come back from missteps. 

Sooooooo, let’s start with uncovering the “living outside your means mystery” once and for all.

Of course, the list is not exhaustive but you’ll definitely get the gist.

Just because 1 or 2 items apply to you doesn’t mean there is a major issue in your life.

You could be going through a temporary hiccup or some other exception warranted transition. So please, no angry emails if this is the case! 

Also, please don’t take any of this too personally.

See my 2/3 comment above to know if you might want to worry a bit though.

10 Signs We Might Be Living Outside Your Means (“we” because we’re in this together)

  1. Our household can’t afford to miss one or two paychecks (I’ve definitely been here).
  2. Inability to save regularly. Saving 5% of our monthly income feels unattainable.
  3. The full mortgage loan (not payment) is more than 3-4x our annual household salary.
  4. Our car note is above 15-20% of our take-home pay.
  5. Revolving debt (credit cards or lines of credit) does not revolve (aka the limits are typically maxed).
  6. We consistently borrow money from family & friends, payday loan stores, or other high-interest options (and we might not pay them back).
  7. We run out of money at the end of EVERY month.
  8. Bills are paid late on a regular basis.
  9. Bank accounts are constantly overdrawn.
  10. Our monthly clothing & shoe expenses exceed 10% of our monthly net income.

 How do you feel after reading that? Did you start to feel overwhelmed as you read each line item?

Uncomfortable… at peace… angry… sad… any of those emotions would be appropriate and completely normal.

It’s super important to remind you that thinking “yep, that’s me” for a couple of lines is not a terrible thing. You may not be living outside of your means, you just might be struggling to manage your money in general (which is a different thing).

In many cases, it could purely be an income issue. There are plenty of situations where we just don’t make enough money to cover the basics, so a different approach is required.

However, if you read the list and thought holy crap… The FIIRM has been spying on me 😊 trust me, we haven’t but we understand you.

Either way… no worries, chica. No worries at all.

Before you get too deep on the other side of your divorce do some of the upfront homework to alleviate some of these stresses. 

Download our Ultimate financial resource guide today to get started on finding the right resources to work on your financial game plan or share this with someone who may need it.

We’re here for you if and when you need us.

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a certified divorce financial analyst, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.2

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.2

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.2

 

AReal Life Divorce Story w/ Brandie Olson

 

 

Introduction: Have you ever heard the phrase some people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime? While I didn’t create the phrase, it makes perfect sense to me. A divorce doesn’t make you a failure or a quitter. It’s quite the opposite, in most cases. These “love” stories will focus on the courage, lessons, & perspectives of everyday women (and some celebrities), to help you on your journey. Join me while we get in their business a bit. Listen to the real-life divorce story of Brandie Olson.

Guest: Brandie Olson resides in Minnesota and is focused on being happy and raising well rounded kids. She prides herself on her determination and letting nothing stand in her way. She is currently finishing up her BA in Criminal Justice. She already has a couple of two-year degrees, works full time, and has a side business doing photography. She just bought a home for her kiddos to grow up in and is finally focusing on herself.  She can be found hanging out on Instagram @brandie.nicole1619 

 

Nikki: I like to start these interviews by asking a simple question to help the audience connect with you. What’s your favorite movie?

Brandie: Wow – interesting question. Hmmm… can we come back to that?

Nikki: Of course! Let’s dive right in then. When did you start your divorce process and when did you finish?

Brandie: I’ve had 2 divorces. 

I married my high school sweetheart. We were married for 5 years. Got divorced in 2017. It took about 3 months – no arguing – no attorneys – no fighting in court. 

For the last one I filed with the court in Jan 2020. Originally we agreed on everything. We didn’t have attorneys at first. 

Then he changed his mind. The judge rescheduled our court dates when we couldn’t agree, so I got an attorney and he represented himself. My attorney worked as a mediator so she redrafted our agreement and went back to the court in June 2020. 

I guess 6 months isn’t too bad. It could have been worse, but it was stressful because he was manipulative. My stress levels reduced after my attorney got involved. I knew I needed someone to step in because I carry my heart on my sleeve and can’t always hide my emotions. He cheated on me and there was just a lot going on. 

Nikki: So you felt better having an attorney?

Brandie: Because my attorney was speaking for me, I felt 100% more confident. I knew I could focus on taking care of the kids. 

Nikki: How old are your kids?

Brandie: I have a 4 year old boy and a 1 year old girl.

Nikki: What state were you in when you divorced?

Brandie: Minnesota – Ramsey county. 

Nikki: Did you consider another divorce method?

Brandie: We were planning to go to a mediator but never got around to going to one. It’s important to note that I had a judge that was only with the county for 6 months and disagreed with what had been decided. The judge was pro dad and I’m pro dad too, but I wasn’t prepared for that! 

I was utterly shocked at how he responded, and you don’t realize how dependent you are on the judge you don’t even know to make decisions for you and your kids. I just wasn’t expecting that. One minute he agreed to our terms and then the ex changed everything in court and the judge agreed with him. It’s not like I was a danger to the kids. I think I may have a speeding ticket but that’s about it – so I definitely wasn’t putting them at risk. It was shocking though.

Nikki: What are your thoughts on alimony & child support?

Brandie: I think child support is fair based on how the state calculates it.

 

“Different experiences with both divorces but I’m the one who lost money with both divorces.” 

In the last one, we had only been married for a year.  I was marrying a doctor and last year he was in school and his salary is totally different now. I gave up my entire savings because he was going to be a doctor, so I used my money to buy our house. I saw it as an investment then. 

The judge wouldn’t consider alimony because we weren’t married for a year. Having the time frame should not be there when you’ve spent money like I did. I lost my entire savings putting it in the house. But I was mainly fighting for the kids. 

There was no money there in my first marriage. We just went our separate ways. 

Nikki: So do you think your settlement was fair?

Brandie: Not fair at all. My ex is emotionally draining. I just needed him to go away. My sanity over money was worth it to me. My lawyer was willing to go to bat for me, but because of the length of the marriage and the judge, I would have spent more money with the attorney and it didn’t seem worth it. 

Nikki: Good point. That’s a lot to deal with. What was your biggest learning lesson?

Brandie: Get an attorney for peace of mind. It’s just less stressful. 

I’m currently learning more about self love – get yourself some counseling to love yourself and know what you deserve.

“Women end up in shitty situations because they think less of themselves than what they should… less than what they are.” 

It’s part of the reason I am where I am and I’m only 29. 

Nikki: Would you remarry? Would you ask for someone to sign a prenup?

Brandie: I’m old fashioned when it comes to love. I don’t think I would marry someone if I had to ask them for a prenup. I’m not against marriage because I believe in love. I don’t have a lot of money right now so my idea could change. 

But I guess I never thought about it. I guess it’s something I might do. I struggle with thinking about divorce – looking back, a prenup would have helped me. 

Nikki: Yes a prenup could have helped you get your fair share. How were your kids impacted?

Brandie: My youngest was 6 months when I moved out. 

I made sure in the beginning until we could establish a routine, to use Facetime. When she was away at each other’s houses we were Facetiming every day. Now we may only do it once a week with her. 

For my son, it was harder. It hurt because my second husband became my son’s best friend, and when we separated it became difficult. My son is an emotional kid, and now it’s kind of amplified and he’s acted out a little bit. 

We’ve been separated since last November but my son still asks for him. His biological dad is still in his life though. I asked my ex-husband to sit down with him and talk to him. He told him that my feelings were hurt and mommy was sad, and we aren’t going to be together anymore. Kids are smart. It can be hard when my ex is Facetiming with our daughter and not my son. 

Nikki: Tell me about your new house purchase.

Brandie: I’m a very determined person. I come from a background where I’m used to being disappointed by people I love, but my past and childhood have prepared me for heartache.

When I decided to leave, I was a stay-at-home mom and in school (I quit my job last year to take care of my daughter). When I found out about him cheating, I packed up my stuff and I applied for 80 jobs in one week!

I look at it like this  – what would I tell my daughter to do? If her heart is broken and she wants to leave – I’m going to help her pack and leave. We had to move into my friend’s basement… I didn’t care. 

“Two months after finding out he was having affairs, I found a house near my grandparents, got a new job, and am finishing school” 

2 months after finding out he was having affairs, I found a house near my grandparents, got a new job, and am finishing school. 

Nikki: That’s awesome. What are you majoring in?

Brandie: My first degree is in photography (I actually do photography on the side). I have an associate in Criminal Justice & Crime Analysis and will have a Bachelors in Criminal Justice. 

Nikki: That’s pretty amazing! You should be very proud of yourself!

Brandie: It’s hard some days but I keep going forward.

Nikki:  Do you think your ex was in your life for a reason, season or a lifetime? Here’s how I look at it . A celebrity like Gwyneth Paltrow would probably say “lifetime”. She will always be friends with her ex and they plan to be present in each other’s lives.

However, Tina Turner might say “reason”. When it’s for a reason it’s usually because you learned meaningful lessons, experienced growth or have bonds that tie you together. The relationship is definitely unforgettable.

Kim Kardasshian might say “season”. Short term relationship with her 1st husband and there’s nothing that ties them together. You probably learned some lessons but you’re really no longer connected.

So based on that where do you think you fall?

Brandie: I would say they were there for a reason.

 

“I wish they were relationships and not marriages, but they were there to toughen me up.”

In my 1st marriage we both came from bad household situations and were together for 11 years. We used each other to comfort and support each other. He was there when I needed him – I was struggling and we leaned on each other. No regrets.

In the last one, he showed me how I deserved to be treated – love letters, gifts, taking care of the kids… if you take away the cheating, he was like a cookie-cutter Lifetime-movie husband. 

I didn’t know that existed and that people were capable of treating you like that.

I needed to see that and be shown that someone can treat me that way if I find that right person.

I wish I would have waited and not gotten married and didn’t get cheated on, though. 

I wrote a poem about my life and I’m hoping it helps women realize that even when we get dealt shitty cards they can make it. It’s kind of long. I’ll read it to you. 

*Brandie reads her poem to me and I love it. Super personal and powerful.* 

I have that movie now – Silver Linings Playbook – I’m obsessed with Jennifer Lawrence. 

Nikki: Cool! Definitely not your traditional romantic movie. 

Brandie: Yes – that’s why I love it!

Nikki: It’s been awesome talking to you and hearing your story. Your poem is so powerful and vulnerable. I’m going to share it with the readers. 

End of Interview

If you want to be featured in our Reason, Season or Lifetime series click on the link HERE to share a little bit about yourself. We want to share different types of love stories to help as many women as possible. We want to share your real-life love / divorce story. 

 

 

 

Brandie’s Poem

We all have our problems,

perfection doesn’t exist.

Normal isn’t a thing,

just listen to this.

Born 6 weeks early,

Dad, 19, mom 17,

didn’t last long, they were only kids.

Love you dad, see you on the weekend,

Mom and I are on a whirlwind.

Now I have a stepdad, 

yeah I care about him.

He gave me a brother and sister,

but I’m still a little bitter around him.

Smash, crack, pop, things are breaking,

holes in the wall, legs are shaking.

Glass on floor,

take my brother and sister, 

shut the bathroom door.

We all know I can’t sing, 

but they didn’t care. 

Sitting on the bathroom floor,

living on a prayer.

It’s morning, 

everything’s fine.

Mom says don’t worry kid, 

go to school and shine.

At the bus stop, 

no kids in sight.

He’s coming closer, 

asked me where I live,

I’m too little to fight.

The bus comes around,

and now he is on the run.

Grandpa finds out, 

grabs a shotgun, 

puts it in the car.

We drive in circles,

can’t find him,

 but he left a scar.

We all have our problems,

perfection doesn’t exist.

Normal isn’t a thing,

just listen to this.

In the 4th grade, 

got a call,

Mom caught on fire and isn’t doing well at all.

3rd degree burns, 

living with grandma and grandpa.

10 years later found out she did it to herself, 

God mom, 

the pain you must have felt.

Let’s run away to a new town,

only for the problems to come back around.

Me, my brother and sister building a snowman, 

I hear the bang,

tell them to stay,

I knew nothing had changed.

Walked in, hands around her neck,

Screaming, 

ran to the neighbors,

called 911, 

thought I was dreaming.

Mom said, 

it’s your fault he is not here on Christmas,

man, I don’t miss this.

Grandparents are a blessing, 

no more stressing

Fast forward, 

in Jr. High. 

We loved each other,

both lost, no eye for another.

He is a drunk, 

he will get better,

I believe in you, 

let’s grow together.

Graduated, 

started college,

he’s falling behind.

I bought a house at 20, 

working on my second degree,

didn’t realize what was going on right in front of me.

I’m doing everything, 

stressing, 

but still progressing.

In a marriage all alone, 

scared of the unknown.

March 22nd, 2015, 11pm, 

house is burning down.

He keeps running back in,

here I am saving him again.

Sitting in the ambulance asking for hug,

but he doesn’t even budge.

We all have our problems,

perfection doesn’t exist.

Normal isn’t a thing,

just listen to this.

4 weeks later, 

found out I was pregnant.

I always wanted kids, 

but not like this.

January 3rd, 2016, 

you are the most amazing thing I ever seen.

I have a new outlook on life,

for you have restored my drive.

Love you kid, 

let’s thrive.

God grandpa, 

You’re stronger than this.

You’re my person,

had too much to drink,

in a coma for weeks, 

and now you’re weak. 

Still drinking, 

lots n lots grandpa,

but I can’t deal with this. 

Now I’m ready,

here’s to changes.

Sorry kid, 

your dad and I are separated. 

But two happy homes are better than one,

that’s hated. 

Here’s to new beginnings,

to a smile that’s real and all mine. 

You and me kid, 

we are going to shine. 

Yes, 

I’m a big dreamer, 

but I’m also a goal hitter. 

It took all of this for me to turn out this way,

for that I wouldn’t change,

I would keep it all the same. 

Don’t worry kid, 

I will always be your gateway.

He came in,

swept me off my feet,

Hallmark moments I didn’t think existed.

Is this too fast? 

Will you marry me? 

I said yes.

Butterflies in my stomach,

so happy.

Had a baby, 

got married, 

stay at home momma and loving it. 

What is respect, honesty and trust? 

In a marriage, 

it’s a must. 

Not this one. 

No! 

Cheating on me the whole time, 

I should have paid attention to the small signs. 

We all have our problems,

perfection doesn’t exist.

Normal isn’t a thing,

just listen to this.

Here I am, 

twice divorced,

with twos kids. 

I feel like a failure,

like I did something wrong.

Children deserve so much more, 

and for that I’m building my wall. 

I’m locking that door, 

until someone deserves that key.

I am doing this for me.

Here’s to my future,

my future with my babies.

Traveling, 

exploring. 

Adventures, 

and no more mourning.

 

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a certified divorce financial analyst, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

The Top 10 Things Women Feel More Empowered About After 40

The Top 10 Things Women Feel More Empowered About After 40

The Top 10 Things Women Feel More Empowered About After 40

 

If You’re Younger Than 40, This is Still for You

I surveyed 100 women… nah, I’m kidding (I just like Family Feud). 😊

I only talked to a few women.

Either way, age ain’t nothing but a number, according to the beautiful late Aaliyah.

There’s something about 40 that feels like a magic number.

The women I spoke to agreed. They said that there was something that started happening right around the time they turned 40.

It was kind of like a fire reignited inside of them. 

A shift in attitude. A shift in perspective.

So many women I know have had multiple revelations when they turned 40 and even more when they turned 50!

The revelations below may have you laughing out loud 😂 or merely walking away saying, “I really need to get my ish together so I can be like these other chicks.”

If you’re younger than 40 and already checking things off this list, allow me to brush your shoulders off (Yep, I’m a Jay-Z fan)!

Feel free to let us know if we missed anything though!

  1. Passing gas – They said it, I didn’t… lol. Unfortunately, bodily functions have a mind of their own as you age. (Insert shoulder shrug & deep apologies when unintended victims are screaming WTF is that smell!) 😊
  2. Saying nothing – In some cases, silence really is the best answer. Some things just don’t deserve a response. Bless their ministry & just walk away. Plus, everyone doesn’t need to know your business. It’s super sexy & powerful to make moves in silence. 🤐
  3. Walking Away – People are in your life for a reason, season, or lifetime. You embrace that now more than ever. You know it’s ok to walk when he/she/it is no longer a good fit. Saying goodbye to the toxic job, relationship, and friendship gets easier. 🚶‍♀️
  4. Being alone – Being in a relationship is great, but it’s not mandatory anymore. You’d like to build a great life with the right partner, but you can do bad all by your damn self. Plus, the divine downloads you get when you have time to yourself are invaluable. Moments of solitude or happy & single… you can have whatever you like. 🧘
  5. Not loaning money to friends or family – How many times did you have to NOT be repaid for this to happen? This is your time to get your finances together. Feel free to use our  Ultimate Financial Resource Guide to help you on your journey. 💰
  6. Not compromising on comfort or quality – Sometimes cheap things are just disrespectful to the experience. Yes, the latte is necessary. Yes, thread count matters to you. Black car over Uber X is just your preference. You appreciate the gift of a quiet dishwasher.  🍾
  7. Sharing your unsolicited honest opinion – Maybe they didn’t ask, but somebody needs to hear it. #IsaidwhatIsaid exists for a reason. 📣
  8. Making health and self-care a priority – YOLO may have been a catchy phrase, but it’s also the truth. Choosing YOU means taking care of your temple – not being perfect but not neglecting yourself either. Need to outsource more things to make more time for this? Check out our Ultimate Financial Resource Guide. 💪
  9. Not caring what people think – You’ve finally realized what “Do You, Boo” really means. This covers changing jobs, starting your own business, getting a divorce (ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE GETTING A DIVORCE), or getting remarried. It can be as simple as wearing fuzzy house slippers at a photo shoot just because you want to (see cover photo above). IJS 😛
  10. Saying NO – It IS a complete sentence after all. Do it more, unapologetically, sis. ⛔

Did we miss anything? How many of your answers match?

I welcome you to stay tuned into the FIIRM Hero Library (where you are now) and learn about your options as you consider a separation or divorce and you’re ready to feel more empowered. Hope to see you soon.

 

 

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a certified divorce financial analyst, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime

AReal Life Divorce Story w/ Kemberli Stephenson

Introduction: Have you ever heard the phrase some people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime? While I didn’t create the phrase, it makes perfect sense to me. A divorce doesn’t make you a failure or a quitter. It’s quite the opposite, in most cases. These “love” stories will focus on the courage, lessons, & perspectives of everyday women (and some celebrities), to help you on your journey. Join me while we get in their business a bit.

Guest: Kemberli Stephenson is a proud Gen X’er, residing in North Carolina and focused on Freedom & Fun. She prides herself on her natural integration skills and can be found hanging out on Facebook & IG @SparkHustleFlow. You can also learn more by visiting her website @ www.SparkHustleFlow.com.

Referenced in the interview: Silent Preparation Series

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a certified divorce financial analyst, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

Silent Preparation Series – Part 1

Silent Preparation Series – Part 1

Silent Preparation Series – Part 1

Prepare Your Finances for Divorce By Earning Money on the Side

 

I took a trip in 2019 to New Mexico with my business besties, Latasha Booth & Kemberli Stephenson. We had a great time in a rented VRBO with an amazing view, eating amazing meals and engaging in great girl talk while watching Brene Brown. The picture at the top of this post was taken on the balcony of our vacation property!

It was a fun but relaxing trip that I used my Freedom Funds to pay for. We planned the trip months prior so when it was time to go, I was more than ready, mentally & financially! 

What are Freedom Funds you ask?

Our money serves various functions in our life but it all can fall into 3 categories. Fixed Expenses, Flexible Expenses, and Freedom Funds. Freedom Funds are the dollars set aside to live life as you see fit. This may mean traveling, fine dining, indulgent self-care, or other fun ways to do WHATEVER you want. 

As you prepare for divorce, the freedom funds account becomes partially repurposed. It doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun, but it does mean that you may need these funds for “not-so-fun” things as a result of your pending divorce. 

In order to build your freedom funds quickly, it might be a good idea to earn some side/pocket money. 

In our Ultimate Financial Resource Guide, we’ve included income-earning opportunities for you to choose from depending on your situation. Most of the options are non-committal. We’re not suggesting you pick up a formal part-time gig (unless that’s what you need) just opening your eyes to simple ways to earn money to gain your “freedom” quicker!

 

Earn Side Money With Market Research Surveys

I used to participate in market research studies in person, but ever since COVID-19 hit all the invitations have been for online surveys. 

I get market research survey invitations multiple times a week that pay anywhere from $50 to $250 depending on the length of time needed and the subject matter. In July 2020 my son and I participated in a market research study that paid $250 for sharing our opinion. It took about an hour a day over 3 days to answer all the questions. 

While you won’t qualify for every survey and it’s purely optional which ones you decide to apply for it can be a simple way to increase your pocket change and build your freedom funds as you plan for your exit. In the same way that people fight over money while they’re married, I often hear people saying they can’t afford to leave.

Within the Ultimate Financial Resource Guide, I only recommend companies that I am personally signed up for or I know to be reputable. No one wants to participate in a study that they never actually get paid for.

Signing up with multiple research companies increases your chances of being invited and qualifying. If you decide to pause participating in studies (which I’ve totally done), it’s as simple as not responding to the survey invitation. 

Most pay in hard dollars, but some offer a points program or gift cards. I’ve never had to provide any bank account information for direct deposits – they just mail me a good old fashioned check. 

Popular market research companies include Precision Research, Schlesinger Associates, and Focuscope. 

Happy opinion giving!

 

Earn Side Money By Selling Your Stuff

One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. Not only do I have clothes in my closet with the tags still on them but I also have shoes that I never wear and purses that I rarely carry. As you prepare your life for your new future, purging items that you no longer need or want can be a win-win situation.

First, it gives you the opportunity to declutter, and 2nd you may be able to earn cold hard cash from the items that you get rid of.

You can earn side money by selling your stuff on websites such as Threadup, Poshmark, and Letgo just to name a few.  Here’s an important note in that statement – I said your stuff.

Selling your own personal items or what may be deemed in the divorce world as separate property is typically fine. Selling items that may be classified as “marital property” makes things a bit messier.

Before you decide to sell anything, I invite you to browse the sites listed within the Ultimate Financial Resource Guide. It may trigger ideas about all the good stuff in your home just waiting to help you earn more money.

Happy selling!

 

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a certified divorce financial analyst, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

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