I still cannot believe how much stress I endured during my separation and divorce back in 2014. My friends and family were a constant support through that difficult time. I would not be where I am today without their love. I also unexpectedly found some free and cheap tools that helped me navigate divorce while keeping my sanity and happiness (mostly) intact. Below are these tools. I hope they help you through your divorce as well.
My life got pretty crazy, pretty quickly while going through a separation and divorce. On top of all the other normal daily things I had to deal with, I was also managing an unexpected move, finding a job, scheduling meetings with lawyers and taking care of a 14 month old girl. And on top of all this were the, what seemed like, hundreds of unplanned "discussions" with my ex. There was also this new visitation arrangement to plan. Needless to say, I needed to get über organized, quickly.
I had been using Google Calendar loosely for a while and when the shit hit the fan it became my lifeline to sanity. The second any event, change in event, task, discussion, appointment, meeting or gathering is mentioned I pull out my phone and tap the details into my calendar. I love how simple Google Calendar functions. I can also create different calendars and color code them and share them which makes it extremely efficient to organize all my appointment. I have a calendar for my business and various projects. I have a calendar for everything that relates to my daughter (visitation, babysitting, doctor appointments etc.) and I've shared it with my ex so he can make changes and additions to the calendar as well. This has saved us from having to constantly text each other to double check our schedules (which is what we were doing in the beginning.)
Anything that saves you headache and stress from dealing with your ex (especially if you have children) is a lifesaver.
My ex was the one who managed our finances. So, when we separated I freaked out about budgeting and what the heck I was going to do to manage bills and make enough money. Budgeting intimidated me on a good day so I was entering panic mode when I realized it was all up to me now. A friend told me about Mint.com and that was probably the best advice I could have gotten in those early weeks of separation.
Mint.com is extremely easy and refreshing to use. It’s basically an envelope-style budgeting system that you can use on your computer or mobile device. You just enter in the information for your online bank and any other financial account you have, like a student loan or investment, and Mint.com does the rest. It looks back at your spending history and creates budgets. It's pretty accurate too. You can add, edit and remove budgets and bills as well. Then you are able to see where you stand financially on any given day.
Say you are at the store and you see a cute top. You think, "I wonder if I have enough money for this." Just flip out your phone, tap on the Mint app and voila it tells you how much (or how little) you have left in your "cute top" budget.
You are also able to set up bill reminders so you never miss another due date again. I also have a bill calendar with due dates in Google as a back up :)
Minecraft Pocket Edition
You might think this is a weird item to have listed for things that helped me through my divorce but hear me out. Separation and divorce are so insanely stressful you need time to unwind and get your mind off of things. Minecraft was my getaway during my separation and divorce. And I still play Minecraft often. I'm able to use my creativity to build things and I get to go on adventures and fight monsters (which I used to imagine were my ex, tee hee) and I can take a break anywhere since it’s on my phone. If Minecraft isn't your thing that's fine. Just find a fun game that you can conveniently play on your phone. Take some time every day to get away from all the pain, stress and sadness.
What tools have unexpectedly helped you through your separation and divorce? I bet other women who are going through divorce would love to hear your suggestions.