… I am only making the interest payments on my credit line that is now maxed and I have cancelled my gym membership and even Netflix. I don’t even want to indulge in buying grapes at the store because I can’t afford it.

Please help!



Dear Julie – Hang in there, it will get better!

Divorced, separated, and starting over can be very hard on you personally, let alone financially. Having to accept the stress of a divorce with or without children can be very traumatic and monetary decisions can seem overwhelming. We all deal with money every day and for something so common, it can sometimes make very little sense. How to balance your budget, how to save, how much to spend and what future decisions to make; these are the questions that most people grapple with. So, let’s look at some options right now that you can do to fix your situation.

First – if you are low on income every month you need to earn more. Your ability to earn an income is your greatest asset. Could you take on a part-time job doing something you are good at? – sewing, gardening, computer skills, babysitting, senior companionship, anything that can make you a little more each month. Another option could be to slim down what you own and start selling it online for quick cash.

Second, look for ways to save on banking, mortgages, and lines of credit. It might be necessary to get a consolidation loan or perhaps refinance your mortgage to amalgamate your debt. Why not consider looking at a local credit union instead of one of the Big-5 banks? They tend to be a lot better on personalized advice and financial counselling. Credit unions also have much lower loan rates, no-fee banking, and lower cost options on a variety of banking products. Unlike the “big banks,” credit unions focus on providing members with financial services at an affordable fee and give back to their members and community. The Big-5 banks serve their investors with their ultimate goal being to maximize returns for their shareholders.

If you are really struggling, don’t be shy to find your way to a local food bank or pantry service and ask for grocery assistance. Lean on a friend or family member to help you out and seek guidance on how to improve your situation. Community outlets that offer free food bring people together and I’ve met many lovely, caring volunteers who give up their time to help out.

Lastly, keep a journal either on your phone or on paper. It is imperative that you plan your way out of your troubles and into financial freedom. Brain-dump all your thoughts out, write them down, read them, and start strategizing ways to get better. Track all your spending and educate yourself about money – how to make it, how to spend it, and most of all how to keep it.


Good Luck & Best Wishes,

ATML - Christine Ibbotson