October marked the one-year anniversary of my divorce being finalized and also the one-year mark of my living on my own for the first time. Seems like a good time to take stock of how far I’ve come and where I am now.
Still in the Living Room
I gave serious thought to moving, especially as the XFP landed a stable job (phew). Right now, I live in a one-bedroom apartment about a mile away from my kids’ school, over a major road. For about $400 a month more, I could have two bedrooms and my own washer and dryer and be just 2 blocks from school.
Probably I could swing that if I really worked hard to find paid work for all my scraps of time. But… $400 a month is a lot of money. And I don’t actually like living in apartments. I want to be living in a townhouse or detached house sooner than later. Paying extra for a fancier apartment puts me further from that goal and only gets me… a nicer apartment.
I was able to renew my lease just through August. Even if I wind up paying for a month that I don’t use, I’ll save around $2600. With moving costs I’m not spending, let’s make it an even $3K. That’s a lot of money for a girl like me.
I’m making some minor changes to make apartment living more comfortable and have hunkered down for the duration.
About to Be Mortgage-Free?
The XFP has been living in the house with his wife, but has not been able to refinance. The house is currently under contract for a nice amount of money. Fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly. I am anxious to have this chapter wrapped up–my share of the equity under my own control, my credit unencumbered.
Still Looking for Full-Time Work
I have managed nicely on the hours I scrape together, but I’m still receiving support from the XFP and still paying the part-time rate for health insurance (the difference is a couple hundred dollars a month). I have been working hard to raise my profile at work and am optimistic my efforts will pay off soon.
Finances: Holding Steady
Without a full-time income, I haven’t exactly leaped forward in the world, but I have been able to scrape together some savings. I have some money in my HSA, some tucked away in an Ally account, and I generally “live on last month’s money.”
Having enough money to handle one really bad emergency or several minor ones is an enviable thing for a lady with my income level. I have budgeted carefully, lived within my means, benefited from the safety net provided by my family (still loving my reliable Honda courtesy of the Frugal Patriarch), and enjoyed luxuries when they have come my way as gifts.
Almost all of my savings have come from windfalls like third-paycheck months, gifts from family, and my tax refund, because normally my spending and income run verrrry close together. I received the Earned Income Tax Credit earlier this year and am cognizant that that’s other people’s money. Thank you, fellow taxpayers. I do not take it lightly.
One Big Happy Family
The XFP remarried very soon (one might say impulsively, but who am I to judge?) after our divorce. I used to say, “I like [stepmom]” because I thought it made me sound cool and self-confident. But you know what? I actually like her. She’s funny and she loves my kids and they love her and she adds something to their lives. She bought Big Brother Converse shoes to go with his super-stylish vest and tie, for instance, which I wouldn’t have thought of.
Stepmom has two little boys of her own, close in age like mine and a little younger. I actually had all four boys over for a sleepover last week and it was fun. Really. Stepbros are adorable and they were super-polite guests and it was nice to spend some time with these small humans who are such a big part of my kids’ lives.
The XFP and I have our bones of contention from time to time but I’m really happy that we all get along so well. I have a… friend… myself, whom the XFP seems to think highly of in turn.
Sometimes I wish things were different. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to share my kids. Or had more money to buy things. Or still lived in a house.
But life is good. I am enjoying being single–it’s kind of like going back in time to my 20s (when other people were dating but I was married) and having a do-over. I do things like sit on the couch/my bed drinking wine, eating caprese for dinner, and watching a French lady on YouTube give fashion advice that I will never follow because I’m lazy. It’s not a stage that I want to last forever but I’m enjoying it for what it is.
I won’t go into detail, but people whose marriages are working do not get divorced. Many things were not working, and those things are out of my life now, and that makes for a much more relaxed, confident, and happy FP.
I wouldn’t go back, I’m enjoying where I am now, and I am excited about going forward. There’s nothing else I could ask for.
How has your year been?