Get Your Budget on Track and Under Control After Divorce! Chaos to Calm Interview with Jessi Fearon

Get Your Budget on Track and Under Control After Divorce!

Chaos to Calm Interview with Jessi Fearon.

I have been blessed to interview amazing experts on everything from dating after divorce to co-parenting to financial planning as part of the Empowered Divorce Summit.  Unfortunately, there are a significant number of expert who aren’t able to commit to doing a interview the summit for a variety of reasons.

Jessi Fearon from is one of those experts.  Being an insanely successful blogger, author and full time Mama, it is hard for her to find a time when it is quiet enough for her to do a live audio interview.

Fortunately, Jessi was able to sit down and answer some questions that will help you get your finances on track and under control after your divorce.

HD:  For our readers who are focusing on their finances for the first time after their divorce, what is the first financial task that they should start with to get themselves on track?

JF:  Start with a Budget.  I’m a huge fan of keeping things simple so don’t overthink the budgeting process.  Just start with your income and then your expenses.  If you discover that you are in “the red”, i.e. you have more expenses than income, start slashing your expenses until you bring your expenses down to where you income is more.

  • Notice that there are no emotion words or judgements in Jessi’s response.  Try not to make judgements or bring emotions into the process.  Simply look at what you make and start slashing the unnecessary expenses until you are living within your income.   This can be a hard process and it will take time to get into the habit but in the end it will definitely take some of the chaos out of managing your finances after divorce

HD:  Once readers have an idea of their income and fixed expenses, how can they determine which variable expenses they can eliminate or reduce?

JF:  For my household, I like to print off my bank statements for the previous month and then take different color highlighters (you can do this in excel as well).  I then go through the statements and highlight each like category.  For example, I would highlight all grocery related expenses in yellow and then highlight all clothing expenses in green.  Once I have all expenses highlighted, I then tally the totals spent.  From there I can easily determine which expenses are wrecking our budget and figure out a way to reduce or get rid of them all together.

  • I love and use this method myself with our household budget.  It’s not about judging your spending as “good” or “bad” it is literally about looking at each category of spending to determine your spending habits.  On a personal note, we used to “eat out” A LOT.  Once we implemented this method, we found that we were literally spending THOUSANDS every month on this budget wrecking habit. 

HD:  What types of questions should readers be asking themselves as they refine their budget?

JF:  I’m a huge fan of figuring out your “why”.  I know that sounds silly, but why do you spend money the way that you do and why do you want to manage your money in the first place?  Think about it – if you claim that your why is for wanting to manage your money is so you can provide a better life for your children, but then you’re spending $250 every month eating out and are unable to afford to pay for your child’s extracurricular activities, you aren’t spending money in accordance with you why.  Don’t overlook this question and dig deep to determine your why when it comes to money.

  • This is HUGE!  In the personal example I provided above, we were able to provide for our children’s extracurricular needs.  What we weren’t able to do was save for our dream home/property.  Once we made the realization that spending thousands on eating out every month was keeping us from being able to achieve that “why”, it made prioritizing VERY easy.

HD:  What are some of the biggest budgeting mistakes that women make and how can our readers avoid making them?

JF:  As women, we like to please people.  We tend to say “yes” way too often and “no” not nearly enough.  The biggest mistake that I’ve made and that most women make is that we don’t want to disappoint others so we say “yes” to every party, event, and fundraiser without consulting our budgets.  This usually ends up with a wrecked budget and us asking where we went wrong.  It’s okay to say “no” to your co-worker’s grandson’s fundraiser and it’s okay to decline someone’s party invite if it is not in the budget.

  • This one was tough for me because my budget as a newly single mom was so tight that it didn’t leave room for any social outings.  That added to the isolation that I felt after my divorce (read more about How I broke free of my divorce isolation).  A compromise that I found was that I started hosting “potluck” dinners with my other single mom friends.  It helped us all because we each only had to prepare one dish and it gave everyone a chance to relax and socialize. 

HD:  What is your favorite money saving tip?

JF:  Don’t spend money to save money.  If you have a coupon for $25 off a $50 or more purchase – don’t spend the extra $25 if you weren’t already planning to do so.

  • This is awesome advice!  If the discount offer is dictating your buy decisions in order to get you to spend more, it isn’t a good deal, regardless of how much you will be saving.


Do you want help with the transitioning from marriage to divorce with integrity?  Contact me today to schedule your complimentary 30 minute Chaos to Calm Power Session.



Jessi is the writer behind The Budget Mama, a personal finance website where she shares her family’s real life on budget in all its gory details.  Jessie is committed to helping her readers live and thrive on a budget.  Her goal is to encourage others to become better money managers by sharing her real-world money advice and personal budget successes and failures.

About The Author

Heather Debreceni

In 2004, after getting a job in Law Enforcement, Heather left her husband and started the divorce process. Like many mothers in her situation, she naively thought that getting divorced would be the end of the chaos that her failing marriage had created in her and her children’s lives. She now uses her divorce experience to create strategic divorce coaching programs which help mothers turn the chaos of divorce into confident, calm and respect filled lives. Heather is the Founder and Host of the Empowered Divorce Summit which empowers individuals as they navigate through the divorce process. Now a podcast, it provides listeners with access to insightful interviews with experts on divorce, relationships and parenting. She is also an Ordained Non-Denomination Christian Reverend as well as a student of the Buddhist & First Nationals faith and spirituality. Heather supports her clients as they walk through the spiritual rebirth that occurs for many women after divorce. Heather also tours around the country with her family giving talks about Divorce, Ethics, Parenting, Personal Responsibility, Spirituality and Women's Empowerment as well as teaching about Leadership, Business and Entrepreneurship.


  • Rala

    Reply Reply January 30, 2016

    Great stuff! Totally going to use the bank statement highlighter tip! Also, I had 4 bank accounts so consolidate those so it’s less confusing. I still have 3 but one is a small bank for the personal service, one is Chase bank for my biz and for $ transfers to family or clients when needed and one is Capitol One 360 so once the savings goes there I don’t see it so I’m not likely to spend it.

    All bills are paid from the 1 small account though.

    • Heather Debreceni

      Reply Reply January 30, 2016

      Hi Rala,

      I really enjoyed interviewing Jessi and I am glad that you found the information useful. I think I might just have to check out the Capitol One 360 accounts. Cary Cabonaro mentioned it during her Empowered Divorce Summit interview too.

  • Ilori

    Reply Reply February 17, 2016

    I want to commend you on your great rersouce for parents and kids going through divorce. Divorce is a very difficult process to go through for everyone involved. As your website points out, helping children through a divorce is the most important aspect. Your kids will need help to get through this stage and onto the rest of their lives. Thanks for your great rersouce.

    • Heather Debreceni

      Reply Reply February 19, 2016

      Thank you Ilori, I hope that by giving parents access to resources that will help them through the divorce process that it will in turn help their children.

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