No one plans to get divorced (well, most people at least…). The divorce is typically an emotionally depleting (or at the very least, unpleasant) event. While getting divorced always carries some sort of financial expenses for both parties, for women with children it is a step towards a very uncertain financial future as a single mother. Why? Firstly, because there are so many ex-husbands who go to extreme lengths to avoid paying any child support whatsoever. Secondly, building a successful and lucrative career while fully caring for children is not really possible.
From my [personal experience, child support is something that I could never count on. My ex-husband is one of those men who saw child support as a luxury that he can’t afford, regardless of him being a highly paid professional. When we divorced, we also did not own any property or real tangible assets to divide, so there was nothing to build from. My daughter was still a baby, and I had no job, no family, and no money. What I did have is a lot of divorce legal fees and a very angry ex who proudly proclaimed that I would never make it without him financially. Like many men, he saw finances as a control tool to manipulate my feeling of self-worth as a capable person.
While every single mom’s circumstances might be unique, it is safe to say that overall, single mothers are the ones most negatively affected after the relationship breakdown (see the infographic below from the IMFC).
So, the question is then, where do you begin? Without significant financial capital, you need to tap into all possible resources to secure your financial situation, independently from any man in your past, present, or future.
Letting Go Of Some Pretty Baggage
It is completely normal and human to get attached to things that hold an emotional value to us. Sometimes, their value can be positive (like a necklace from your beloved sister), and sometimes it can be negative and become baggage that drags us down in life.
Once upon a time, we invested a lot of time and emotion selecting certain things when getting married and building a family. Things like a wedding dress, jewelry, car, house, furniture, or other items that made us happy at home before. Depending on your financial abilities during the marriage, you could have accumulated less or more of these items, but everyone has something that was left with them after the divorce.
It might be difficult to let go of things that once held so much hope, beauty, and happiness. But you have to be brave and allow yourself to see these things as they are now – merely painful reminders of a broken relationship. For some single mothers, these things can be more than just painful reminders, they can be actual triggers of abuse and violence they had to go through in their marriage. And yet, even in these situations, it is tempting to keep holding on.
So gather your courage to say goodbye to these material things that are dragging you down, even if you think they are not. The last thing you want is to carry both emotional and material baggage as you are stepping on a new path in your life as a single mother.
Turn Things Into Something That Matters
True, your wedding dress and engagement ring were very important to you before. But what matters to you more at this stage of your life? How do these things fit into the new and brave life that you are building for yourself and your children now?
Like any new project or structure, your life needs some investment to build a foundation. Investment of your time, money, and effort. See your new life as a new structure you are building. Why hold on to bad building materials when you need tangible finances to carry you through with children right now?
Clean up your wedding dress, polish your rings and any other jewelry, dig through any expensive gadgets your might have accumulated, and list them on your local community auctions, Craigslist, or any other platform that helps sell things at no cost to you.
How much could you get for some of these items, and what has the highest re-sale value, you ask? In my own experience, the wedding or engagement ring and any diamond jewelry have the highest resale value. Be prepared to negotiate with buyers when you sell high-quality valuables. At the same time, be realistic about what things can cost. See more information on each item below.
1. Diamond engagement ring
When selling your ring, you could use an online retailer that typically charges a fee for it. Or, if you want to get more cash, do it yourself through advertising, but be smart about your safety and meeting someone with your valuables. Always pick a public place with potential witnesses around, or do it near a police station. Depending on the condition, brand, and quality of your diamond ring (i.e. its prestige level), you can get anywhere from 30% to 70% of its original value.
2. Wedding dress
If you had an inexpensive dress, don’t fret! You can still try to sell it on community forums, or if that does not work simply donate it so it does not hang like a hidden skeleton in your closet!
Whether it is a smartwatch, tablet, expensive phone, TV, or another device, your life does not depend on it. You can let it go and turn the money to fuel your life as a single mother with higher priorities in life. Because there are so many gadgets that could be sold, you can find the typical resale value of the most common gadgets in this convenient list.
4. Household items
These are the miscellaneous items that you might have without realizing that they have a good resale value. It can be furniture, clothes, dishes, toys, and many other things that are in high demand. The fastest and easiest method is to discount 50%-60% from the items’ original prices and have them in a clean and sanitized condition ready for the buyer to pick up. Many moms buy and sell gently used kids’ clothes, shoes, and toys this way. It is a green way to prolong the life cycle of these things and to get some money while doing it.
Do you want to share your experience with selling these or other items after divorce? I would love to hear it in the comments section below!