03/14/2011 04:58 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Thrive Budget

One of the greatest challenges of divorce is money. As a newly single parent, you might be overwhelmed, as I was, with more bills than you can afford. I can remember skimping on afterschool snacks and being generally in a very rotten mood (but trying to slap a smile and happy-go-lucky demeanor on my face for the kids) toward the end of every month. That is until I discovered the solution.

Cutting out cafe lattes and afterschool cupcakes will not improve circumstances at all, and the fact that you are trying to get things under control by eliminating all the fun just makes life sour. However, getting your big-ticket items in a reasonable range will almost immediately shift your life.

When you employ the 50% to thrive and 50% to survive budget, your basic needs will be manageable and you will have room in the budget for enjoying your kids. This requires brave choices, but the goal is that right after divorce, more than anything, you need a springboard that allows you to create a better life. If your ex is very wealthy and happily keeps you living in the lap of luxury, then you are lucky. For the rest of us, who are living on more moderate means, the Thrive Budget can be the ticket and bridge to redefining where we live, who we are and how we interact with our kids.

The Thrive Budget
My Thrive Budget is outlined in greater detail in my book You vs. Wall Street: How To Grow What You've Got and Get Back What You've Lost.

The Thrive Budget

Success stories
The famous attorney and women's advocate Gloria Allred used house-sharing when her children were young, and so did I. J.K. Rowling received public assistance when she was creating one of the most beloved stories of all time - Harry Potter. There are times in everyone's life when we need a helping hand, and after divorce is usually one of those times.

Take-Away Suggestions
1. A sustainable budget is 50% to survive and 50% to Thrive. This requires brave and creative choices, if you are over-spending on basic needs.
2. Try reducing your big-ticket items. (There are other blogs of mine that might help with debt and health insurance costs specifically.)
3. Have more fun. This is usually more of a mind shift than spending more money. And for many, having a reasonable limit to the fun budget means that they are not taking on excessive credit card debt.

About Natalie Pace:
Natalie Pace is the author of You Vs. Wall Street and host of the Pace and Prosperity radio show on She is a repeat guest on Fox News, CNBC, ABC-TV and a contributor to,, and As a philanthropist, she has helped to raise more than two million for Los Angeles public schools and financial literacy. Follow her on, and on For more information please visit,