However, traditional budgeting does not show that it is crucial to understand your expenses – essential expenses, joie de vivre expenses, unnecessary discretionary expenses, and more. Creating a budget helps you take charge of your financial well-being, better understand your money, and learn how to manage it better. – You can survive without it! Managing these essential expenses is a crucial step in understanding your spending habits and charting a path to financial well-being. It can be helpful to work with someone for a short period of time to objectively examine their spending while learning to budget after their divorce. Hirsch Serman, MBA CPA is the founder of Lifecycle Financial, a company that helps people who are going through a divorce or other life cycle changes master the financial difficulties of a new life dynamic. Over the years, in helping my clients, I have realized that while it is important to create a budget after a divorce, the way most people do it is wrong – or at least extremely limited in its educational value. By tracking and understanding where you spend your money, it is easier to see how you make adjustments and become aware of your spending habits. Working with someone early on can help you take responsibility until you feel more comfortable and familiar with making adjustments on a reasonable budget. The old way of creating a budget is to look at your income, taxes and expenses – and hope that there is some left over. For most people, taxes, social security contributions and other deductions are taken out of your paycheck before you receive any money. I’m saying that once you understand this measure of essential expenses relative to your income, you will be able to make more informed decisions based on your priorities. This includes your “enjoy life” expenses and unnecessary discretionary spending.