A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: Simplified Finances

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

“When you simplify your financial picture, you are loving and serving your family well.” -Emily Ley, A Simplified Life

Well, when you put it that way……….

Money is so tricky.  It’s at the root of so much what goes on in our daily lives.  And we’re not born knowing how to handle it.  Many of us (me!) were never taught how to handle money and had to learn some lessons the hard way.

No matter what your history is with finances, you can start making healthy financial decisions today.  Decisions that serve you and your family well.

5 Steps to Simplifying Finances

1 – Become a Numbers Person

This isn’t an area of life where not being “good” at something is an excuse not to do it.  Adult up.  Learn the ins and outs of managing your finances.

Start with the glossary of terms she lays out on pages 83-84, then talk to a professional who is good at this stuff.  We’ll talk more about that in number 3.

2 – Implement a Family System That Works

Find a system that works for you.  What have you done in the past?  What worked?  What didn’t work?  Built off of that to figure what you need.

Dave Ramsey has some great resources to get you started and Every Dollar is a great budget management tool.

Through our seven years of marriage, we’ve had a few different forms of a budget.

In our early days it entailed a whiteboard in our kitchen.  We were both paid monthly, so we’d pay all of our bills, then whatever amount was left was written at the top of the board.  As we spent, that amount got subtracted and when it got to zero, we knew there was no more spending until the next paycheck.  How quaint is that?  Now we use a spreadsheet with columns, equations and color codes.

Whatever system you choose, who does what has to be clearly defined and well-communicated.  One of the many financial lessons I’ve learned the hard way…..

Now, my husband is paid weekly – every Friday.  So, on Thursday night, we sit down in front of that beautifully color-coded spreadsheet and talk through that week’s payroll.  What bills are due that week, extra expenses that have come up, where to designate giving and what to do with the extra (I wish this was a conversation had more often than it is…..).  Neither of us look forward to it.  Or enjoy it.  But it is necessary.  And it has been a game-changer in our house for understanding our financial state.

3 – Find a Trusted Advisor

Shortly after getting married, my husband and I bought a small life insurance policy.  We felt so responsible.  A mere three years later, upon reflecting on that policy, we realized that it was not even close to what we needed.  In those three years, we had purchased a different home, had two children and I was no longer working full-time.

We met with an advisor that my husband has known most of his life.  We had to have the humility to say “I don’t know anything about any of this.  Teach me.”  It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it was one of the best decisions we made.

4 – Decrease Debt

I like thinking about debt like clutter – that it is junking up our lives.  Debt is exhausting and emotionally and mentally draining.  And yet, so many of us have it.  A lot of it.

Choosing to be debt free – and making the lifestyle choices that get you there – is incredibly hard.  We are in the midst of it now, and it is a daily battle.


I want all the things.  And with the click of a couple buttons, I can have them on my doorstep in a matter of days.  Temptation is lurking everywhere.

But there is a better way to live.  The sacrifices and the hard choices are worth it.

5 – Use One Method for Expenses

We think we’re better at multi-tasking our spending than we are.  Whatever method you choose for paying expenses (we have found that cash is best), find one and stick with the same one.  Simplification is the goal here, and this is the epitome of simplifying.

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com


Honestly, this is an area where I feel completely inadequate to give any kind of advice.  This is a real struggle for our family.  But we desire to do this well and we’re working through it.  It ain’t pretty, but we’re getting there.  One small choice at a time.

“No matter how much money you make or how much have in the bank, finances are stressful.” – Emily Ley, A Simplified Life

Read some of Emily Ley’s money saving tips here.

Simplicity Challenge

At the end of each chapter, Emily Ley has a ‘Simplicity Challenge’, which are 5 steps that you can do right now that make big strides toward achieving your goal.

Comment on each blog post with the number of simplicity challenges you completed that week.  I will track each person’s progress (this is a total honor system thing) and the person with the most challenges completed at the end of the book will get some swag.  Like good, helpful swag.   No clutter-y stuff.

Don’t forget to take photos of the process AND the progress and use #simplifiedsummer so we can all celebrate together!

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

  • Brenda
    July 18, 2018

    I have done 4/5 challenges. We have just implemented a budget, working diligently to wipe out our debt, though now we have medical bills from an unexpected trip to the er and many drs visit for my husband. The only one we haven’t worked on is meeting with an advisor. We do have a 401 though.

    • Kristin
      August 8, 2018

      Brenda, you are rocking it! Well done!

      • Brenda
        September 17, 2018

        I have now finished all the challenges. We have met with a financial advisor and are making better decisions.

  • Rochelle
    July 21, 2018

    I have completed 4/5 challenges. The one I have not done is to meet with a financial advisor. We met with one back during our 2nd year of marriage while we were buried in student loan debt. We have not re-met with an advisor since we have been free from student loan debt.

    • Kristin
      August 8, 2018

      So now would be a GREAT time to have someone help you re-evaluate the best way to plan for the future now that you’re not carrying that debt. Well done, by the way!!!

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