The Live By Design Podcast

Make Personal Finance Approachable With These 5 Tips

October 13, 2020

Do you have control over your finances, or do they have control over you? Today’s episode will be the kick-in-the-booty you need to take control of your life…finances included!

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Have you ever felt stressed by your financial situation? Or worse yet, have you pulled an ostrich and put your head in the sand and had no idea what your financial picture actually looks like? Have you lived paycheck-to-paycheck without an eye to the future?

Friend, me too. But five years ago I had a financial awakening (I know, sounds dramatic…but I guess it kind of was in order to shake me awake), and now I take it as my personal mission to encourage others to be purposeful with their personal finance, to not be intimidated, and to arm yourself with knowledge and a solid financial plan.

Often times I find money is a taboo topic, so let’s break down that mental barrier, learn together, and walk confidently in the direction of our dreams. I’ve learned from personal experience that once you have a financial plan, any stress that was once associated with your finances is lifted. Even if you’re paying off debt, or saving an emergency fund, or working towards another big goal – just having a plan and implementing it day in and out will allow you to release  a giant sigh of relief.

So grab a cup of coffee, and let’s jump right in!

So, what are my five tips to make personal finance approachable? I thought you’d never ask! 

Have a Plan

There’s a lot of power in knowing where you’re headed, and it’s the same with finances. If you follow a plan that you understand and is in alignment with your values and goals, then you’re so much more likely to see it through and ultimately succeed. We following Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, which it isn’t an overstatement to say have completely changed our life. But there are so many options out there! I’d encourage you to check out You Need a BudgetThe Budgetnista, and anyone else that might inspire you. Then do your homework, learn more about their plans, and decide which you’ll implement going forward.

Automate, Automate, Automate!

In the episode I share a technique my family and I use to automatically send money from each paycheck to specific bank accounts as well as retirement savings. We use one checking account for fun money and non-bills spending, another checking account for all recurring bills and payments, and finally a savings account to continue growing our emergency fund. Whatever method you choose, I would encourage you to automate as much as possible. We, as humans, can easily become undisciplined. But if you give yourself guardrails to keep yourself on track, financially speaking, then you can’t sabotage yourself if disbursements are being made to your accounts automatically when you’re paid.

Think Big Picture

And by that I mean, know you’re net worth! I personally track our net worth using the Personal Capital app. It’s easy to link all of your accounts and see where you really stand financially. I find this big picture to be super motivating when make decisions, and it keeps me accountable to my goals because I can see our progress each month.

My affiliate link for their site wasn’t working, so I’m in the process of fixing it. If you’re interested in using it to get the free $20 Amazon gift card, awesome! Shoot me a note back here and when my link is fixed I’ll send it right along.


Tell someone about your financial goals! It’s so much easier to work towards something when there’s someone cheering you on and keeping you accountable. This could be a friend, mentor, or confidant. We personally went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and that not only educated us but also gave us a community of like-minded people to tap into!

Keep Learning and Be Inspired

As in all things where you’re striving for growth, keep educating yourself and surround yourself with others that inspire and mentor you…even if that’s online! Below are a few people who’ve helped me along this journey.

Resource Roundup

Whether you’re a budgeting master or new to personal finance, there’s always room for improvement. I hope this resource roundup is helpful for you when choosing to live by design when it comes to your financial well-being!

Ready to dip your toe into the Dave Ramsey or FIRE waters…or just learn more about these movements? Awesome! Here are three books I wholeheartedly recommend. They’re easy to read (or listen to on Audible), not crazy long in length, and provide tangible tactics to start making moves today.

Inspiring Instagrammers


Joyful Corner

This week I’m grateful for an at-home date night with Dennis after our kiddos went to sleep. Then after a tasty meal (which we had delivered – hooray for not having more dishes to clean!), we sat down to visit the Sight and Insight online gallery. It’s important to me that our boys grow up in a home that’s comfortable, beautiful, and inspiring…and I think a lot of that can be accomplished with art. And one day, we can pass our collection along to them too!

When I studied abroad during college, I attended The Marchutz School of Fine Arts and met some of the most wonderful people. One of these incredible humans is my friend Nick Cruz Velleman. Nick’s love of life and fearlessness to try something new has always inspired me. Now, upon graduation from grad school, he’s the host of an inspiring You Tube Channel Sight and Insight, is active on Instagram @sight_and_insight, and launched his website – complete with an online gallery of artwork! So you know that’s right where we went when looking to grow our own personal art collection. 

Inspiring pieces? Check.

Beautiful countryside? Check.

Personal connection? Check.

So this week I’m grateful for a partner who loves art almost as much as me, for a friend who’s following his dreams, and for a piece of art that I can’t wait to hang in our new home in Gettysburg.

One thing I appreciate most about Nick’s gallery of work are the stories that accompany each piece. Not only am I drawn to this painting because of its aesthetic beauty, but Nick’s below description is what made us decide that this is the painting for us.


I’ve been coming to this valley at the foot of the Mont Saint Victoire to paint for over ten years now, but it’s rare that I ever paint the mountain itself. I like epic stuff, but from that close I find the mountain is just overwhelming and not inspiring. I think I managed to pull it off here by subduing it to an afterthought that looms in the background and almost acts like part of the sky. – Nick Cruz Velleman

A huge thank you this week to Nick for being our Joyful Corner Listener Voicemail! Nick shared how he’s grateful for his friends supporting and rallying around him during a trying time. Thank you, Nick, for sharing from the heart and reminding us all the importance of community, friendship, and family.

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© The live by design company - Est. 2021

Health Coach. Podcast Host. Educator. Wife & Mama x2.
Living By Design, Not Default.

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