How to Have a Marriage Without Money Problems

Episode 8

Money problems in marriage are real. But they don’t have to pull you and your spouse apart! This episode is all about how to win in money and marriage!


Get the Conversation Starter Worksheet from this episode!

Learn the six money talks every couple needs to have.

Download the mobile version:

Download the printable version:


And if you want a fun date-night experience to get you both talking, grab tickets to our Money & Marriage Event and take 20% off any seat by using code CRUZESHOW at checkout!

Featured Products

Financial Peace University
Financial Peace University

Now when you sign up for Financial Peace University, you can access all nine courses for an entire year! PLUS a full year subscription to EveryDollar Plus, our premium budgeting tool.

$149.00 $129.00

Add to Cart

Show Notes

Marriage isn’t easy.

We know this. Marriage can be fun and fulfilling, but easy? No way.

And what about money management? Same story. It’s not easy. Yet somehow, we expect marriage and money to pair up like rainbows and sunshine. You guys, this is crazy!

From my talks with couples all over the country—and through my own relationship with Winston—I know one thing to be true: If we hope to overcome money problems and money fights in our marriage, we have to be intentional.

And that’s what we’re talking about today!

The Reality of Money Problems for Couples Today

Has this ever happened to you? You and your spouse scroll through Netflix looking for the perfect date-night movie. You make a suggestion. He shrugs with disinterest. He makes a suggestion. You laugh and shake your head.

Forty-five minutes later you turn off the TV in frustration and call it a night. What happened? After all, you both had the same goal: to watch a movie together.

I think this exact thing happens when married couples approach money and money problems. No doubt you both have the same goal of making the most of your income. But like a guy who’s in the mood for a comedy and a gal who wants a classic romance, your ideas about where you’re headed and how you’ll get there don’t match up.

And you’re not alone! In fact, Money magazine found that 70% of married couples argue about money—and money fights happen more often than fights about household chores, togetherness, sex, snoring, and even what’s for dinner!(1)

So we know money problems in marriage are real—and we need a solution! My friend, you’ve come to the right place.

How do I handle money problems in my marriage?

The answer is pretty simple. To overcome financial conflict in your relationship, you just have to get on the same page as your spouse. Of course, nothing worth having comes easy, but that doesn’t mean the road to get there needs to be complicated.

You don’t need to be the same person or even view money in the same way. In fact, your unique perspective regarding money is actually a strength you each bring to the table. What I want to do is get you talking so you can tap into those strengths!

When you’re able to engage one another in both the emotional and tactical sides of money, you’ll be more unified and reach your goals faster. Sounds like a win to me!

In this episode, I tackle these ideas head on. We’ll cover everything from how to have a budget-friendly date night to important money conversations for every couple and beyond. So keep reading!

Real Talk With Rachel

Remember how I said you don’t have to morph into your spouse to get on the same page about money?

Winston and I could not be more different when it comes to our money (and other things). I’m a spender; he’s a saver. I’m a big fan of social media and like the big city life; he’s not interested in Instagram and prefers the quiet outdoors.

And when we first started dating, I drove like a maniac while he played it safe. One night, about three months into our relationship, we were headed down the interstate on the way to a Predators hockey game.

We were chatting away, and I looked over to see that he was only going 52 miles per hour on the interstate! So, of course, I encouraged him to speed things up a bit. You guys—I’m not even kidding—two minutes later we saw blue flashing lights behind us!

I can’t really remember who won the game that night, but I’ll never forget the double speeding ticket Winston got. No doubt that date cost a little more than he planned.

Budget-Friendly Date-Night Ideas

Okay, so speeding tickets probably aren’t the reason you struggle to keep dating your spouse as the years go by in your marriage. For many of the couples I talk to, the cost of dinner and activities (not to mention babysitting) really adds up.

The solution to this money problem can’t be ditching date night, can it? As you guys know, I’m all about having some fun with my money—and what’s more fun than a night out with your spouse and no kids?

To prove it’s possible to date your spouse regularly and on the cheap, I sent two of my producers home with $50 each. The challenge: Treat your spouse to a date with that amount of money and no more.

Here’s how it went down:


Diana and her husband, Tim, started off the night by splitting dinner at a local BBQ joint and then headed to Goodwill to buy each other presents. After exchanging the gifts, they grabbed ice cream for dessert and went stargazing, complete with a helpful app and comfortable pallet in the back of Tim’s truck.

Even after all of this, they ended their date with $7 left over!


Chad sent his wife, Whittney, off for a pedicure before their date. Then he dropped off their kids at a friend’s house, where they agreed to trade babysitting services for free! Chad and Whittney shared nachos at a local restaurant, went for a walk in the park, fed the ducks, and rented The Greatest Showman from Redbox.

This was another successful date—with $4 to spare!

Help me choose a winner!

I have to say these two dates are just about tied in my mind. So I’m throwing it out to you guys. Who should win this date-night challenge? Let me know in the comments section of the video!

Take the date-night challenge for yourself!

Budget $50 for a date night next month and commit to finding creative ways to stick to your budget. You might try a few ideas shared by people in our Facebook community:

  • Buy discounted restaurant gift cards at Costco
  • Check Groupon
  • Rent bikes downtown
  • Attend a local college sports game
  • Buy last-minute, inexpensive concert tickets
  • Try pottery, painting, or candle making
  • Attend a festival
  • Take a cooking class or dance class
  • Go to a local comedy show

Be sure to let me know how it goes! I can’t wait to hear about the creative ideas you and your spouse come up with!


Want to treat your spouse to a relaxing morning after your date night?

Let them sleep in while you have an easy and nutritious breakfast from Good Grains with the kids.


Money Talks for Every Married Couple

Talking about money and money problems might seems like a daunting task and can often make you or your spouse feel uneasy. But it doesn’t have to!

Imagine how much closer you’ll feel to your spouse once you’re both willing to take your money talks to the next level. And I can pretty much guarantee your marriage won’t be the only thing that benefits. When we get on the same page with our spouse about money, our financial status improves too!

So let’s dive in!

The most important money-related conversation you’ll ever have.

First and foremost, you and your spouse need to get realistic. When it comes to money, the safest thing to do is plan for the worst but hope for the best. This isn’t morbid—it’s wise! That’s why you need to talk about who would care for the kids in the case of your death. After that discussion, create a will detailing your preferences and get term life insurance.

When it comes to life insurance, I recommend Zander Insurance. They’ll shop around for you to make sure you get the best rates. And you may be surprised at the affordability of life insurance! The experts at Zander tell us that the average, healthy 35-year-old couple who gets term life insurance through them pays around $41 per month total.

Yes, the conversation is uncomfortable, but the message you’ll send is one of love.


Come prepared for the next money talk with your love:

Get a term life insurance quote from Zander.


Six money talks you and your spouse should begin today.

Tap into the strengths each of you bring to money management by engaging in the following conversations:

  1. The Story Talk: “In my house growing up, money was . . .”

Understanding what your spouse learned (or hopes to unlearn) about money while growing up gives you a glimpse into why they view money the way they do.

  1. The Fear Talk: “My biggest financial fear is . . .”

Fear makes us do crazy things—like hide purchases or get a secret credit card. My good friend Dr. Les Parrott identifies a few common money fears, which may help start your conversation:

  • The fear of a lack of influence over how your money is handled
  • The fear of a lack of respect over your knowledge about money
  • The fear of a lack of security if something bad were to happen
  • The fear of not realizing your dreams because of a lack of money
  1. The Giving Talk: “Are you more of a calculated giver or an emotionally led giver?”

Giving (and giving together) is one of the best things you can do with your money. Living with an open hand is contagious and begins to flow into other areas of your life.

  1. The Grace Talk: “When I make a money mistake, I love it when you . . .”

We’ve all made money mistakes. And we’re all going to make more money mistakes in the future. The way we handle those mistakes—ideally with grace and without enabling—dictates how comfortably we can talk about money in the future.

For the other money talks you should be having with your spouse, check out my conversation-starter cheat sheet. (insert lead magnet here)

And if you want a fun date-night experience to get you both talking, grab tickets to our Money & Marriage Event and take 20% off any seat by using code CRUZESHOW at checkout!

What do you do when you’re in financial trouble?

In today’s show, I sit down with Skye and Chris who recently paid off over $57,000 of debt in less than two years! And if that’s not amazing enough, the story of where they started and where they are today might just blow your mind.

Skye and Chris weren’t drowning in financial sorrows, but they certainly weren’t swimming in money success either. Whenever the topic of money came up, they argued. Skye hid Target bags and Amazon boxes. Chris struggled with self-control.

One day, reality hit. They knew they needed a change if they wanted their money, marriage and future to be brighter.

They decided to try a local Financial Peace University group and never looked back! Check out what changed as a result of their decision:

  • Chris and Skye now feel closer together than ever before.
  • They view budgeting as fun!
  • Their financial discipline led to more discipline in their diet too.
  • They now have the tools to solve any financial problem that may come up for their family.
  • Their son, Jett, knows no other way. He’s four and already giving, saving and spending the money he earns.

Isn’t that awesome?

Now, Skye and Chris lead a local Financial Peace University course. They get to share their story and watch as other couples start to recognize the potential love and peace that’s possible from taking control of your money.

Interested in learning more about Financial Peace University?

As Skye says, “Don’t wait. In five years, you can either say, ‘I wish I started it then’ or ‘I’m glad I already did it.’ The time is going to pass either way.”

I love that! Let’s stop with the excuses and get moving in the right direction today!

She Works Hard Saving Money

And as always, we’ll end with the best part of our show: #sheworkshardsavingmoney. It’s our summer lovin’ edition! Here are a few of my favorites:

“Our 10-year anniversary trip to Fiji and New Zealand in 2016. Thank goodness we planned, saved, and got a great Groupon deal for this once in a lifetime adventure!” — Melissa

“We celebrated our 15th anniversary by paying cash for 5 days in New Orleans with friends. This is after paying off over $115k.” — Emily

“We recently went on a cruise to Bermuda where we got to share some very special news! I love that we were able to treat ourselves to a fancy room as we celebrated our growing family—and now, go through pregnancy and [have] a child without worrying about debt!” — Libby

Fiji, New Orleans and Bermuda? Sign me up!

I hope you and your spouse have a blast as you work to get on the same page about money. And remember: You can take control of your money and create a life you love!

Read the full transcript

– Hey Winston, we agree when it comes to money, right? That’s what I thought. Well, today’s episode’s all about couples getting on the same page when it comes to their money. Money and marriage. Sometimes, it does this. Other times, it does this. Guys, it’s so hard, isn’t it? Two big issues coming together as one can be very difficult. In fact, we found the number one issue that married couples fight about: the money. Yes. And Money Magazine says that 70% of married couples argue about money ahead of fights about household chores, togetherness, sex, snoring, and even what’s for dinner. So, it’s an issue, so how do we deal with it? Well, you have to understand, first and foremost, that it is almost impossible to win with money when you’re not on the same page with your spouse. Running on two separate lanes, it’s gonna be so difficult to win. But coming together, not only tactically and emotionally, it unifies you and it gets you to your goals faster. So whether you’re married, dating, or want to be married one day, then this episode is for you. We’re going to hit these things head-on. I talked to a couple who went from hiding purchases and fighting about money all the time to being completely debt-free and on the same page. And we’ll show you some fun date night ideas that won’t break the bank. But speaking of breaking the bank. You know when you have those date nights that you look back and you’re like, aw, that was so great and so sweet. We had so much fun. It was wonderful. And then you have the dates you look back and you’re like, oops, not the best one. Well, if you haven’t watched this show yet, you know that Winston is the saver and I am the spender. So, the idea of spending money for me, I’m just like, just, just do it, right? Winston is much more of a saver, and he’s actually become more of a spender since he married me. But I remember when we first started dating, and he came to Nashville to visit me, and we were going to a Predators game, an NHL game, and we’re driving down I-65, and I remember, we’re talking, and I look down and he’s going, like, 52 miles an hour or something on the interstate and I remember I was like. Now, I drive 85 no matter where I am. Like, I am just a bad speeder. And so is he now, too, which is funny. I guess he was just kind of distracted, you know. I’m in the passenger seat. And so he’s talking all this and I look over and I say, “Uh hey, you know you can go faster, right?” He was like, “Huh? “Oh, oh, sure, sure.” So he starts speeding, and then, I’m not kidding, like two minutes later, we get pulled over! And he gets a double fine because the speed limit in Nashville went from, like, 70 to 55 and we didn’t know, so he was going, like, 85 in a 55. And it was terrible, and so he always reminds me of that. So whenever I try to correct his driving, he’s like, “You got me a ticket “like our first three months into dating.” And I was like, “Dang it, I know.” So yes, that was one date that it broke the bank majorly ’cause we were in college. We had no money anyways. I felt terrible. But anyways, we survived. Obviously. And I promise, you guys, you can have a great date night where you don’t get a speeding ticket or spend a lot of money. And so to prove my point, I challenged my two producers of the Rachel Cruze Show on a date night challenge with their spouse. Let’s take a look. Alright, I’m really excited about this segment because from behind the camera to in front of the camera. I pulled out Diana, who is the associate producer of The Rachel Cruze Show. And Chad, who is the producer of The Rachel Cruze Show. And I was like, you guys, we have got to do a fun challenge where we do a date night challenge. You two and your spouses against each other.

– You’re going down!

– And it starts, all right.

– And the trash-talking starts. Okay, so, here’s the deal. You each get 50 buckaroos. That’s right. And you’re gonna take your spouse on a fabulous date night and I want you to film it so we can see what you do. And actually in our Facebook group, you guys! You sent some great date night ideas, and so maybe you can use some of them to spark some creativity. And we’re gonna come back all together and decide who had the best dates. So, there’s really not a lot of rules. You gotta take the 50 bucks. That’s all you could spend.

– Okay, that’s easy.

– I have, I have questions. I have questions.

– Yes, go.

– Of course.

– Of course.

– What if we have gift cards already? Can we use–

– No. Just the $50 bill.

– Just the 50?

– Just the 50.

– That’s all we get?

– Yep.

– Okay.

– That’s it.

– One more question.

– Yes. So many questions.

– I feel like she’s at a little bit of an advantage. Now, let me tell you why. I have three kids, so there’s, there’s babysitting involved in this. She does not have any. You do have one on the way though so, congratulations.

– Congratulations.

– Thanks, thank you. It’s a girl.

– Uh, babysitter’s got to be included. All 50 of your bucks. The whole night.

– You’re making excuses.

– Look, three kids–

– A little tension.

– It’s a little–

– The challenge, I can’t wait.

– Well, it’s alright, I’ll still win.

– I don’t know. Diana’s feeling very–

– I’m confident.

– Very confident right now.

– Yeah, a little over, the pride before the fall.

– We’ll see, we’ll see.

– Okay, you guys. Go out, have some fun with your spouses and I can’t wait to see what you do.

– Alright, good luck.

– Have fun. Ohh!

– You saw that!

– [Rachel] We were on camera!

– Rachel gave us $50.

– Alright!

– To show the world how to have fun on a budget. I think the most important thing here, though, is that we beat Chad.

– Oh, that’s a piece of cake.

– First stop, dinner. And something that Tim and I do all the time is share a meal. So, we’re here at our second stop of the night, Goodwill.

– Yes.

– It’s a choose your own adventure kind of moment because we’re each gonna go in here and find presents for each other for under $10.

– And I love a good deal.

– It’s true, he does.

– Honey, orange tags, 99 cents! This is nice. What do you think about this one, honey?

– [Diana] No.

– Look at that, we can get both of ’em.

– [Diana] No.

– Thanks, but no price.

– [Diana] There’s a price.

– [Tim] Where?

– [Diana] 1.99, honey.

– Oh my gosh, for hand-painted?

– [Diana] That’s okay.

– What the heck?

– [Diana] I think you should find a different section.

– I don’t know.

– Alright, so I think that was pretty successful. I can’t wait to see what Tim got me. I can’t wait to give him his presents. So, here goes.

– Dumb and Dumber, number one funniest movie ever.

– You love golf and you love coffee. A childhood favorite. Wow, I know exactly where this can go in our house.

– [Tim] Where?

– In the garage. We still have $14 left. That means we have enough for dessert!

– Yeah!

– I wanted to tell you, Rachel, we have $7 left and our last thing isn’t gonna cost us a dime. Okay, so to conclude our date night, we are gonna do a little stargazing. And we’ve got a little set-up here. Got some pillows, blankets. And we’re just gonna lie in the bed of the truck and use our stargazing app. And it’s free-99.

– All right, guys, Team Chad here. Date night challenge. We got 50 bucks and I thought I would like to do something nice for my wife before we go on this date. So I decided to come to her favorite place, Pro Nail, and get her a pedicure. So honey, that is for you. We are left with $17 for our date. It’s time to get creative. Team Chad date night challenge continued. We got the pedicure done. That was a success, right?

– Yes.

– Yes, it was awesome.

– We got Lucas and Matty. Say hi, guys.

– [Lucas and Matty] Hi! We are gonna go drop these two off. Zero dollars on the babysitting, and let’s start round two.

– Bye.

– Start round two?

– Start round two.

– Yeah.

– Bye!

– High five. We decided we were going to, with our $17, see what we can find here at Demos’. I did a little bit of research. Looks like they have some chili chicken nachos for two on the appetizer menu. We have $6 left, what can we do with $6? We decided to come out to the park, check out the sunset. There’s ducks hanging around. They have food that you can purchase. Only 25 cents, so we are still underbudget. How’s that duck food looking?

– Tasty!

– Take a bite? I’ll give you 50 cents. We’ve got some money left.

– No!

– Come on, one bite.

– Nope.

– A dollar? She’s not gonna do it. Guys, this is proof right here, you don’t need a ton of money to go on a fun date. Alright, we’re gonna do a big toss. Look at those happy ducks. Some of ’em might be mad. Alright guys, that concludes our date night challenge for Team Chad and Whitney. We are finishing the night off with The Greatest Showman. Yep, that’s right. Went to Redbox and got it so we are left with around four dollars. Thanks for joining us on our date. Good luck to Team Diana, and yeah, we’ll see you guys soon.

– Bye!

– Alright, you guys. Date night challenge was given. Date night challenge was received by you two, and you had two great dates! It was so fun! Okay, so I wanna know, was it hard to have a great date night on 50 bucks?

– Absolutely not. Tim and I always have a good time and I think we knocked it out of the park. We went to Goodwill and had so much fun. And no, it was so easy, and we had $7 left.

– I know, you actually had money left over which was great. Okay Chad, hard?

– No, it was a good time. I mean, any time you get a chance to take the children to the babysitter’s and have a night with your wife–

– Wait, which reminds me?

– Yeah?

– Zero dollars for babysitting. What does that mean?

– Yes, I didn’t explain that, did I?

– No, I was like, who is this free babysitter?

– So, I saw some good ideas on the Facebook, and I traded with a friend. So, we’re gonna babysit for them.

– Oh, so using a money tip.

– Yep, thanks, Facebook. Using a money tip, there you go. Okay, it’s hard for me to judge ’cause we’re supposed to determine who had the better date night. You guys are funny. You and Tim, you all are funny. You bought Dumb and Dumber, which is really one of my favorite movies.

– It’s so good.

– It’s so funny. Winston and I quote that movie all the time. I mean, you, and the stargazing app.

– So cool, right?

– Actually, really cool.

– We have been using it for like, a year now.

– I know, it’s pretty fantastic.

– Okay Chad, you threw in the kids on camera, which, you know, there’s always gonna be a point there. Cute kids.

– Well, they’re cute.

– Cute, cute.

– Always. You had Whitney like, go off by herself for a little bit–

– Yeah!

– Which is–

– Pamper her a little bit.

– Which was a point.

– We didn’t need the whole 50.

– It was a point in my book, I was like, that was fantastic. That was really, really creative. And the free babysitting is good. So you guys, you’re kind of tied in my mind. Both really great date nights.

– Hey, don’t forget The Greatest Showman. I mean–

– Oh, that’s right!

– And I still have like, $4 left too. I still have like, $4.

– Two of my favorite movies! And you have $4 left?

– Yes.

– See, okay, this is a hard one. So you guys, it’s up to you. Now, you’re gonna vote. So comment below, are you Team Diana? Are you Team Chad? And next episode, we’ll determine who won. But hey, we’re all winners here, because 50 buck date night.

– It was awesome.

– It was good.

– Thank you, Rachel. It was so fun!

– Hey, I won’t leave you hanging this time.

– Oh, thanks.

– So nice.

– There we go.

– High fives all around, high fives all around. High fives. Alright, love it. So, when it comes to talking to your spouse about money, it can be hard at first ’cause a lot of people are like, “I don’t even know where to start. “How do we even begin these conversations?” Well, I have six money talks for every married couple that you guys can start together in talking about money and it’ll make it easier. But before those, I wanna make sure that you and your spouse have talked about something that’s very important: life insurance. The thought of something happening to one another is just unimaginable, but the conversation needs to happen. Winston and I personally trust Zander Insurance. Even though it is a tough conversation, they really make it easy for you to get on the same page and help you find the best options out there. And you know what, term life insurance is really not that expensive. They will shop around to make sure that you have the best rates. So for example, an average healthy 35-year old couple pays around $41 a month. So if you don’t have life insurance, go to or click the link below and get started. I know it’s something that’s so easy to put off for another time, but you need to make sure your family is protected. So while that is an uncomfortable conversation to have, money in general can be uncomfortable, too. So I have six money talks that every couple needs to have. One of those is the story talk. Now the story talk is all about understanding your spouse and where they’ve come from. You know, a lot of people say that growing up, your household was your classroom. And for a lot of us, there’s lessons we learned in that classroom that we wanna take into adulthood and use in our marriage and it’s great. And there are some lessons that we want to unlearn. I think we all have those, don’t we? But understanding where your spouses come from in regards to money is so key ’cause then you suddenly understand their heart and why they view money the way they do. So to jumpstart the story talk, there’s a statement with a blank that is important for you and your spouse both to fill out and to talk about. So what the statement is, is in my house, growing up money was blank. And just start that conversation and you’ll be amazed. If you haven’t had this conversation already, where your spouses come from. Now another money talk that you need to have is the fear talk. So when it comes to money, there is this sense of fear with a lot of people, and fear makes us do crazy things. This is why some people get a secret checking account, or a secret credit card, the fear of their spouse knowing what they’re buying, you know, just paralyzes them and they do all these crazy things. So fear is something that is very important to understand and to understand what your spouse’s greatest fear is. So there’s a few fears around money that actually Dr. Les Parrott wrote about. And they’re brilliant, and so I took that content, I was like, “Les, I have got to teach on this.” ‘Cause it is so good, so here are a couple of fears that you might have. Number one: The fear of just the lack of influence that you have in your money. I find that a lot of women have this feeling of like, “Okay, you know he’s a banker, he knows what he’s doing, “I, I mean, who am I to talk about money.” You have this idea that your influence is not important. So that is a fear for a lot of women. There also is a fear of lack of respect. And I find this with a lot of men. They’ll say things like, “Okay, well, she does the grocery shopping “and all the shopping for all of our things “we need in our house. “And so, I don’t know how much things cost, “like, she’s not gonna listen to me.” And so there’s just this idea that there’s not a ton of respect on your part. And this could go, you know, male or female, but I hear a lot of men talk about this. There’s also the fear of the lack of security, and this is the idea that if something were to happen, if there was a medical emergency, or someone lost their job, there’s not enough money to take care of you and your family. And that’s a real fear for a lot of people. There’s also the fear of not realizing your dreams, you know, you think back when you were dating, you were like, “Oh, one of my dreams in life “was to live on, at least six acres, “I just wanted to live on land.” And now, you’re stuck in a neighborhood at 45 years old, and you don’t see the possibility of that happening. Or maybe, you always wanted to race cars and it was a hobby you used to have, and you thought, “That’s