How to Have a Marriage Without Money Problems
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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?
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:
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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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!