Raising Kids Without Breaking the Bank

Episode 5

In today’s world, we’re constantly told we have to spend a lot of money to raise good kids. BUT today’s episode will give you tips and tricks on how you can raise kids without breaking the bank!

*Watch in HD for the best viewing experience!*

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Show Notes

Raising Kids Without Breaking the Bank

Being around kids can be a lot fun! Between the things they say and watching them run and play, it’s often pretty entertaining.

But raising kids? Well that’s a different story. Raising good kids takes some serious effort. It always has, and it probably always will.

In today’s world, though, it’s common for people to say that raising good kids also takes some serious money. But is that really the truth?

Let’s find out together!

Is Raising a Child Difficult?

When we welcomed our first daughter, Amelia, into the world a few years ago, it was—without a doubt—magical. All the clichés are true, especially the one about love at first sight. Those early moments with her felt like utter perfection.

And I wouldn’t change a thing. Okay, well maybe one thing.

What if, as they placed her in my arms and we locked eyes, things got a bit more magical and she transferred all kinds of information to me? Details like who she was and what she needed—and who she would become and what she would need in all our days ahead together?

I mean, wouldn’t that be awesome?

But babies don’t come with instruction manuals. All of those details are things you find out and figure out along the way—which can be both extremely rewarding and extremely difficult. If I’ve learned anything about raising kids so far, it’s that each stage comes with its own share of joys and challenges!

My Dad, Dave Ramsey, on Raising Good Kids in Every Season

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I jumped at the chance to invite my dad on the show. I wanted to pick his brain to understand what it was like to raise me, my sister, and my brother in times of both financial struggle and success.

And in today’s episode, Dad does what dads do best—he gives great advice. Here are just a few of the nuggets of wisdom he shares:

  • Use your money mistakes as teachable moments for your kids.
  • If you want to reach some sense of life-balance, work to develop a rhythm in every season.
  • When it comes to raising good kids, focus your efforts on principles and consistency, not perfection.

We also talk about some of our favorite memories and share a few (okay, maybe more than a few) laughs along the way.

Real Life With Rachel

Want to know a secret to helping your kids choose joy in any situation?

Dad adventures.

Maybe this was just a thing for us Ramsey kids growing up, but it seems like any time we were freaking out or bummed about something, Dad would say, “It’s okay! This is a dad adventure!”

We’re talking four flat tires on the interstate or being stranded on a boat in the middle of a lake during a thunderstorm. And just that simple phrase—dad adventure—worked every time.

Check out today’s show to see which dad adventures my dad says he “doesn’t remember.”

Bringing Home Baby Shouldn’t Break the Bank

Depending on your personality, registering for a baby shower can be one of the most fun or one of the most anxiety-producing scenarios. That’s because, these days, you’re not just dealing with one physical store. You have the whole of Amazon, Target and Buy Buy Baby combined.

Plus you’ve got the advice and opinion of every friend (and stranger) on both Facebook and Instagram to guide you on what to register for. Just register for it all!

I’m kidding, of course.

Raising good kids starts with giving them the care they need as infants. And the truth is, you just don’t need much to do that. So, in today’s episode, I share my four absolute must-buy infant items and four things I personally think are a waste of money.

Here are four must-buy infant items:

  1. A sleep sack
  2. A rock ’n play
  3. Aquaphor
  4. Term life insurance

And here are four infant items you can go without:

  1. Wipe warmer
  2. Expensive baby clothes
  3. Baby shoes
  4. Diaper genie

Do you agree with these lists? Let me know in my Facebook community! I’d love to know what you think!

And yes, you guys, I’m still singing the praises of term life insurance. That’s because there’s just no better way to show love for your new baby than to make sure they’re taken care of—no matter what.


Make sure your Kids are taken care of and

Get a quote with Zander


Dr. Meg Meeker on Raising Good Kids at Every Age

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had a moment or two as a parent when you’ve asked yourself: How do you raise an emotionally healthy child? How should children be brought up? Am I even doing this right?

Well, good news! On today’s episode, I’m joined by my good friend Dr. Meg Meeker, who is a pediatrician, parenting expert, and best-selling author!

In preparation for this episode, I reached out to my Facebook community for questions about parenting and raising good kids—and you guys delivered! Meg offers practical tips that I, no joke, couldn’t wait to get home and implement.

See for yourself what she has to say about:

  • The power of forming your own mom squad
  • Why raising good kids requires being kind to yourself
  • How to manage screen time for toddlers
  • How to dissolve sibling rivalry over time
  • Who trains kids how to treat their parents

*Bonus! Meg gives a special code to watchers for 20% off her best-selling course “Discipline with Courage and Kindness” or listen to her podcast here*

And, of course, Meg and I discuss the ever-elusive chore completion challenge. I mean, has any parent ever, in the history of parents, raised a kid who didn’t require a little prodding—pleading, even—to help around the house?


I love Meg’s thoughts on this struggle. She believes if kids complete chores, they earn a previously agreed upon reward. If they don’t complete the chores, they earn a consequence. It’s similar to the principle I teach: If you work, you get paid. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

Simple, right?

We have an awesome tool designed to help parents teach their kids how to win with money in a fun and easy way. It’s called Financial Peace Junior.

It comes with a parent guide, an activity book, a sticker chart, a chore chart, money envelopes, and an e-book of Smart Money Smart Kids—the national best seller I wrote with my dad. This kit has everything you need to raise good, money-smart kids with strong work ethics!

She Works Hard Saving Money

One of my favorite raising kids quotes from Meg is: “More important than succeeding at work is succeeding with your family.” So in today’s episode, we incorporate that idea into the best part of our show—sharing #sheworkshardsavingmoney stories! But instead of asking for your saving stories, we did a little twist and asked for stories about what your kids have saved for or are saving up for.

There were seriously so many awesome responses that it was hard to narrow them down! But here are some of my favorites:

“Big LEGO kits and a Barbie dream house.” — Christian

“A slushy at Target.” — Simone

“A waterpark hotel weekend. She’s about halfway there!” — Michelle

“My 16-year-old bought his first car and just bought a new iPhone.” — Jennifer

So fun. I just love those. Keep sending us your stories of saving success! Thanks again for watching and remember: Take control of your money and create a life you love!


Zander Insurance pays the producer of this show, The Lampo Group, LLC, advertising fees for mentioning their services in our programing.  Advertising fees are not based upon particular insurance products sales or business transacted between any consumer and Zander Insurance. 

Read the full transcript

– Hey you guys I’m so excited about this episode. We all know when it comes to kids, they don’t come with an instruction manual. They can’t always articulate exactly what they want, but as parents we all want to raise them to be happy, healthy, and successful. But how exactly do we do that in today’s society? Well stay tuned because today I’m going to tell you how to raise good kids without breaking the bank. This is The Rachel Cruze Show. Hey you guys welcome to this episode of The Rachel Cruze Show. Today we’re going to be talking about raising kids at every stage of life, and I’m bringing on parenting expert and my dear friend, Dr. Meg Meeker. But first since it’s Father’s Day, it’s like right around the corner, I thought it’d be so fun to bring my father, my dad on the show, Dave Ramsey. Thanks for being here.

– I’m honored, this is The Rachel Cruze Show.

– I know isn’t it huge and fun?

– It’s a big deal.

– It’s so fun, it’s so fun.

– Got your own coffee cup, you’re a big deal.

– Oh do I ever! I’m like so excited about it. Tell me this, as a dad, when you look back of raising us three kids, ’cause those of you that don’t know, I have an older sister, a younger brother. Around the time when especially my sister and I were young is when you and mom were filing for bankruptcy, I mean that whole thing was kind of falling apart. Talk to me about that season of life. How did you get through that struggle when you were raising kids?

– We were just worried that we could keep you warm and fed. We really weren’t necessarily concerned about your emotional wellbeing. We were just trying to survive. We didn’t throw emotional stuff on you guys, like scare you to death or something. You were of course a baby, but we didn’t run around the house going, we’re losing our home, we’re losing our home!

– Foreclosure is right around the corner!

– It wasn’t like bad movie or something. But that was going on and so you just gotta deal with that and then how to protect you guys but also walk you through whatever the realities of those things are.

– That made me think parents ask me a lot, so how do I talk to my kids about my mistakes? How do you feel like you and mom did that? I have my perspective, but were you guys intentional with that? ‘Cause I think that’s something that’s so important with parents, when you’re teaching your kids about money, with the mistakes and that was a huge mistake, I mean you guys went into debt and filed for bankruptcy. How do you feel like you share those mistakes well with us?

– I think we shared what we did that caused that. The mistake was we went into debt, the mistake was we built a house of cards, we were trying to get rich quick. The mistake was that we didn’t have a plan. The mistake was we weren’t steadily and regularly giving, the mistake was, and so the tactical things that caused the overall meltdown, we didn’t say the mistake was the bankruptcy, no it’s the things that led to that were the individual mistakes. They become a little one-off nuance to lessons rather than this big overwhelming melodrama lessons. When I’m on stage talking to an audience, I want the melodrama lesson for everybody to connect and go oh that guy’s done stupid, he knows how it feels. I put that whole put thing out there then, but when you’re dealing with a child in there, I’m just dealing with, okay, this is why we don’t do dad, ’cause we did it one time, this is why we do a budget ’cause we didn’t do that one time and here’s, and you’d nuance off of that.

– Yeah that’s so good. After the bankruptcy you started finding your way very organically about helping people manage their money wealth via your mistakes. Financial Peace University was kind of taking off, you were on the radio show, you were traveling for live events, so I’m curious, your kind of work, life balance, and how you did it all as a dad. ‘Cause a lot of moms who talk about this a lot with women, like how do you do it all, how do you raise kids, and work and all that? But I’m curious from a dad’s perspective, when you look back, how did you do it all?

– I think you don’t. In a given period of time. This idea that in a given day, you’re perfectly balanced and you have exercise, and prayer time, and children time, and spouse time, and work time, and everyday as a perfect little template, that’s just a load of garbage. People don’t live their lives that way. That’s just crap.

– I knew you were gonna say, I was I think he’s gonna say crap. And we did.

– Well it is, I mean, it is. So what happens is in a given moment, you’re training for something. You’ve got little kids, you got little kids, it’s all hands on deck. The season has changed and when we were starting a business, and trying to survive, even with you all little, there was a season where, that’s what I did. It really wasn’t optional. Much like a military family where dad is deployed, or mom is deployed overseas. They’re gone for eight months. What do you do? You deal with it. But it’s not forever, like when we got ready to go on book tour the first time, I was gone six weeks. I mean that’s a long time with little kids in the house. And we told you guys, this is what we’re doing, we’re paying a price to win, and when we get back from book tour, we’re going to Disney World. It’s like not here but then all here and celebrate, and so there’s a rhythm to that, the tide coming in, the tide going out, and that’s how you achieve balance over the scope of your life, not in a given month or year. But if you’re going for the whole scope of your life as a workaholic, you lose your family.

– Right, right, well I think that’s so good. Christy Wright, one of my favorite quote, she says, I say it all the time is, life balance is not about being 50/50, it’s about being 100% present. Those are some of my favorite memories with you, because I think people ask me a lot, well you had a dad that was gone a lot and traveled all the time, how did you deal with that? And I was like, I don’t know, I think kids are more resilient than we give them credit for, and the times you were present, you were present and granted that was before the day of iPhones and all that but you really were. You were present with us as kids and so I think that’s huge, and being at the important things, right?

– We scheduled a lot of events around, Daniel’s hockey schedule when he was playing hockey as a kid or your games when you were cheerleading, or proms or birthdays. A lot of–

– Middle school cheerleaders, very exciting.

– I was at the game though.

– I know, it’s just pitiful.

– She was a climber, she got up on, she was a little one–

– I was a flyer.

– She got up on top. A flyer, that’s right. A climber and a flyer. You have to climb before you fly.

– So those are some of my favorite memories. So I’m curious from you, are there moments in parenting, or maybe this could be a principle idea, or a specific memory of a time that you were like, yes, that was good, like I felt as a parent, ’cause I have those with Amelia now, where she said yes ma’am the other day, without me having to say, say yes ma’am, she said it, and I was like, I won! Like I won, it’s the small victories!

– I think there’s a bunch of them but they’re all like you’re talking about with Amelia, they all fall under the category of you’re standing there with your shoulders square at 13 years old and you actually walk through logically, a critical thought process and came to the correct conclusion. And we’re like, this one’s not gonna live in the basement. Thank you Lord, it’s like this one’s gonna make it! Those moments where you go, wow, they just did that, that kind of a thing. The other thing, our friend Meg’s gonna be on a little bit later but I heard her say this the other day, I hadn’t thought about till she said it but it does work. What you do with your kids expands in their minds. I heard from a guy named Josh McDowell back in the day, to date your daughters. Take your little daughters out on date, dress ’em up, and take ’em to a fancy restaurant. I did that like three times, ever. If you ask them, they’re like, my dad took me out on dates all the time.

– We did say that.

– And I didn’t. I didn’t, it was like, three times. But I mean I got credit for a lot more than I actually did.

– But it magnifies so much.

– The same thing was true, we talk about how to pay commissions, on the chores. We would sit down on Sunday night and do the chores. Well we would go like six weeks without paying them.

– This is true.

– ‘Cause we were just busy, we forget about it, we’re at church, we’re tired, they’re gripey, I don’t wanna deal with them, whatever it is.

– But then I was like jackpot.

– But then we would do it and it’s like, in their minds, every Sunday night was payday. They got paid every Sunday night. Well they really didn’t. We made up for it, we didn’t steal the money from ’em.

– It’s so true though because I remember, writing Smart Money Smart Kids with you, the book, I was going through writing it and I was like yeah, every Sunday night and then I was like, wait, did we every Sunday night? ‘Cause in my mind we really did, and then as you were talking about, you’re like oh god we skipped like two months one time. No it was not every, we tried to be consistent but it wasn’t. So yeah that’s so true. Things have just magnified.

– But the principles, principles are still there. You’re gonna work, you’re gonna give, you’re gonna save, and you’re gonna spend. But the payday on Sunday night thing, it expands in a kid’s mind when you do something right. You get more credit than you deserve.

– I’m curious a time when you look back on your parenting, you’re like, eh.

– We found out later some of the stuff you guys did in high school that we didn’t know. So apparently letting you go to some of these parties with your friends we trusted was a really bad idea. We didn’t know this at the time. We thought they were nice little kids but what they were was like little Eddie Haskell they were running around with. If you don’t who that is–

– Who’s Eddie Haskell?

– That’s the guy who fakes it on Leave It to Beaver. He’s the kid who acts like he’s, he acts like he’s, yes Mrs. Cleaver. She had some of those running around but they were little party animals and misled my angel children.

– It’s all their fault.

– Yeah right. But anyway, so that apparently, we shouldn’t have let you go to some of those parties. The one time I remember was just funny. We’ll throw your sister under the bus. One of the first times we ever left her, your older sister to babysit the other two, and we thought she was ready. She had actually babysat other people’s kids, so we thought well, we’re gonna go out to eat, I’m not paying anybody, put this kid in charge. We get a call from drama here about halfway through the meal and apparently the natives are restless back at the house, there’s been a mutiny on the bounty, there’s been an uprising, a revolution has occurred in the Ramsey household, ’cause apparently my oldest daughter decided not only was she in charge but they all had to do exactly, to the penny, what she wanted them to do.

– And she took the wooden spoon out ’cause she was gonna–

– She was gonna whip ’em.

– She’s gonna discipline us! And I do remember that.

– Yeah, so we had to come home and–

– We came out screaming, we were like, mom, dad!

– Take the drill sergeant out of control of the other drama children. It didn’t work at all, it was bad.

– That’s so true, that’s so funny.

– Not ready for primetime.

– That’s a good one, that’s so good. So one of my favorite segments we do on the show is called Real Life with Rachel, so I thought you’d join me for this, Real Life with Rachel. I was thinking of Real Life with Rachel of moments and memories with you where I was like, oh yeah this was so fun and so great. I have a couple in my mind. But overall one of my favorite themes that you plugged into our childhood is anytime there was an immediate danger or something like really bad was about to happen, dad would look at us be like, it’s okay guys, it’s a dad adventure. Like we got four flat tires on the interstate, don’t worry it’s a dad adventure. The lake, this is the one that probably is the most scarring to me. We went out on the boats and we were like, I don’t know how old were we? Young?

– Daniel was asleep in a carrier up onto the front.

– Oh dear goodness. Horrible, horrible. We’re on the boat and this huge storm over, you see it, and it’s likeand it’s coming, Dave’s like, yeah, do ski a few more rounds guys, the lightening is not here yet. So we’re like, and it’s like literally on us, and you’re like, okay get in the boat, get in the boat! You start driving, I mean it feels like it’s a hurricane in this lake. We’re in the middle of the lake, it’s just lightening and thunder and the thing that scared me the most is, you looked at us and you’re like, put on your life jackets, ’cause at that point I think we could all swim, and we didn’t always wear the life jackets in the boat, don’t get mad at us but we didn’t. You’re like put on the life jackets and I was like, oh my god we’re gonna die. And we had to go under ’cause the rain hits you so fast when you’re driving fast on a boat, like little needles, and finally you had to pull off, okay you take it from here, ’cause I think I blacked out after this. It was so horrible. You had to pull the boat over and we had to get out, remember that?

– So it was raining.

– No it was a storm! It was a really bad storm.

– I think it lightening twice and so, lightening on the lake is dangerous so you don’t sit in the middle of the lake when it’s lightening. We just pulled over to the side while it was raining. But it was apparently a big deal. So yeah, we just pulled up on the side, stood out in the rain, held the boat–

– No with a rope and it’s like, and mom has to take us up.

– There were waves, because there was wind.

– Yes and mom had to take us up in the woods, and I remember I looked over and you were like, and we were crying, I mean it was like really scary. I remember you were just like, it’s okay guys! It’s a dad adventure! We’re like oh my gosh.

– It’s like a John Candy movie.

– So, if scary things happen to your kids, just don’t freak out, just say it’s an adventure, and then it’ll be great.

– Like the time we were skiing and you climbed up on your cousin’s shoulders and you fell off?

– Yes, another dad adventure. I ended up in a hospital.

– She didn’t handle the skis. I don’t how you can fall off of somebody’s shoulders and still go straight down–

– I didn’t fall off. He fell and then I fell.

– And hit the ski, yeah, she fell. And hit her hip–

– He fell.

– Right on the skis, of course, five staples in the head or whatever–

– Ended up in the hospital.

– And her mother’s mad at me, it was my fault she fell. I don’t know, it’s a dad adventure.

– Oh dad adventures. Good memories and scarring all at the same time. But we’ve got a great show coming up today. I reached out to my Facebook Community for some questions about raising kids that my friend Meg Meeker will answer, but first since I just had my second baby, little Caroline, I know there’s things around the house that when they’re babies that you really don’t need. Let’s be honest, like, did we ever have a wipe warmer?

– A what?

– Okay exactly. So there are things that you don’t need. Let’s head over to my house ’cause I want to give you four practical things that you need when you have a baby, and four things that are just a waste of money. All right, like I said before, there are a lot of things that new mothers can waste their money on. We’re gonna talk about four things new moms, you really don’t need. This is gonna be kinda controversial but I’m excited about it! So comment below on things that you’re like, Rachel, you are so wrong, ’cause I’m okay, I can take it. I think you do not need a wipe warmer. Listen, that baby is gonna okay if their little wipes are not warm, okay? Now if you get this at a baby shower and you love it, and you wanna keep it then it’s fine, whatever. Just don’t go buy one, you really do not need a wipe warmer. You also