#56 - Rachel Cruze on how to talk about money and consumer culture with your kids

February 13, 2024
Rachel Cruze

Episode Summary

This week on The Aro Podcast, Joey sits down with personal finance expert Rachel Cruze to delve into the emotional landscape of money. Rachel emphasizes that at the core of understanding how we handle our finances is understanding ourselves, diving into how our upbringing and personality shape our financial behaviors. Joey and Rachel explore the emotional ties we have with money and discuss the shifting expectations of needs and wants in today's society. They also dissect the communication dynamics of money within households and unravel the influence of the comparison trap, especially in the age of social media. Rachel shares practical insights on creating a financial plan, incorporating some Ramsey Solutions practices, and offers a glimpse into her new children's book, I'm Glad for What I Have, which she hopes will be just as impactful to parents as it is kids. The conversation wraps up with Rachel sharing her family's approach to managing technology and her experiences with digital detox.

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Episode Transcript

Rachel Cruze (00:00):

The thing we all know about social media, so I'm just preaching to the choir, I'm sure, but it's one snapshot, especially on Instagram or Facebook or whatever. It can be such a dangerous place because you see 15 seconds of someone's life and you're exactly right. You paint a whole picture of something and you're like, if you want that 15 second picture, you got to get the whole 360. And you may not want the whole 360, right? But it's so easy just to fall in that trap.

Joey Odom (00:35):

Welcome back to The Aro Podcast. Hey, it's Joey Odom, Co-Founder of Aro and Gang. We got a doozy for you today. Rachel Cruze joined us today. Rachel. Rachel Rachel's the daughter of Dave Ramsey. Rachel is a guru when it comes to financial peace. The Ramsey organization has delivered financial peace to millions of people. Rachel hosts three podcasts on the Ramsey network. She's written three books and her most recent book is called I'm Glad for What I Have, and it's a departure from what Rachel has done in the past. This is a children's book, and what I love about Rachel and how she approaches the topic of finances is she talks about the core of this. So I'm glad for what I have is for young kids and it's about contentment, building contentment at a very young age, which is a foundation that's going to make a money discussion much easier in future.

So I love the way she goes about talking about this. We also talk about, and this is Hear Me Out here, we talk about how alignment with spouses around finances creates intimacy, which is a really interesting twist. We actually talk about technology as well as we talk technology and how to build intimacy by putting down our phones and being fully present. Rachel gives some good tips in their home of what they do, and she also talks about how they wrestle with it just like we all do with hard topics. So I want to encourage you, if you feel less than perfect clarity when it comes to finances or technology, you're in very good company. We're wrestling through this and it's worth wrestling through. These are worth wrestling through. I'd love to ask you real quick before we jump to the episode, will you go and give Aro a five star rating wherever you listen to podcasts?

Spotify, apple Podcast, drop us a five star rating. That makes a huge difference to us. We'd appreciate that. And if you're interested in how you can bring some intimacy into your marriage or how you can connect with your kids more, connect with your spouse. We believe when you change your relationship with your phone, you change your relationship with everyone around you. And what we have built at Aro is a tool for you to do that so you can thrive in your relationship. So go to goaro.com to learn a little bit more about how we approach this difficult topic of technology and the hope we all have as families to get closer together, create some distance from your screens so you can get closer as a family. For now, sit back, relax and enjoy my conversation with the wonderful Rachel Cruze

Gang. What's more fun than riding roller coasters or traveling the world? You guessed it. Getting out of debt. At least that's what our guest thinks. See, she was born with a copy of QuickBooks in her hands and now she writes books on money. Even though she's a spender at heart, she's a saver in practice. You might find this Brentwood High alum Bruin up a drink at Smart Money, happy hour, or serving up a slice of financial peace. Yes, she lives in Nashville, but Rocky Top will always be home sweet home to. She hosts as many podcasts as she has kids, and she's written even more books than that. She doesn't smoke, but she sure does marry them. You're about to be glad for what you have with her on The Aro Podcast. So for now, I want you to give yourself a gift by saving a few minutes to spend with our guest, Rachel, Nicole Ramsey Cruz.

Rachel Cruze (03:59):

Joey, I'm going to give an applause here. And you got my middle Rachel, Nicole Ramsey Cruze. I have not heard Nicole in probably 15 years.

Joey Odom (04:10):

This is where is where the story gets weird. Rachel, this is where it gets weird. I pulled up your wedding announcement to go. That's how deep I had to go. I had to do some Googling around to find the wedding announce for you in Winston to find your actual middle name

Rachel Cruze (04:25):

Of that. That's what it was. 2009. Really? Did you? Good. I'm

Joey Odom (04:29):

Impressed the internet. Internet still keeps that

Rachel Cruze (04:31):

Stuff. Yeah, it does. Which is scary, which is why we need you in technology boundaries. That's probably very real. Well, joy, thanks for having me. I so appreciate it.

Joey Odom (04:42):

It's so good to see you. Appreciate it. You are a Brentwood high Bruin, by the way, and you brew up some smart money happy hour. So I'm excited to have you, Rachel. We'll get into this, but I have benefited from, and my family has benefit benefited from you for years. This is the principles you teach. The principles are the principles we've taught our kids by when it comes to money and the principles that we live by. And so it's fun to have you here and you've done that for many others. I saw you speak at Buckhead Church years ago before we met, when we lived in Atlanta. So just a start with gratitude for the way that you approach such a difficult topic and make it so understandable for people like me.

Rachel Cruze (05:22):

Oh, well thank you. I know, know money. It is an interesting one though because I feel like it does. It comes with everyone's kind of baggage, all their stories, their mistakes and all of it. And so to guide people out of the shame and the guilt and all those emotions that can so easily be attached to money and give them hope and a plan that hey, nobody's perfect when it comes to this subject, but it can be a hard one and a stressful one to navigate.

Joey Odom (05:49):

Well, I'd actually love to start there and we're going to talk about, I'm glad for what I have, which is just the wonderful children's book that you finally wrote, a book that I could read, which I appreciate on your reading level that's nice of you. But you talk about money. See, I was going to say you talk about money, but you don't really talk about money. I think especially you're talking about something much more deep at the core. Will you talk about from yourself when you think about what you do, yes, it's the surface as you're talking about money, but you're talking about stuff that's so much deeper. Will you talk about the core of what you believe that you are really talking about in your message?

Rachel Cruze (06:24):

Yeah, I mean I think with money, it's interesting because I think a lot of people focus on the numbers and interest rates and mortgage rates, whatever the thing is, which I can go down that road all day too. But at the core of understanding money, you have to understand yourself. And so much of our money mistakes and the habits of money come not just because of money, but because of us as people. And so there's a whole side of money of contentment and generosity and understanding who I am as a person and my story, even how you grew up, your personality, all of that influences how you handle money. And so when you can get and fix you yourself, then your money suddenly starts to do the things you want it to do. And so a lot of people call in when I host the Ramsey show and they have a marriage, their spouse won't get on board or their kids. It's these external problems where the truth is the money's just the symptom. The issue isn't the money, it is the deeper relational issues and with ourselves that we have to realize. So helping people navigate, I think understanding that behavior change and understanding that we have to be healthy people in a sense in order to handle our money well, because a reflection of who we are,

Joey Odom (07:45):

And it's a dumb question, but sound like a child asking you, but why is money associated with all of those feelings with the euphoria and the dread and the happiness and the joy and the terror and all of that stuff? Why is money so attached to all of those things attached maybe more than anything attached to emotions?

Rachel Cruze (08:06):

I think it's attached to every part of our lives, and it's the one sense currency I guess if you will, that allows our lives to move. And so if you want your kid to go be a travel sports kid, you have to have money to fund that and that gets to the dream of what they are. So it is this utility that we have to have and it's a utility that usually is attached to every part of our lives. And so that's where I feel like that magnification of, if we don't handle it well, the stress of that ends up becoming stress on other parts of our lives too. And so that is one thing too of kind of reshaping and being so many people, their money is the thing that dictates their life so much. And we want to reverse that perspective. And that's why I always say we want you to control your money and not your money control you because when you're the one telling it and you're in charge of it, suddenly it's in the right position of where it should always be in that sense. But sometimes that script can get flipped. But yeah, it's an interesting one to navigate, but it touches every part of our lives.

Joey Odom (09:08):

It does. And so much of our upbringings, and you talk a lot about that in your books as well. So when someone says, and you all at Ramsey and you talk, Hey, let your money work for you. But there are, like you said, the travel sports for example. There are very practical things that maybe someone would say that I need, but at some point, what is it? What do they say? There's more month at the end of the money or something like that. So how do you balance out a message that says, Hey, you need to get your financial house in order when there are very practical needs that people have and things that people need or say they need where they say, I just don't think I can. I think there's just more that I need than I have,

Rachel Cruze (09:51):


Joey Odom (09:51):

I have able to spend.

Rachel Cruze (09:52):

Yeah, totally. And I think as we sit here today at the beginning of a new year of 2024, I think there are two competing elements of what you asked that I see. And there's the lifestyle, the inflation if you will, the actual math of what's going on. And people are feeling that today. It's actually come back down a little bit, but if you remember last year I'm like, you'd go to buy eggs and they would cost as much as a semester in college or something. You're like, wait, how much am I buying? So people really felt that, and it took a toll because 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. So you throw a wrench in the grocery budget for people and upping it two, three, $400 a month, it majorly affects people. And that's just in one area. So there's a real math thing, and I feel like Gen Z and sometimes the younger end of the millennials are like, well, all of our parents got to buy houses when they were $20,000 and now we have to.

And there's a truth about the housing market today that it is, I think there is a hard reality that the numbers, they don't have emotion, but they are what they are. There's that side. But then I also think there's a side to us to that behavior that we have to put in the equation too. You can call it lifestyle creep, you could call it our expectations of life. But I think what we expect today and how our life should be day to day is a higher expectation than it was back in the eighties or the nineties. You look back and you're like, we just didn't expect when we rolled down our car window, this is the motion we did growing up. And now you expect everything just to be so easy. So there is a level of convenience and luxury that we experience as a norm today that becomes an expectation.

And so when we talk about needs versus wants, this is what's really hard for people is because what they feel like is a need in turn, really it is a wants, but in our world today, it's shaped and it's so ingrained in us that it is a need because we see it all over social media. We see it whether it's reality tv, I mean we are the generation that has a peak into people's lives unlike anything before. I mean even podcasts and YouTube, I mean you could do any platform. There is so much out there. And because of that exposure, I think we've gotten comfortable with this level. And to ask people to come down here and make sacrifices is really hard. And it sucks. People don't want to go backwards in life. But I think those are the two parts of the equation. When someone comes to us and says, what do I do?

I mean I'm living paycheck to paycheck or I just don't feel like there's any margin. I think those two things have to be addressed. And then you said it in my intro, but it's true too. I mean, I think debt and payments play a huge part and people living that cycle of just paycheck to paycheck too. So you do have to look at, Hey, what am I choosing to do with my money and what's best for my family longterm? So that's kind of, sorry that was a big answer, but kind of all in the equation. That's all true, but we have to be adults and deal with that.

Joey Odom (12:44):

And then as a parent, and again, we have a lot of parents who listen. So as a parent it becomes hard as well to then as you talk about money, because there's a certain level you want to teach your kids about stewardship. You want to teach your kids about working hard towards something, but at the same time, you don't want to teach a real scarcity mentality as well. And so that's where it becomes really, really difficult. I remember when I was growing up, my parents, my dad's business went through a really difficult time. My parents sat us down and said, Hey, this is if we're going to provide your basic needs, if you need more, then you have to go do it on your own. And at the time, like you said, that kind of sucked. That didn't feel really good. But as I look back, that was one of the greatest lessons I ever had in my life because at that point, and I've done it all, I sold candy on the bus and it was little league umpire and list any job working at a gas station, pizza delivery, boy, all that stuff.

And I think out of that I came with a healthy perspective of money, but with my kids, there's still this on one side, like I said, this one side of, oh, you all don't understand what it's like to work for something. And then the other side, I don't want to teach this scarcity tight-fisted mentality. So it's such a balance. There's no question in there, but I'm sure you hear those sorts of things, although the whole array of spectrum. And then how does that, as a parent, maybe here's the question, how's that apparent? How do you learn how to not let your upbringing so inform you to an unhealthy way of then saying, well, I'm not going to do it, my parents did type of thing.

Rachel Cruze (14:12):

Yeah, I think it's a great question because so much of how we're shaped foundationally on any part of life, not just money comes from that household. I mean, a lot of therapists say that your classroom growing up was your household, and that is where you learn so many lessons. And so I think we all have lessons that we take from that and want to apply to our own lives. There's some lessons we want to unlearn and be like, we're going to do that differently. But yeah, I think the healthiest mentality is understanding two parts of how money's communicated in a household. And it's communicated verbally, but it's also communicated emotionally. And so if you grew up in a home where money was communicated and it was communicated verbally, sometimes if there was a high tense emotional side, the verbal was not great. It was stress that the parents are laying the issues on the kids or there's fighting between the parents.

So we don't want that kind of communication, but we do want a calm presence, calm, emotional, which usually means there's some level of control or some level of a plan that we know what we're doing and then that communication comes out of that. But I mean, I even got Joey, I caught myself the other day because my kids, they are just little consumers. I'm like, I don't even know what's happened. I'm like, that's why I wrote this book. I was like, my kids have to learn contentment because I'm such a spender too. So I'm like, I see so much with me. So that's my habits and them. But I started to say, oh, we don't have the money for that, or it's not in the budget. I would give them kind of a scarcity easy out in my head. If they don't think there's money, then that ends the conversation versus the reality is, no, I do have the $7 to buy the bracelet on Amazon that my 6-year-old asked for.

I have that money. But it takes more effort as a parent to sit down and say, Hey, listen, this just isn't a wise purchase and this is mom's money. Maybe you can work and earn it and we can go down that lane and talk about that. But also there's so many bracelets up in your room, let's go up there. But it takes effort. As a parent, it's easier just to shut down the conversation. But I have found that I'll use these scarcity statements that are lies basically. And I don't want that ingrained in them either. I mean, I grew up with, it's not in the budget. It's not in the budget. And for some people that's going to be the truth. A parent is going to do a budget and there is not money to go and sign up for 20 summer camps that the kid wants to plug into.

There's not money. So there is a reality of money. I want them to know that money's finite. There is a certain amount we have right now that we can use, and that's a real lesson, but yet the belief that we're still going to enjoy our life. There's still ways to make more if we want to do that too, but our happiness isn't hung on these things either. So it's kind of that whole conversation. But it's a tricky one. The tactical side is so easy teaching them to give save and spin or for me, it is like we can do a chore chart, we can hammer that stuff out all day. But it's the other lessons that you really, the character that's built, that's almost more important I think, than even the tactical at times, getting their heart in the right position. But

Joey Odom (17:13):

I totally agree. I am curious of you dedicated this book to Caroline, you say, who is a spender just like you. So does Caroline ever throw a back on you and be like, Hey mom. Huh? Do you really? You need that dress, huh? Huh? Seems like you got a few in the closet, throw that at you.

Rachel Cruze (17:30):

She'll randomly be like another pair of shoes. Yeah, she did say that the other day and I was like, well, you play with them around the house. So maybe so.

Joey Odom (17:37):

I like that. Boy, that's ninja mom right there. That's good. Quick thinking.

Rachel Cruze (17:42):

Oh man, she's my little mini me though. For sure.

Joey Odom (17:45):

I love that. So you talk, one thing I really like about, especially in Love your life, not theirs, you talk about those core things and the habits, and I love when you talk about habits, start with what you believe about yourself. And then so you go to this very core piece of, because that book is, you got seven habits that are so practical and effective. But it does begin, like you said with the beginning part, how do you view yourself? I'd love to hear a little bit about that concept. And then I want to talk about two of the habits, so the comparison and making a plan. So before we talk about those two things, will you talk about that the habits are what you believe about yourself? What do you mean by that exactly? On what you believe about yourself and that kind of shaping your habits?

Rachel Cruze (18:30):

Yeah, I mean, I think that there has to be a level of awareness about yourself as you interact with money. Because quickly, money, and as someone that goes to scripture for life and direction, there's a lot of warnings about money in there. And I see that very clearly. And so I think that there's something to be said about that, that money can be a tool and a gift to better your life and give to others and be generous. And it can play a great role. But if you yourself don't know, not even how to handle it, but also you use it almost to your own detriments to fulfill something in you that you're wanting and needing, money is perfectly there to do that, which I think the danger is very obvious there. And so yeah, there's a sense that you really have to be grounded in who you are so that this tool is used properly and not to further whether it's bad habits or again, trying to fulfill something in you that so easily can be with money. So that there's a caution there that I think people have to have.

Joey Odom (19:37):

Love that. And you touched on it earlier, but the two habits you talk about, one, I'd love to hear about the comparison trap, frankly, that people can get into two, will you talk about the habit and how you can maybe establish yourself or push against that comparison, recognize it, and then make sure that it's not something that you're really striving towards? Even subconsciously

Rachel Cruze (20:00):

The comparison game. It is so real. And honestly, even since writing that book, it's been a few years since I published that book. I read an article even just recently before Christmas, and it was talking about how comparison almost as a natural bent and who we are as people, because you even go back to tribal settings or what was going on, you had to size yourself up either against the enemy or even when we hunted for food, it was like your pre, there's a natural comparison that is instinctive in us. And so as I was reading this, I was thinking about, I was like, that is so interesting because I do talk about jealousy and envy that gets trapped in that comparison game. But I think that is the problem. I think there is a natural bent in who we're created to be that you kind of size yourself up and there's a natural comparison.

And I don't know if that in of itself is the thing we want to fight against. I think it's when you see something that you want and suddenly you create a story in your head about that person because they have it and you don't, or somebody that maybe has something and there's a jealousy, there's an envy. You don't want them to have it, but you want, it starts to become this game. And that's where the red flags go up, where you're like, okay, that's not my job to create a story in my head. We did an event together, Joey, and I remember saying on the stage, true, I'm for so long, I created stories in my head. If I saw something that people had, I was like, oh, they probably just their credit card, they're probably deeply in debt because they have that. And I'm like, there, I'm creating a story to make myself feel better by almost putting someone else down where I don't even know.

I don't even know if that's the reality, right? So that comparison game, I think can naturally spring up in us. And so I don't want people to beat themselves up on that because I think there is kind of a natural instinct, knee-jerk reaction that happens. It's when it goes the next step and the next step. And you've got to be aware because your joy is just robbed in the middle of that. And Craig Groeschel, he has a great quote about comparison though. He said, comparison either makes you inferior or superior and neither honors God. And it is true. If it doesn't just stop, you kind of size it up, you figure it out and you move on with your day, good for them and you just move on. But the moment we start judging or jealousy plays in, I think is the danger.

Joey Odom (22:16):

Well, and the real thing there is exactly what you said. We're going around, like you said, with a natural bent towards that. It's a natural thing that we do. And I think what you're describing is just can we be aware of it in ourselves because we're not aware of we're just going through life because it's a natural thing to do. You wouldn't really second guess the fact that feeling that you should push back against that thing that you're naturally feeling. And so it's just probably maybe for people listening right now, it's just maybe taking a little bit of note throughout the day when you feel yourself doing that and then just say, okay, I'm getting, even if you don't stop it, just saying, okay, that's a comparison. You know what I mean? Just building

Rachel Cruze (22:53):


Joey Odom (22:53):

Around that.

Rachel Cruze (22:54):

Yes. Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah. And I think even for me, where I can get in trouble is I see something someone has and suddenly it doesn't turn into Chelsea, but discontent on my end where I'm like, oh, now I want that. And now I'm thinking about that and your whole day has kind of shifted or even that hour or whatever the timeframe is that is unnecessary. And it's my discontent at that point that is being shaken. And so I think you're exactly right though. It's just the awareness, which is so easy just to kind of have a fog throughout the day and you just go. But when you start checking in with yourself, it is amazing. There's thoughts that come in. And just to be aware,

Joey Odom (23:34):

Heath Wilson, Aro's, Co-Founder, his wife Mistye, has a great line of comparison. And if you're going to compare yourself to one part of someone's life, you have to compare yourself to all of it. If you want one piece of it, you have to have all of it. And typically, like you said, that's one that you probably don't want to do. When you stack up that one thing you really want and you compare it in the breadth of your life, you realize, okay, I really have the things that I want, but there's some gaps. Sure, but that's not worth replacing all of it. So that's a good little fight I've had about comparison in one way to stop it, I think

Rachel Cruze (24:04):

For sure. And it's the thing we all know about social media, so I'm just preaching to the choir, I'm sure, but it's one snapshot, especially on Instagram or Facebook or whatever. It can be such a dangerous place. You see 15 seconds of someone's life, and you're exactly right, you paint a whole picture of something and you're like, if you want that 15 second picture, you got to get the whole 360. And you may not want the whole 360, but it's so easy just to fall in that trap.

Aro Member (24:36):

My second grader is very sensitive. She's my sweet, empathetic physical touch, loves to be connected to me. And we were doing math this past year and she was really struggling with a new concept, and I was like, my brain was just checking out. I'm like, it's very simple addition. You're like losing that patience very quickly. So I picked up my phone and I started scrolling Instagram and I just completely checked out, and she's struggling, her brain's working through this concept, and she set her pencil down and she said, well, you're on your phone on Instagram. I'm done with school, and my heart just shattered. And I just thought I missed the mark so big. And I was like, oh, come sit down. Let me have a redo. We did a lot of parent reads and I said, let me try that again. And I sent my phone to the side and we try it again.

But unfortunately that happens a lot. And she'll be the one who will say, do you mind putting your phone in the box? Can we read a book together? Or she's really on into that. She wants that. She wants, she'll say, can you look at me eyes on me? Or something like that. And so it's not rude when she says it. And sometimes I'll say, Hey, mom's making a dentist appointment for you. I need to be doing this on my phone. So they understand that it's not all me just scrolling on Instagram to escape, but that's one example. That was a huge catalyst for me saying, I need to be putting my phone away. This is embarrassing. You're an adult, but it's hard to do that.

Joey Odom (26:00):

We love hearing stories from the Aro community. The one you just heard actually comes from our Voices of Aro episodes where I sit down with Aro members and they share about their stories and their lives with Aro. Make sure to check out the Voices of Aro episodes, and if you're a member who would like to share your own story with Aro, please email us at stories@goaro.com.

And now this is, I teed it up in the intro, but making a plan, the give, save spend, which is as just like anything that's transformational for your life. It is a very basic concept, but it's one of those things that's hard to implement. It's just like exercise. We all know how to burn calories, you eat less, you move more, but it's still really hard to do. And this is another one of those that it's such a good amazing thing, especially when you start young and your kids just having that give safe spend. And then not just saying it's for the kids, but having for yourself as well. Will you just unpack this, making a plan and the concept of give safe spend?

Rachel Cruze (27:06):

Yes. Yeah. This is what it kind of ends up boiling down to is a budget which most people hate the B word, and they're like, oh my gosh. For some people it doesn't like you're

Joey Odom (27:17):

Not supposed to say the B word on here, by

Rachel Cruze (27:18):

The way, the B word. We won't say the B word. Yeah, that's okay. But it can feel like, oh my gosh, if I live on a budget that automatically means I can't have any fun or I'm restricted to do what I really want to do. Especially for us spenders. That's kind of the knee jerk reaction. And so framing it up and realizing that a budget, it doesn't limit your freedom. It gives you freedom, it gives you permission to spend, to save, to give, to do with your income what you want it to do. And I think that's what's hard is for so many people, they get around the tax time and they look back and they're like, I made what last year? And they're like, I have literally no clue where it went, right? That's how a lot of people live. And so just to be intentional, it really is.

It is a different mindset to say, I'm going to have a plan for what happens with my paycheck. So we teach a zero based budget, so your income for the month minus all of your expenses, including giving and saving, should equal zero. And that priority is give, save, and spend, just like you were saying, because giving it is such one of the most important things to be doing with your money, even if you don't have a lot. I always say give a little until you can give a lot, but be giving something that practice, that habit is so crucial, and that's the first thing you do. And so even if you're not a spiritual person, find something a cause, something that you are passionate about and just practice that. And then saving, be paying yourself something. And so we talk about emergency funds or that could even be investing later on.

And then you're going to pay bills and you'll do a prioritization of your four walls, which is food, shelter, utilities, and transportation. And then look down and insurance, childcare, like these things that have to be paid if you have debt, the payments so you don't get behind and then look down at everything else, whether it's fund money or clothes or things that are more in the wants category may feel like a need, but I would stretch to say try to make it a once down below. I mean, it's honestly math. That income minus all those categories equals zero. And we tell people it takes about three months to get this right, about 90 days. And so the first month is a disaster. Usually you're trying to figure out and you're sick. Usually when you realize, oh my gosh, how much do we spend on restaurants?

And once you start actually tracking this stuff, you're like, oh my gosh. And you'll change things throughout the month. The second month it'll get better, and by the third month you'll really get in this rhythm. But you're exactly right, the parallel between the health world and the financial world runs so similar because it is behavior. That's it. You can know the fifth grade math and what to do, but actually doing it and implementing it. But we have an app called Every Dollar. And honestly, joy, it makes it so easy. We do, we help walk you through the zero-based budget. It's color coded, you got graphs, you got charts. If you do the premium version, it connects to your bank account. So your actual charges, if you go to Costco, it will drop in the app so you can drag and drop it and it'll help keep track of how much you have in each category.

But it's a practice. I mean it really is. And my husband and I, we've been doing this for 12 years and we still budget every month. I just made the budget for the first of the month this morning with him. So I mean, it is a practice we do, but it gives me peace. It really does. And I think this out of control feeling that we can sometimes feel or not even I think subconsciously because to our point earlier, we may not even be aware of how we're feeling about it, but when you actually have control over it and there's a plan and there's numbers that you're actually physically saying, there's something about that too. It's not just in your head. You're seeing it and it does something to this control aspect that we can't control a lot. We can't control the fed or inflation or mortgage rates. We can't control that stuff, but we can control when our paycheck hits and what we do with it. And it goes so much further when you actually have purpose for it. And so yeah, so it's not to be a buzzkill, it's to really help bring a level of peace.

Joey Odom (31:05):

Well, I have to think that this also that practice not only for you and your husband, but for other couples as well. I got to think that that practice aligns you together. That's actually something that you are unified on, which creates a stronger bond in marriage. Is that too much of a stretch?

Rachel Cruze (31:20):

Oh no. I was going to say we could have a whole other podcast on money and marriage because it's a big topic because a lot of couples, they don't work on the same team in that sense. They kind of run their two different lanes in it. And back to what we were saying earlier at the beginning of this podcast, how money's about you, it's about you. It's not always about the money, but it's about you. So when you work with your spouse and you unite on the subject and do a budget together, you share a checking account, you really see yourself as a team. You suddenly are talking about, Hey, what's going on this month? You start looking at the calendar, you start talking about goals. Hey, next summer, do we want to take a big trip? You actually start talking about your life, and there's some vulnerability there that can be scary for a lot of people, but I really do. I encourage people to press into that because there is a intimacy that is created when you share something like that, like money with your spouse. It removes a lot of the money fights that could be happening. And I think it just creates this team mentality that we're in this together. We're not against each other or running on these two separate lanes. So there's power in that.

Joey Odom (32:25):

It's such an interesting thing that, and we talk a bunch about intimacy and how technology can get in the way of that, and again, the opportunity we have, but it's such an interesting thing that this money alignment can lead to intimacy. And I really do believe it. I really do agree with that. It's just you're working towards a similar goal. And that's just united. I mean, that's all. Intimacy is just closeness and it's full transparency on the give safe spend. I thought about you a few weeks ago, my daughter 13, she's been doing a lot of dog sitting, and she has her give safe spend down. I mean, she's like me, she's a spender like me too. But she has disciplined herself towards that and she's really great at it. And she also, like all 13-year-old girls in the world loves Taylor Swift. So we're sitting there driving, we're in the truck, and she says, she goes, daddy, do you think Taylor Swift has a give safe spend envelope?

Rachel Cruze (33:21):

We pray that for her. We want that for Taylor

Joey Odom (33:24):

Swift. I hope so. That would be some enormous envelopes, but I sure hope she does.

Rachel Cruze (33:31):

Oh, that's so great. Oh my gosh,

Joey Odom (33:32):

I've been very excited to tell you that.

Rachel Cruze (33:34):

I love it. Love Tea Swift.

Joey Odom (33:36):

What a girl, A

Rachel Cruze (33:37):


Joey Odom (33:39):

Okay, so I love the beginning step. This is a perfect segue into I'm glad for what I have because I do believe, and I think you would agree when talking to your kids about money, it's so important if you have a partner in crime there that you and your partner need to be aligned on it. And I love the idea of talking to your kids very, very early. So you've written multiple bestsellers, all kind of geared towards adults on financial, on being smart with finances and habits and practices and going down to that. But this is written, I'm glad for what I have is written children's book really on contentment for what you do have. Will you tell me about that pivot away from the books you have written into writing this book and what kind of sparked this on and what was the core of, Hey, this is the message I want to get out.

Rachel Cruze (34:26):

Yeah, I have three kids at home. They're eight, six, and four, and I guess it was almost probably 18 months ago, almost two years, my little one made the comment and asked the question, mom, is the Amazon guy coming today? I was like, oh, dear God, what have I done? What have I done? And I just thought, man, I want my kids to have a perspective about stuff. And for a kid's view, it's their toys or whatever it is, but just the idea that having stuff is not wrong. You can have nice things. We just don't want our nice stuff to have us. And that's where the contentment piece comes into play that our stuff is not bad, but it will not fulfill you the way you think it will. And kids are so great because they're so in the moment. And even my daughter, the one I dedicated the book to, we had a conversation a few months ago, but she said, oh mom, I want to go to this toy store.

There's a little local toy store here in Nashville. And she's like, I just get so excited, mom, my stomach, I just turns and my heart starts beating. It's physically feeling this consumerism. I was like, I know girl. And I told her, I said, Caroline, I know that feeling. And I said, but let's be honest, last time we went to that toy store, what did you buy? She was like, it was like two weeks before that. And she's racking her brain. I'm like, and that excitement that you're feeling right now is going to be gone and it's going to be gone honestly in probably about 45 minutes after a we get home as you play with it. And then for sure by the next day after a night's rest, you wake up because Joey, I feel that way, whether it's a pair of earrings or whatever the thing is, I get that the adrenaline rush, the dopamine hit, that's very scientifically proven.

What happens when you spend and you get excited, but it goes away. It goes away. And we live our lives like a rat in a wheel continuing to believe that hit is going to last me. And that coat is, I don't need any more coats. I just need that one coat. And so it's just crazy. And that's me. And so with the kids book, I was like, I just want that message communicate to the kids. But also I know as a parent how many kids books I read at night to my kids, I want the message to translate to the parents as well. And so yeah, there is a bent at the end of this idea that God and his love and what that part of our lives offers is so much more fulfilling long term than our stuff. And so yeah, it's a little adventure with these animals where they go and gather all these toys and the things that they want and they realize at the end that it didn't satisfy them the way they thought that they would. So it's a really sweet story. I was really excited to write it. And yeah, I think we're turning it into a series. So there's going to be a generosity book and a gratitude book and all of this because these lessons I think are so crucial for the hearts of our kids. And again, for me as an adult too,

Joey Odom (37:22):

Well, you think about for a child the things that you just accept as being factual when you learn them, when you're young, when you just learn that God's love is greater than the things I can get. Or if you just have that so deeply ingrained in you, that will eventually lead to two things. One, that's just such a great foundation habit two, that begins the next step, the step towards the next discussion. Like you said, that makes it money discussion much easier because you're not just talking about the X's and O's of money because you're able, excuse me, to talk more about the X's and O's of money because you have a foundation that you don't have to instill when they're older as kids. So it's such a great foundation for it. And that's one of the questions that I think I even asked you at the event we did together is when do you talk to your kids about money? So is this kind of like the precursor discussion for money for parents to have with kids?

Rachel Cruze (38:17):

Yeah, I think so mean, it really is geared obviously to a little bit more of the younger ages. So yeah, I think this is a great starting off point, but kids, they can understand, okay, if I do something and I earn money doing that, that's where money comes from. It comes from doing something, it comes from work. And so these small associations can make, I mean as young as 3, 4, 5 years old, and I never want parents, my caution always is don't be legalistic about this. Joey. I meet some people and they're very hardcore Ramsey people and we appreciate them, but sometimes I'm like, it's okay. Just take a breath. Everything's going to be okay. Your kids are going to be okay. They take it so seriously. So it's like, listen, we are busy parents. There's so many things pulling at our attention and what we want to teach our kids.

So if this thing is not perfect, you're okay. But I think those basics of, Hey, I want my kids to know where does money come from? I want them to have the dignity as an adult later in life to be able to work. And I think there's just something good in that for everyone. I want that for them. I want them to be givers. I want them to live with an open hand. I want that to be a habit like you mentioned earlier about the contentment piece and God's love that I so believe with generosity too. When you just grow up in a household that you just give, that's what you do. You're not second guessing it when you're 25 with your paycheck. It just is such a rhythm and what you've always known. And I want that for my kids and to save so they're not broke all the time as adults to get that habit in and then to spend and enjoy, obviously.

So those are three buckets that you can do and sounded, I don't want to allude to it, but you mentioned it a little bit, but parents, you can even get envelopes, the gift save and spend and you can just write it on a bank envelope or we have banks and stuff here at Ramsey. We have some kids products too to help enforce these lessons. But yeah, it's just that extra notch of intentionality with them. And then as they get older, continuing to I think open up your own personal finances to them and letting them see bills or how much the cable costs you can start actually interacting more the older they get, but at very age appropriate. But yeah, it's a part of life

Joey Odom (40:27):

And I guess it goes to, as I was preparing and thinking about this, I think a misguided in my mind in some ways, it's just the culture, the currents of the culture is swimming. It's pushing so hard towards comparison and consumerism. I think I know your answer, but I'd like to hear you kind of unpack it a little bit. Is it just inevitable that our kids are going to get wrapped up in this? Is this just too hard a battle to fight? Is it a battle worth fighting? Is it one that no matter what we do, is it going to make a difference by talking to our kids about this stuff with the culture kind of pulling them so hard the other way?

Rachel Cruze (41:07):

No, I don't think it's too hard of a battle to fight. I mean, I think our kids will learn as they get older and having them make some mistakes with stuff. I think that's important too. Let them make small, inexpensive mistakes under your roof so they could feel that if it is a comparison thing and you're watching your 12-year-old process it, and maybe she wants to do, and maybe there's times you kind of let 'em safely make a few of those mistakes so they can start to learn that on their own. I do think there's a level of life lessons for them to bump up against culture in our household that we're there to help guide them. I like that. But also I'm like, I so believe too so strongly that our example as parents, and this is what I'm leaning on genuinely in this season of life right now, is our example.

And I have to rest in that too, that I'm like, if my kids grow up in a home where mom and dad are kind to the janitor at school and the waiter at the restaurant, that is how you treat people and that's what they feel like is normal. We set that normal bar, and so that's one reason we don't give our kids everything they want. That's one reason we're generous. We're kind to people, all these things, and you show respect to people. This is the norm of how you live. And so that example isn't always verbally taught, but our example, and I'm saying that to myself right now because even over Christmas, my husband and I talked and my parents took us on a beautiful trip with all the kids, and I was like, look how they're growing up. When I was their age, we were camping in the backyard and my kids now are third generation into the Ramseys.

And I was like, there's a fear in me that I'm like, oh my gosh, are they going to be okay? Or am I spoiling them already? And Winston and I talked one night and he's like, babe, we have to set the bar at a norm. And I think we're doing that. I think they're seeing the norm, but it's a fear. I think every parent has that. We want for our kids not to be swept up by the culture to your question, but I have to believe us guiding them and their own lives and also what we show them has to have power. I pray it does.

Joey Odom (43:10):

I love that answer because it's such table stakes, I would think in your home and how you grew up, but it's still, we all wrestle with it. And I think that's just such a comfort knowing that you wrestle with it. I think brothers hearing, knowing that you're wrestling with it as well is good. And we should lean into that tension that tension is worth leaning into. It's important enough for us to take a look in the mirror sometimes and say, okay, what are the words we're using around this? Are we talking scarcity or are we being so permissive? And just kind of continuing to wrestle through and understanding that it's never going to be perfect. And this is what I just love about what you write. What Ramsey does is you bring clarity and when people have a plan that gives them confidence and no plan is going to be perfect, but you got to commit to one and walk it out. And that's where you all are so good. You just so good about giving people that plan and clarity and then you can walk with confidence and continue to do a self-assessment, right?

Rachel Cruze (44:05):

Yep, yep. Absolutely. Yep. I think that's a key part. And living that with that open hand that we're learning as we go, but you actually have a direction. You're walking to your point that I think is really important.

Joey Odom (44:18):

I want to close with a question. Obviously we talked a little bit about technology around here and you, the cruise home lives obviously with some very good habits and being very intentional, and so we want to help people. How can we all create together? Aro wants to create an entire generation of intentional families. So when it comes to technology, obviously your oldest is eight, so I'm assuming they don't want to assume too much that they don't have a phone just yet. So how do you all manage phones technology for yourself and Winston generally in the home? What are some best practices people can learn from you all?

Rachel Cruze (44:52):

Yeah, we've, again, right or wrong, but our kids don't have their own individual device. We did buy last year the Amazon fire tablets for trips. So if we go on a plane or we go to Knoxville where you live where the grandparents are, that's their one time they can get their headphones and they can download a movie or two and they get it and they are like crack addicts, Joey. When you get them on that for two and a half hours, it's the most quiet our van ever is. And I'm like, oh my gosh. So they do those, but once we're home, we put them in a drawer and they don't see it again and they may watch a show or two on TV throughout the week or that kind of thing, but we've not adapted to the individual screen that's around all the time.

So that's how we've done it. But my husband, he'll probably kill me for even saying this, but over Christmas break, we had some snow days that we both experienced right after school started and he got out his PlayStation that he has not played in probably eight years, and they downloaded this princess game on it, and the girls for the first time saw they had no clue that you could have a remote. It was a whole thing. But what's so crazy and this world, you're the expert in it. But how, I mean, they ask about it, can we go play? Can we go play? So I'm like, you open the door a crack during a snow day and it is. It's a whole thing. So yeah, so we do try to limit screens as much as possible and Winston and I, we try to do a good job at night connecting and him and I just talking because how easy it is just to be scrolling and all of that.

And our church who I think you know them well, they've done a digital detox. We did it really hardcore the first year, and I'm telling you it was, I mean, I still think back to that. I still tell myself I need to go back and do that again because at night I'm like, I am a big reader. I love to read. So I mean I would fly through books, we would talk, you just have this connection, which all this without it. So it is one of those things it, and then actually practicing it out is what's hard. But when I get home from work and stuff, I really try to, I plug it up, we have a little, I need your box is what I need, but we have a station that has the, so I'll stick it in there when I walk in the door, I love it and that kind of thing. But we're not perfect at it of everything, but we try to limit it. It is. It's a wild world and the phone thing scares the crap out of me, so I can't even talk about it. I'm like, I don't even know what

Joey Odom (47:30):

We're going to do. Well, the mere fact that it's just like with money, the mere fact that you are modeling it well, that you have a place for it and you and Winston spend time away from your phones connecting with each other and you're teaching 'em the value of it. It's the exact same thing, the exact same principles behind it. You talk about with money is where we say it all the time. Our kids are going to mimic what we model. So we're modeling a good relationship with our devices that we want our kids to mimic someday. And it's same with finances, and it's why we have to be talking, tying it back to finances, talking from a very young age with our kids modeling it well for them being aligned as parents. And I'm just so grateful for you talking to all ages about this. It's so important you know this. You have such a strong voice that people listen to and you are delivering up slices of financial piece to people, which we all appreciate.

Rachel Cruze (48:20):

Oh, thank you. Thanks Joan. Thanks for all the work you guys are doing. You're on that end of life. You are helping so many families. So many of my friends, I personally have talked to me about it and how much they love you guys. So thanks for all you guys do.

Joey Odom (48:32):

I appreciate that. Okay, we got a lot of places people can go. Get Rachel Cruze resources, rachelcruze.com, C-R-U-Z-E. I want everybody, if you have a young child or if you know somebody who has a young child, get a copy of, I'm glad for what I have and begin that conversation early. You have multiple other books. You find those on rachelcruze.com. Three podcasts. Is that right, Rachel?

Rachel Cruze (48:56):

I know. Yes. Yes.

Joey Odom (48:58):

Rachel Cruise Show. Show. I'm doing that. Let's see, two show Smart Money, happy hour. What am I missing? We'll drop obviously the Ramsey website. We'll drop all this in the show notes, but what have I missed?

Rachel Cruze (49:09):

No, that's great. That's everything. Yeah, it's all there. Social media. We're there too. And so just lots of content, lots of you can Google do whatever you need to do, but we're here for you

Joey Odom (49:18):

And you alluded to some of the tools. I love the Every dollar app that you mentioned as well, so everybody go check all that out. And Rachel, thank you so much for joining us. It was great to see you.

Rachel Cruze (49:27):

Yes, you as well, joy. Thanks for having me.

Joey Odom (49:32):

Hey, thank you for joining us today. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Rachel Cruze, and I hope you picked up on that part about aligning on finances, how that creates intimacy. I just love that spin on it. I'd never thought of it that way, so I appreciate Rachel joining us. Please do go get a copy. I'm glad for what I have by Rachel Cruze's children's book. You have Young Children, if you know somebody with young children, give it as a gift. It's a great book on the topic of intentionality in a way that kids can understand and digest, and again, form a foundation for how they approach life from there on. Thank you so much for joining us. We can't wait to see you again next week on The Aro Podcast. The Aro Podcast is produced and edited by the team at Palm Tree Pod co. Special thanks to Emily Miles for video and digital support and to our executive producer Aro's own, Katelyn Farley.