Get expert insights delivered straight to your inbox.

Skip to Main Content

The Eldredges Talk Money

Authors John and Stasi Eldredge knew from the start that they didn’t want to simply share a house while keeping separate lives and bank accounts. But even stating that up front, they still had some trouble getting on the same page with the whole money thing—like most couples do. Now, they share their lessons-learned-the-hard-way to help others avoid the same mistakes!

“We now recognize we have to live within our means. We’ve gotten into some trouble when we didn’t,” said John. “We’ve been in serious debt, and it hurts. After you do that once or twice, you’re like, ‘I am not doing that again!’ It’s painful and it puts so much pressure on the marriage and family!”

The Vacation That Followed Them Home

Before they had children, Stasi says she and John took the opportunity to go on a vacation. “It cost $1,500, and we didn’t have a dime of it,” said Stasi. “We charged it—we charged the whole thing.” And they weren’t making much money at the time.

“I don’t even want to add up how much we ended up paying for that $1,500 vacation, because it took years to pay it off! It followed us home and stuck around for years. And we just said to ourselves, ‘We don’t ever want to do that again—it’s too much!’”

Moving to a Cash-Only System

John said the problem with the whole card thing is that you’re disconnected with reality. With cash, you know exactly how much you have to spend, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

After getting into trouble with debt, they decided a cash-only system was the best route for their life and marriage. “We even dropped the debit card, because we weren’t living on a budget at the time and never knew who was withdrawing what. That’s when we went to the cash system,” John said.

Stasi grew up with her mom using the envelope system and she soon came to enjoy using cash herself. “You know it’s there instead of guessing and wishful thinking—worrying that it’s going to come back and haunt you later,” she said. “You have hope!”

“There’s nothing like reality,” added John. “When you’ve got 40 bucks, you know you’ve got 40 bucks. When it goes down to $3, you know you have $3. There’s just nothing like it.”

Spending Sprees

We all have that one thing that it’s difficult not to splurge on from time to time, right? Stasi’s love language is gifts, so it’s hard for her to not buy a gift for someone when she sees that perfect thing. “I really like finding little treasures for somebody l love,” she said.

For John, it’s lunch out. “It’s so much easier to run out to get a burrito than planning it out and making a sandwich ahead of time. That’s where I just want to throw caution to the wind.”

When you work together to make a plan and stick to it, you can each make sacrifices and work the things that are important to you into your budget.

Each person comes into marriage with views on money, which makes it hard for things not to be somewhat messy right out of the gate. “Life throws curveballs,” John said. But you can learn to work through them and win together.

The Truth of the Matter

“You’ve got to recognize that you will never change your spouse. Look, you married them!” John laughed. “Just settle it in your mind. It’s about your approach to life. When you look at it that way, mountains become molehills.

“We look at the things that used to cause huge tension between us and say, ‘Why was that ever a big deal?’”

Play Icon

The Dr. John Delony Show helps people through real-life marriage challenges. Listen now!

Read more from John and Stasi Eldredge.

What accommodations could you make to get on the same page with your spouse financially and in all other areas of life?

Financial Peace University is a fabulous way to work through communicating with your spouse better about money. From newlyweds to those celebrating a milestone anniversary, couples of all ages have lots to learn from Dave's life-changing class. Learn more about it now!

Did you find this article helpful? Share it!

Ramsey Solutions

About the author


Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

Related Articles

Rachel Cruze holding a wedding cake topper.

12 Questions to Ask Before Marriage

These 12 questions to ask before marriage will help set you and your future spouse in the right direction and, hopefully, make those important conversations a little bit less awkward.

Rachel Cruze Rachel Cruze
Overcoming Financial Infidelity

Overcoming Financial Infidelity

Financial infidelity happens more than you might think. A purchase here, a little white lie there . . . Here are the signs to watch out for and how to overcome it if it happens to you.

Rachel Cruze Rachel Cruze
How to Combine Finances as Newlyweds

How to Combine Finances as Newlyweds

Being on the same page about money is key to having a successful marriage. Here’s a quick five-step checklist to help you start building a foundation of financial security together.

Ramsey Ramsey