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Lina AbuJamra

Sue Badeau

Dianne Barker

Twila Belk

Gail Bones

Harriet Bouchillon

Mary Carver

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Lisa Copen

Erin Davis

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Ellie Kay

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Debbie W. Wilson

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Jamie Wood

And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson



The 60-Minute Money Workout

In this Financial UPGRADE, Ellie Kay, America’s Family Financial Expert (®), says it’s never too late for a good “money workout.”

“The number one reason cited for divorce in America is arguments about finances," Ellie says, "but there is a way to be able to talk about money with your mate and live in agreement.”

Whenever I (Dawn) find myself with some financial flab, I know it's time to whittle down. Ellie's tips here are a great help!

Ellie continues . . .

When Bob and I were first married, we didn’t like to say that we “argued” about money. Instead, we had “intense fellowship” because he was a born spender and I was a born saver.

We knew we had to come up with a better way to “fellowship,” so we followed the instruction of James 1:5:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.”

With God’s help, we could develop a way to talk about money without losing our tempers or throwing rolls.

We called this our weekly “Money Workout,” and it helped save not only our marriage, but our finances as well.

You don’t have to be a couple to workout, either. You can do this workout with a friend, if you aren’t married.

We start our workout by setting boundaries such as no condescension, no negativity, no name calling and no throwing food.

We also decided to limit our workout to one hour so our discussion would have a start and a finish.

The key to success is consistency and commitment.

So, let’s get started. Get a timer and set it for each of the following sections of your one hour workout.

1. Make Up Your Mind Warm-Up (five minutes)

When you read about people who have lost weight and kept it off, most of their stories begin with a watershed moment when they decided they were sick and tired of being out of shape and make the decision to do something about it.

The same is true with your finances. This is the time to decide what financial topic you want to work such as a budget, debt repayment, planning for a vacation, retirement, the purchase of a car or any financial topic you decide to work on for the next hour. Then make the commitment to get into good financial shape. 

2. Couples Strength Training (10 minutes)

It usually takes more than one person to get a couple into serious debt. Even if one spouse does most of the spending, the other person usually tolerates the destructive behavior in some way.

This part of the workout is a time to record common goals so that you will have a tangible and objective standard to work toward.

You can also discuss any roadblocks that have kept you from reaching your goals in the past and strategize ways to overcome these obstacles.

3. Budget Burn (20 minutes)

During this section, you do the hard work by filling in the blanks for a budget or researching how much debt you must pay down.

This may not seem like a lot of time on this section, and you may not get all the work done during the first workout, but you can come back to this in the next workout.

The key is to keep the discussion moving forward.

We used the Mint app to set up a spending plan, and plugged in our numbers during the budget burn part of the workout.

4. Taking Your Heart Rate (20 minutes)

If you are making progress, then continue during the work on your topic.

But if you have hit a wall, or begin to have stress or disagreements, then change direction during this portion of the workout.

If you’re not having an issue, then continue the work you started in the previous section.

For example, if your topic is “paying down debt,” you could use this time to check your credit report. Order a free copy online at Annual Credit Report

5. Congratulations Cool Down (5 minutes)

Sit back and grab a glass of something cool to drink and reflect on all you've accomplished in just one hour!

Take this time to tell your spouse one thing you appreciate about them to end this exercise on a positive note.

Then, set up a time, topic and place for your NEXT money workout.

When will you schedule your first money workout and who will be your workout buddy?

Ellie Kay is the best-selling author of 15 books, veteran of 1800 media interviews and founder of, a non-profit organization that provides financial education to military members in live events around the world. She’s married to Bob, a fighter pilot, and they have seven children. For more financial insight or resources, check Ellie's website.

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