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August 13, 2010


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I don't specifically "hide" my meal transactions from my wife, but I don't broadcast them to her either. Not because they're substantial from a dollars-and-cents perspective, but because I'd rather she not know some of the places at which I eat occasionally.

I am admittedly overweight--we're eating far healthier at home than we have, and I'm losing the excess weight slowly--but once a week, I'm committed to cutting loose and treating myself to something inexpensive, delicious and unhealthy for lunch.

I take full responsibility for the finances and my wife cringes at the idea of having anything to do with them unless there's an emergency. She doesn't access the accounts online (but has the capability of doing so as we occasionally review all the access information). So while I'm not hiding the transactions, I know it's unlikely she'll happen to come across them.

If she were to access the account where I charge all my meals, I'd probably hear about it. I suppose I could pay cash and not leave an evidence trail, but the 3-5% rebate I get using credit cards is too good to pass up :-)

My wife does not know how much I spent on her engagement ring. It came from money I'd saved the summer we got engaged; she didn't have access to those account statements. She does know that it's a very pretty ring, and that I budgeted for it. That's the only "major" purchase I've ever hidden the value from her.

I also hide the amounts of smaller gift purchases from her. She doesn't read every line of the budget spreadsheet, just the summary lines, so she doesn't know how much any specific gift costs, just that I didn't violate the budget by getting them.

I wouldn't dream of hiding purchase costs of anything else from her.

I've never done that, but I have a buddy that tells his wife that he gets all this free stuff (like a swing set for the kids). But in reality, he's paying normal prices for those things. Oh, the swing set was used, but he paid for it.

Of course, he's always talking about deals that he gets from buddies. By saying he bought it from a buddy, he doesn't have to show the receipt. Or course, he doesn't do this, he buys it new, then stashes the receipt, and puts on his act.

I am not a secret spender at all, mainly because I don't spend much. It isn't because I am super cheap, it just really isn't 'in me' to shop. I grew up not having much and I guess being a minimalist has always just kind of stuck with me. I am sure I could stand to update my wardrobe and such, but I am not one of those people that just loves to go to the mall. Also, my husband hates shopping even more than I do.

It seems like this is a good way to end up in hot water! After all, money issues are the most frequent underlying problem for most marriage difficulties. I think it's best to have a little checking account each where you can just spend whatever you want to spend without consulting the other partner. Everything else should be out in the open, no deceit!

I don't think my husband is a secret spender, as I handle all finances. Although many years ago he did try to hide that he had bought a motorcycle, to which I had previously expressly noted my objections. It was virtually impossible to hide that purchase!

On the other hand, I have occassionally buy something without first discussing it. But I never hide the purchase afterwards. And I always disclose how much it cost, as I'm usually proud of the great sale I found. It's never been much more that $100-$200.

Even though I handle the finances, there are no secrets. IMHO that's asking for trouble.... To this day, I rub in the motorcycle purchase whenenver the time is right ;-)

My mother-in-law and father-in-law are a good example of this.

My father-in-law is a bankrupt farmer who is great with tools but terrible with money. My mother-in-law started her own insurance business 30+ years ago and makes a great deal of money.

My father-in-law waits until my mother-in-law is in town visting us (or one of their other kids) and then he goes and spends money. $30k on a motorcycle, $20k to repave the driveway, $50k to fix up his airplane. He even went in and traded in one of her vehicles on a new Mercedes SUV once.

Although I suppose that's not really "secret". But it has always struck me as not entirely healthy, either.

If you want a marriage to last there can be NO secrets of any kind between husband and wife.
Just ask Tiger Woods, Governor Sandford, Senator Edwards and any of the other cheating and lying politicians and celebrities that have been in the news recently. Clinton is one that survived but that's another story on its own.

I only keep secrets when it is a gift, or if the amount is small (<$50) I don't see the need to bring it up. If my wife asks, I try to not tell the amount for gifts so she'll just enjoy the gift without thinking about it. Other purchases, I tell her everything if she asks.

We budget for this type of spending, so if/when we meet our goals on a monthly/quarterly basis, the exact details don't matter as much.

I agree with [email protected]; since finances are the most common problem leading to marriage troubles, this is just asking for it. At first it is a small purchase, but it is a very slippery slope. Maybe the fact that 30% of people admit doing this and the divorce rate of 50% are closely related?

I agree with Old Limey--& if I ever get married again, it will only be to a man who respects me & I him.

Hiding spending from my spouse, or acting like a policeman mommy to my spouse and monitoring everything he buys--either situation is extremely disrespectful. If my boyfriend ever did this (except for hiding his spending on a present for me, obviously), I'd regard it as a huge "red flag", ie something that would make me think about ending the relationship.

I don't *hide* any spending other than gifts for her. But I also don't explicitly tell her about every single penny I spend. We do have an agreement to discuss any purchase of $100 or more with one another before making it.

I hope when you get to the point that you are burying purchases in the backyard you get some kind of help!

I don't agree with hiding money or expenditures. It's important to be open and honest about such things. If two people are on the same page, it shouldn't be a big deal.

This has been my policy in marriage: be transparent and honest. Additionally, one should expect the same back, as that's fair.

All this said, people shouldn't have to tell each other about every $10 spent - unless there are tons of $10 expenditures that add up to massive amounts of money. For example: if a family is watching their expenses, but one person eats a home cooked meal (either at home or brought to work), and the other has a $10 lunch outside, it's no big deal. But if this happens 5 days a week, and it's kept from the other spouse on purpose, then that's hiding.

I'm not but my ex-husband was. Hid purchases after paying off credit card debt. Just charged again and got in more and more debt.

Why would you hide something you bought from your spouse? I don't get that at all. There is nothing that my wife would question me on, nor would I question her about. That kind of stuff is why marriages fall apart and why marrying someone who doesn't have the same approach to building a sound financial future is stupid in the first place. If you're having to hide anything from your spouse (except maybe a gift for him or her that's a surprise), then you need to take step back and deal with why you even remotely need to feel the reason to hide it from them.

I handle the bills, so I will see every single transaction. My husband sometimes buys stuff without telling me, but those are small amounts. I sometimes do the same, buying without telling him. But if we ask, we will not try to hide it.

He sometimes gets money by playing gigs and he will get cash from it. Then, he can spend these money in whatever way he wants. These are his pocket money, I would not care.

We do not hide purchases either as my wife and I are both responsible spenders. There are several couples we know where one or both members of the couple are reckless with their spending habits -- this is where the lying/hiding starts to appear.

I agree with Old Limey, if you want a marriage to last there must be **NO** secrets -- none, nada, zero, zippo. This helps not only with accountability but also with intimacy and closeness.

this is such a funny post and i can totally see people doing this. in our situation we don't necessarily have a rule to inform each other for purchases over X dollars. however, we usually communicate purchases over 1k (i know this is a higher amount that what most readers of this blog would expect). like FMF since i handle the finances, i see all CC statements, checking account activity and we usually discuss large spend in hindsight if need be.

that said, we don't worry too much about what i bought vs what she bought and what each one of us is spending. we both know we are financially responsible individuals, and have good automated systems in place that will immediately show us whether we are deviating from our goals. to me, using money to live the life we want is why we work hard to begin with.

I've done this a few times and then felt guilty about it later. Since I manage the finances it is easier for me to do than for my wife. We had agreed at the start of our marriage that we wouldn't spend more than $40 without talking to the other person first. This is a good reminder to stick to this!

For a marriage to be happy and to last, in addition to not having secrets there also has to be complete TRUST.
I manage all of our investments and since my wife has never touched a computer in her life she trusts me implicitly to do whatever is best for our mutual benefit and has no idea how our money is invested though she does know how to contact the manager at our local Fidelity office. I also manage our credit cards and pay all of our bills and also manage our credit union accounts on-line. The only problem I see is that if I were to become incapacitated everything would come to a grinding halt. However I still have all the bills, invoices, statements etc. come through the mail so hopefully she would be able to handle everything the old fashioned way. Of course, the other side to the story is that if she were to become incapacited I would starve because I know nothing about food preparation. That's what happens when one day your mother's taking great care of you and the next day it's your wife

I don't have a partner, so no, I'm not a 'secret spender'. I'm not hiding any purchases from myself. :P

Well I don't have a back yard, but I guess I could jackhammer the parking garage to see if there's anything buried under our spot. Seriously, I don't think finances are your problem if you're sneaking out in the middle of the night to buy something. You probably have bigger issues...

We keep gift amounts secret until they are given. That's it. Secrets of any type aren't good for marriages imho...I mean, have you ever heard of anybody being happy with finding out something their spouse was hiding other than a gift?

Like, "Oh, I'm so glad you didn't tell me you were buying a $400 Iphone...that would have pissed me off but now I'm okay with it since you were kind enough to hide it from me..." Nah, I don't think so...

We actually have a totally reverse situation here. Whenever we have a large expense that is approved by both of us but I would be upset by seeing the total amount, my husband pays the bill (an expensive meal out, a car repair bill, cat kennel bill for moving). Sure, I see it later, when I do the budget, but it decreases the amount of stress for me to be a bit removed from the purchase. Also, in the case of things that were fun for us, like dining out or traveling, it allows me to enjoy the experience without getting all spooled up about the cost.

Other than that, there would be heck at our house if either of us were hiding purchases from each other.

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