Survey: 80 Percent Of Married Couples Lie About Spending

A survey by nonprofit credit debt management firm CESI Debt Solutions says 80 percent of married respondents lie to their partners about spending. Which seems to mean that the non-lying 20 percent are liars, because seriously, who can be expected to be forthcoming about every last idiotic thing they buy throughout the day?

The survey makes no claims of being scientific and polled only 200 people, but it found that most people lied about clothing and accessories, with food checking in as the second-most lied-about category. The top reason given for fibbing was that the significant other doesn’t need to know.

If you share living space or bank accounts with a partner, what spending do you lie to them about and why do you do it?

(Thanks, Matt!)


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  1. Supes says:

    Well there’s a difference between “lying” and “not bothering the spouse with every tiny detail.” Lord knows I’d have no problem talking about the sandwich and chips I bought for lunch, but there’s really no reason to bring it up.

    Lies are an intent to deceive. Not telling someone about something isn’t always for the purpose of deceiving them… sometimes it just doesn’t matter. With no link to the survey on this page, there’s really no way we can determine what was measured here.

    • Kibit says:

      I agree, lying about a purchase and not mentioning a purchase are different things entirely. I don’t need to tell my husband when I buy a chai, I do tell him sometimes because he only drinks coffee and thinks chai’s are gross, but telling him about every little purchase would be a waste of his and my time

      I also make 95% of our purchases, he works long hours and rarely has the time to shop and doesn’t want to do it when he does have time off. I am completely fine with our arrangement because then I know what is going in and out of our account. (joint checking and savings accounts)

      • FatLynn says:

        I share a lot with my partner for practical reasons…e.g. “I bought more paper towels” really means “You don’t need to stop and buy paper towels”, but what I spent on lunch or on new shoes or whatever else really doesn’t warrant a mention.

    • caradrake says:

      This. It’s not lying if you don’t tell your spouse that you spent $X on lunch or grabbed a bottle of soda. Well, I guess it would be lying if your spouse asked you how much you spent and you gave a wrong answer, but that’s not the same thing. Minor expenses like that shouldn’t need to be examined under a magnifying glass.

      I’ll ask my husband what he did for lunch, or where he went, but that’s just out of an interest to see what he tried that day :) There’s a lot of new restaurants where we’re at, so I’m curious what they’re like.

    • outoftheblew says:

      Lying is my husband not telling me he charged $1,600 on a gun he said wouldn’t cost him very much, if anything, and my not finding out until we’re trying to buy a house and I’m looking at the credit report wondering why there’s a credit card balance of about $4,000 (after we’d already paid off his previous $4,000 balance and he said he wouldn’t use his credit card anymore). Or … lying is my husband not telling me he received a yearly bonus of at least $2,000 after taxes.

      I hope those help clarify it for you.

  2. sonneillon says:

    I think the 20 percent are mostly in the top 20 percent where one party doesn’t have to hide their poorly planned purchases in the closet or in the trunk of the car. You know who is hiding what where.

  3. aloria says:

    Most married couples I know have joint accounts for things like mortgage, utilities, groceries, and savings, into which they direct deposit a certain percentage of each paycheck. Anything that is left over goes into their own separate accounts, to spend (or save) however they please.

    • rpm773 says:

      This is how we do it. And I’m not quite seeing how lying about purchases would be beneficial or relevant in such a system.

      Maybe if I pulled in all the money, handled all the finances, and put my wife on allowance…I don’t know. But that seems so Ward Cleaver-ish…

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I think a lot of that is a generational thing. Most of the married couples I know (myself included) have completely joint finances. I suspect the older you are, the more likely you have completely merged financial lives.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        We talked to our parents and also trusted family friends about finances, and the more we thought about it, the more we felt like the better thing to do would be to jump in with both feet and not have separate accounts. We’re still youngins too, so maybe talking to older, financially-responsible family members was what helped us make that decision.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          For us, it was more of a gradual thing. We lived together for a very long time when we were both young environmental/biology techs and spent most of our time in hotels, then we got an apartment and eventually bought a house and then got married — all over the course of about 6 years. We’ve been married for many years since.

          At first, we were entirely separate, then we got a joint account for paying bills, then eventually we were cosigning loans for each other and eventually bought a house together. After a few years, having separate accounts just got annoying, especially as I began to earn more than her. It just made sense for us to have a single joint checking account and not worry about divvying up restaurant bills or deciding how much for a purchase should come out of either “allowance”.

        • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

          Yeah we went ahead and combined everything. I’ve been surprised at how easy it is. Once we pay off our credit card balance (next month!) we’ll probably do the allowance thing where each of us can have some money for ourselves, but for now, everything is going in to one pot.

    • chefboyardee says:

      i’m 29, and my wife is in charge of making sure all our bills are paid (i know my strengths – i’m good at making money, terrible at managing it). we share all our finances openly. every week we each take a $50 allowance and can spend it on whatever we want, the rest goes into a joint checking account.

      frivolous purchases as they come up aren’t banned, but anything over $50 we clear with the other person out of mutual respect for each other and our budget (which we sat down and created together).

      so far, the system has worked beautifully, we’ve paid off an insane amount of debt by being conscious of everything, and neither of us feels at all oppressed with our spending.

    • selianth says:

      Yeah, just because most couples *you know* do it that way, I don’t think you can spread that out to cover all married couples. Hubby and I have just one bank account, and share two credit cards that we put just about everything on. We also both have access to view all the account statements online, so either one of us can see what the other is buying if we wanted. Items that are over $100 we’ll usually discuss beforehand anyway. Or at least, I’ll tell him I’m going clothes shopping, so that if he sees a $150 charge at Macy’s he doesn’t think someone stole the credit card.

      • aloria says:

        Not saying that it does. Just sharing how the people I know do it, which seems to be a pretty decent way of doing things to me.

    • dolemite says:

      Currently, my wife and I have seperate everything. Checking/savings/house/both cars, are in my name. Her name is on nothing. Why? Because she has like a 500 credit score and get letters and calls from collections on a daily basis. She states it is all from her divorce, and her ex not paying his bills, which had her name on them. Until all that crap clears up, we are keeping everything completely seperate.

    • outoftheblew says:

      There are still ways for one spouse to not disclose thousands of dollars of spending. Using a non-joint credit card and building up a balance that will then affect the couple when they try to finance something jointly, or if someone’s employer issues paper checks for bonuses or expenses … not telling the other spouse about it, and just depositing and spending it.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      I’ve been married for over 30 years, and have had all joint accounts for that entire time.

      I know couples who do as you described but I don’t get it. Unless both people make almost the exact same amount of money for the entire time they are married, then one person has more money to spend than the other one. That does not sound like a good marriage to me. So one person has to really scrimp and buy cheap clothes and shoes and not buy any fun electronics, while the other one goes crazy shopping just because the one makes so much more than the other? I’d rather not be married under circumstances like that.

      • JingleTTU says:

        I think it’s a rather fair setup. Lets say (and for my brains sake I am using simple numbers)
        Spouse 1 makes $50,000 a year
        Spouse 2 makes $100,000 a year
        Their monthly expenses are $2000
        Since spouse 2 makes 50% more than spouse 1 they are responsible for 50% more than spouse 1.
        So Spouse 1 pays $500 into the joint account and Spouse 2 pays $1500. Over the year that means Spouse 1 pays $6000 and Spuse 2 pays $18,000 leaving them with the amount of play money below.
        Spouse 1: $44,000
        Spouse 2: $82,000
        Granted that is still a big difference in the amount of money to play with but you are in a marriage and you should be able to talk to the other spouse if you need money the richer spouse should be generous when say going out to dinner,movies, and vacations by paying for most of it.

        The richer spouse probably worked really hard to get where they are today and they are the ones ultimately earning that money and I believe have a right to have a little bonus for themselves for working so dang hard.

      • JingleTTU says:

        I think it’s a rather fair setup. Lets say (and for my brains sake I am using simple numbers)
        Spouse 1 makes $50,000 a year
        Spouse 2 makes $100,000 a year
        Their monthly expenses are $2000
        Since spouse 2 makes 50% more than spouse 1 they are responsible for 50% more than spouse 1.
        So Spouse 1 pays $500 into the joint account and Spouse 2 pays $1500. Over the year that means Spouse 1 pays $6000 and Spuse 2 pays $18,000 leaving them with the amount of play money below.
        Spouse 1: $44,000
        Spouse 2: $82,000
        Granted that is still a big difference in the amount of money to play with but you are in a marriage and you should be able to talk to the other spouse if you need money. The richer spouse should be generous when say going out to dinner,movies, and vacations by paying for most of it.

        The richer spouse probably worked really hard to get where they are today and they are the ones ultimately earning that money and I believe have a right to have a little bonus for themselves for working so dang hard.

  4. jvanbrecht says:

    I have no money management skills.. my wife maintains the joint account where 95% of my salary is deposited.. The other 5%, I can use as I see fit and spend it on whatever I want… So there is no real need to lie about my purchases…

    Although I did try to hide the new car I bought.. from her.. she got really pissed about that :)

  5. johnva says:

    In my opinion the most harmonious way to manage shared finances is to come to an agreement about what needs to be discussed and what isn’t a big deal. For the most part, we don’t usually care to discuss things that cost under $150 or so. Over that, we do.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      We essentially have the same rules. Most big purchases are typically for both of us or the kids, so they’re always discussed. We both know the budget and what we can afford and we really don’t have any secrets but we really don’t audit each other.

      Pretty much anything over $100 comes out of one of our many ING accounts, so most day-to-day purchases are below $25 or $50.

      • nbs2 says:

        That’s our case. The one time I made a major purchase without telling her, booked flight for us to visit her parents, it was only because I knew that canceling the tix within 24 hours would be a couple of clicks worth of work and I told her as soon as I made the reservation.

        Everything else over $20 is agreed on ahead of time for value or item unless there is a no hassle return involved.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      This is our basic rule as well, though we’re so used to talking about a purchase with the other person just out of courtesy, even if it’s $20.

      • johnva says:

        Communication is always key. But it depends on how you do it. I don’t think it would be productive, for example, to nag someone over spending $10 on lunch some day. On the other hand, it would make sense to talk about it if they were spending a lot of money on lunch every day, and it added up to a lot of money.

        For the most part, we don’t have any serious disagreements over money, because both of us are very frugal and don’t usually waste it frivolously.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I think whenever we talk about relatively small purchases out of courtesy, it’s mostly so we can brainstorm on how we could get it cheaper. When Mr. Pi wants a movie, instead of just buying it, he’ll tell me the price on Amazon and ask me whether I have any coupon codes to knock down the price of a movie on B&N.

  6. apd09 says:

    I second Aloria’s comments, my wife and I have a joint account that all bills are paid from, both personal and household. Then we each have a checking account with some money in it for discretionary spending.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Do you both make the same amount of money, or at least contribute to the joint accounts in such a manner that you both have the same amount going into the individual accounts? If not, then how is this a good partnership? Should one person in a marriage have more money to spend than the other? I think not, not under any circumstances.

      And even if you do have the same amount going into the individual accounts, what about when one of you needs to spend more – say to help out a parent, or something like that? Or needs to spend more for clothes for a new job? Does that person have to go into debt, rather than being able to depend on the spouse to step up and contribute?

      It seems to me that too many young couples have no ideas of what a real partnership is.

  7. socialSTD says:

    My wife never lied about her spending but she has this terrible tendency to round everything down. If she went out to eat and the bill was $7.75 she would say it was $7. And the higher the number the further she would round it down. She once told me over the phone the Vet bill for our dog was $150 but when she go home and showed it to me it was $169. I never noticed she did this until we joined bank accounts after we were married and bought a house.

    I now take care of all the household finances.

    • missdona says:

      Do you really make her show you the lunch reciepts and the vet bills? If your budget can afford an extra 75 cents on $7 bill, or an extra $19 on $150. Does it really matter?

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        How does it NOT matter? When I read socialSTD’s comment, I was like “WTF? Who does crap like that?!” $169 is a higher number than $150.

        75 cents and $19 isn’t that trivial when you know it’s the difference, but it all adds up. Your credit use ratio can be altered drastically if she keeps leaving off $10 here and there and you have to figure out how much of the figure she spit out was truthful and how much you’re actually going to be charged. What’s next? $30? $100?

        Also, it seems to be a compulsive lying problem, rather than a “I can’t be bothered to do math” kind of thing. If she couldn’t bother to just remember the number, sometimes the real price would be lower than what she said, and not just higher. But since it’s always higher than what she says, I think it’s at least partially a lying problem.

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          When I bought things with cash, I’d round up to the bills I used–so if something was somewhere around $8 and I paid with a 10, I’d say “I spent about $10.” If I paid with a $20, I’d still say “I spent about $10” because I’d obviously still have ten dollars in change.

          But I always include key words like “approximately” or “around” or “about” to indicate that I’m estimating.

        • missdona says:

          My bad. I was assuming she knew the difference, and was just “rounding down.”

          In my household, 75 cents on $7 or $19 on $150 doesn’t make that much of difference. It’s not going to make or break our bills, our mortgage, etc. If we’re talking about a 30+% difference, then that would be signficant enough for me to care.

          • myCatCracksMeUp says:

            I agree – what’s a few cents for a few dollars? Why is anyone expecting their spouse to declare every expenditure to such fine details?

        • myCatCracksMeUp says:

          It might be a “my husband is such a jerk and gives me such a hard time about every cent I spend, and it means less arguments if he thinks I spent less” type of thing.

  8. It'sRexManningDay! says:

    I guess I’m in the minority…the spouse and I really don’t have any money secrets. We share a bank account, and we work together to manage all our bills and debts. Around birthdays and holidays, I have to buy Mr. Pims’ gifts on my credit card (and pay them off later, of course!), because otherwise he’ll see the purchases pop up in our checking account and won’t be surprised. Does that count as lying?

    • c_c says:

      Me too … we have joint accounts, and have since well before we got married. I suppose since I handle most things financial I could hide spending from my wife, but what’s the point?
      I think a lot of the times the couples that run into trouble w/ this sort of things are the one’s who never really lived together or shared any of the mundane tasks of life w/ eachother before getting married.

      • nbs2 says:

        I’d suggest that it tends to result from couples that can’t fully commit to total trust. We did just fine, but even our plan of $25/monthly allowance bombed out when we realized we had no reason to have “our own money.”

  9. valladolid says:
  10. dolemite says:

    My wife lies to me on a weekly basis about finances. She has our main credit card for “emergencies only”. Problem is, she’s gone from spending about $20-$30 a week on it to spending $150-$200 a week on it. Each week I ask her if she has used it, and she says no. I get onto citibank and find out she just spent $200 in the past 5 days. This has been repeating itself for the past year. Each time I state “honey, we don’t have that kind of money. $30-$50 we can swing, but not $200 a week. She says she will “do better”. The next week, the scene plays out again. It’s actually building a lot of resentment in me, not to mention mistrust, to be lied to on a weekly basis.

    • FatLynn says:

      Take away the credit card. Now.

      • dolemite says:

        We are going to try something. I had to make the ultimatum of taking it, or coming up with something else. She recommended we get a “secured” card for her (since her credit is bad). So in the next week or so, we should be getting a $300 secured card she can use. $300 a month is better than $200 a week. Once that arrives, I’m taking all the cards except for one and cutting them up. The one card I’m going to put in the freezer in a block of ice for real emergencies. If she thaws it out, I’m cutting that one up too. And I guess I’ll have to hide the checkbook or something.

        • smo0 says:

          This is the thing about secured credit cards – you can eff that up too. They are typically training wheels for the big bad world of credit.

          They are also there for the people coming out of a debt crisis and trying to rebuild their credit but sitting back, taking a breath and go “I’m ready to be a financially responsbility adult now.”

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Why does she think she needs a card at all?

          • dolemite says:

            Well, her 2nd job (about 10 hours a week) is 65 miles away, so we figure she needs something in case of a tow or whatever may happen. Honestly, outside of that, she really doesn’t need a card except to somehow fuel this spending frenzy she has been on. She has take home pay of about $1300 a month (after taxes and insurance, etc). She gives me $400 a month for car payment, insurance. The other $900 is for her to spend on groceries and whatever she wants. Groceries run about $120 every 2 weeks. Her gas is about $50 a week. What she spends the other $300-$400 a month + $800 on credit cards is anyone’s guess. What gets me is when she was in school, she was only spending $30 a week or so on cards, then she graduated and picked up a 2nd job. I figured “great, now with that extra income, we will pay down debts faster”. Instead, she increased her spending about 10x. I don’t know if it is she feels she is overworked and not making much money, so she deserves to treat herself or what.

            • outoftheblew says:

              I hope you can get it addressed and under control soon. My dad and stepmom are retired, but she basically spent her whole retirement on those stupid trips to the store, and Christmas gifts for her grandkids. He was considering bankruptcy a few years ago.

              My husband has lied to me about things that were thousands of dollars, but it’s not ongoing. I don’t know anything to say to help, but I feel for you.

              • dolemite says:

                Yup, if this last thing doesn’t work I guess we’ll have to go to counseling or something. I told her I was saving 15% of my pay for retirement and savings, but I’ve had to drop that to 4% in order to help pay the bills she’s incurring, and she didn’t even blink.

                • BHall says:

                  I would move on from this relationship, it is the responsibility of both of you to bring your healthiest selves to a marriage; she appears to be breaking her end of it. I’m sorry but there are no way you can lock her access to money away and she will drag you down with her. It is not “cheaper to keep her” if she gets you years of debtors hell, write it off as a bad investment and start your recovery. On the bright side, now that you know what to look for financially you will get to find all new issues in your next mate.

            • goodfellow_puck says:

              Spending that much money for no apparent reason is usually a sign of depression or anxiety. In order to make herself feel “good” she goes out and shops to get that high. It’s likely she doesn’t even care about the stuff afterwards. I’ve had more than one friend with a parent who did this…eventually causing bankruptcy and piles of unopened junk in the house.

              You know her previous bad credit was likely all her fault. The “secured” card sounds like a good deal because it’s going to help her get better credit (in theory), but how long before she opens cards without you knowing it?

              She doesn’t need a credit card AT ALL. If she needs a tow, then she calls you and you give your number to the tow guy. That’s just an excuse. One friend of mine married her husband while he was deeply in debt (a lot of it charged off). She routed all their money to direct deposit in their account, took ALL his cards away, and gave him a cash allowance. They’ve been like that for over 10 yrs. It sounds harsh, but your wife has a problem and it will really effect your relationship if she doesn’t get help. The fact that she doesn’t care when you mention how the money effects the retirement savings, or continues to keep spending money ridiculously, is a red flag for depression! You guys need to talk about the root of the problem–and it’s not the money.

      • smo0 says:

        Dude… do it… I’ve seen the outcome of this – you need to take the card…. it may result in temporary couch sleeping and an argument or two… but it’s better than being neck deep in debt or deciding whether or not to pay the electric bill or saving your credit score.

    • selianth says:

      It’s hard making judgments on the basis of one blog comment, but I have to say it sounds like there are bigger issues at play here. It sounds like a different approach other than just asking her to cut the spending might be required. And you should figure out what she’s spending so much money on, and why, before things get any worse.

      • dolemite says:

        Well, as for what she spends it on, it usually reads: Walmart, Kohls, Kroger, Kroger, Target, Walmart, Old Navy, Kroger, JC Penny. What gets me is she’ll get paid and say she is going to get groceries, then I find a charge for $100 on the card. I’m like “you JUST got paid? How did you not have enough for groceries?” She just makes excuses.

    • cosmic.charlie says:

      Divorce, the charge-back for marriage.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Try to figure out what types of things she spends it on, does she spend on clothes, or is she going out to eat a lot at work, which does add up (perhaps all those trips to Kroger). Does she bring home a lot of shopping bags? Do you look around the house and find she splurges on tons of things you guys don’t really need? If she is spending that much money on stuff you should see stuff coming into the house. If you don’t notice the number of items in the house or her closet increasing then you probably want to dig a little deeper to find out exactly what she is doing with all that money, I cannot make a judgement but this is definitely something you need to look into.

      It sounds like she might be spending her paycheck on something else, and then using your card to make up for that, either that or she is just overspending in general and she is going through her paycheck faster than she can replace it so she uses your card to fill in.

  11. missdona says:

    I’m planning on not-telling my husband about this post.

  12. Straspey says:

    The reason a person tells a lie is very simple:

    They are afraid of the truth – or more succinctly, they are afraid of what might happen if they told the truth. Lying is a form of manipulation; and when you lie to somebody you are manipulating them into a set of facts which are false, but work for your own benefit.

    (And YES – I know we all tell little lies to spare people’s feelings, etc, so don’t even bother with that.)

    From the actual article:

    “Why hide the debt? Forty-six percent of the debt-hiding spouses say that their partner “doesn’t need to know” about the debt in question, while 43% want to avoid an argument and 20% FEAR (!) their partner knowing about the debt would end the relationship.”

    “…43% want to avoid an argument..” Which means they’re not willing to accept the consequences of their actions, so they lie about it.

    “… and 20% FEAR (!) their partner knowing about the debt would end the relationship.” Which means 20% of the people are living in a relationship which is so dishonest they need to lie about the way they spend their money, lest the relationship break down entirely.

    This really doesn’t sound a like a “consumer” issue to me.

  13. tchann says:

    I certainly don’t lie to my husband about how much things cost. Even when I mean to keep things on the down-low I eventually cave and tell him exactly what I bought for how much! Last week I spent a total of $9.50 online (including shipping) and wasn’t going to tell him, but it came out anyway (and he really didn’t even care). I just can’t lie to him about things as important as money, and since I manage our accounts I see exactly what he spends, too. No secrets, or at least, no important ones. :)

  14. smo0 says:

    When I worked for Citi, I saw the ass-end-outcome of this… often times husbands calling in to remove their wives from the card or try to hide the billing statements from being accessed online: Checked account history… random “sexual” related charged for even amounts like $300 or $500 from Las Vegas, etc. Or obvious online porn charges… I gotta say the generic IDs for these companies can be pretty convincing at first as to hide what they really are, most of them go through “processing” agencies with legit, professional names… not www. (I have no idea if this is an actual site, and I cannot be responsible for what happens if people go to made-up-site-that-is-most-likely-real.)
    But the reverse goes for women who go on shopping sprees trying to hide billing statements, removing the hubby from the card, etc.

    But I’ve dated overzealous guys interested in where I spend my money… I’ve found myself lying about my daily coffee habit. ~twitch~

  15. Eyeheartpie says:

    Lying != not telling. Lying is saying “no I totally didn’t buy a new motorcycle” when in fact you did. Not telling is not bothering to tell your spouse that you spent $4.24 on lunch that day.

    • jessjj347 says:

      Yeah, but deception is lying too. Obviously no one care about the $4 lunch (unless your budget is tight).

  16. Etoiles says:

    My husband and I have a shared checking account, into which we each put the same, pre-agreed amount of money each month to cover our household expenses. We consult each other before doing anything with the money in that account.

    Other than that, his money is his and my money is mine, and we have our own accounts. We each know how much the other makes and if it looked to me like he was spending all of his money on hookers and Twinkies, yeah, sure, I’d be pretty bothered and want an explanation. But if he wants to get cookies every day at lunch, or buy a new video game or whatever, I… really don’t care.

    I’d be upset if he actively LIED but sins of omission, about things that aren’t my business anyway? Meh.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I think when you’re sharing a life together, the things the other person does IS your business. Marriage is an investment in a life together – the people involved should care about all aspects of ensuring the investment is healthy. To me, this includes trivial things like how many cookies your spouse is eating on a daily basis. If your spouse’s health goes to crap because he or she is eating like crap at lunch (and you feel it’s none of your business because it’s his or her money), well it’ll certainly be your business when someone has to pay the bills, won’t it? I don’t think most married couples think that far ahead to say, “well if you bring this upon yourself, you’re fully responsible for your own medical treatment.”

      • Etoiles says:

        No, of course not, but most of that, for us, is born of trust: I trust him not, in general, to be a complete idiot.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Again, I’m curious. Do you have equal amounts of money to spend on yourselves? If not, do you really consider that a good thing? One of you spending more because he/she has more, and the other one spending less? And even if it’s fairly equal now, what if you get lose your job and have no income? Or you get new employment, but at a much lower salary? Do you think it would be fair for him to buy expensive stuff, while you have to scrimp to buy a needed new pair of shoes at Kohls?

  17. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    My spouse and I keep separate accounts and simply split the common expenses. Otherwise, we don’t really care what the other buys as long as they are able to meet their monthly commitments.

    Works for us. If we plan together for a big item, $ is put together in a pool.

  18. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    Joint accounts tend to fix this. Both my wife and I are really good at keeping each other in check.

  19. ElleAnn says:

    My husband and I got married last October. We’re in our early 30’s, and in the dozen or so years since we each moved out of our parents’ houses, we both became financially responsible and developed different systems for tracking where our money is going. I use my online banking, and C uses a spreadsheet. Since we’re both working full time and we aren’t living paycheck to paycheck we haven’t really made an effort to track each others’ spending or keep track of what money is in the other person’s account. I pay for phone, car insurance, and food and he pays for rent and utilities and most gas. Any one-time expense over about $200 we discuss, but other than that we just trust each other to not squander money and to put a few hundred dollars in savings every month. It’s working so far- mostly because we are both cheapskates.

  20. Geekybiker says:

    $10 for a lunch isn’t a big deal unless you have an understanding that you should be bringing lunch from home.

    I’m a big fan of making sure that you each have an allowance each month for spending on things that is ‘no questions asked’ Your wife can buy that brand name purse that makes you roll your eyes, and you can buy your 2nd set of new golf clubs this year. Everyone has something they like to spend money on that is a real eye roller to there spouse. There has to be an outlet for this.

  21. Charity Froggenhall says:

    We have his, hers, and our accounts. That way any spending we do that the other doesn’t share — music, computers, my gym membership, clothes — is done with our personal money. No spending arguments!

  22. MustardTiger says:

    When I tell my husband how much I spent during an average “spending” day (I rarely go shopping), I round down (ie, spend $44 and say $40) hehe… BUT we share an account so he obviously sees the actual number and never cares.

  23. spark says:

    And we wonder why the divorce rate is so high…

  24. Framling says:

    I will very rarely lie to my wife about financial matters because she gets stressed out easily by financial issues and has stress-triggered epilepsy. If it’s something that she doesn’t need to know about (e.g., I’m already handling the situation, or it’s something we can’t do anything about), I’ll often obfuscate or mislead and come clean about it later, after it’s no longer an issue.

    I’ve only done it once or twice in the four/seven years we’ve been married/cohabiting. I don’t like to do it, and I don’t do it lightly, but I honestly consider it a health issue.

  25. Daniellethm says:

    I refuse to lie to my husband about purchases, even if it’s only $20. I get the same from him, he tells me everything. This is because when I was growing up, my father let my mother handle all the bill-paying. To sum it up, useless crap invaded our house, and almost nothing got paid. This went on for years, not months. They divorced almost three years ago (He stayed with her for me and my sister) and he is just now paying off his portion of their IRS debt, not to mention the other random $20,000 in credit card bills.

    I watched this happen, it is ugly and disrespectful to “not tell” or even lie about big purchases, and I swore I would never do that to my husband.

  26. Garbanzo says:

    The headline is misleading. Not telling your spouse about every purchase is not “lying about spending”.

    We have the same system as many other posters here–we decide the big stuff together, inform each other about the medium stuff, and don’t waste time mentioning the small stuff. I know about how often we go to the ATM. I have a sense of how big our baseline credit card bill is every month–when it’s above that level I scan through the charges looking for big numbers just to make sure it makes sense (“Oh, right, there was that emergency trip to the vet *and* we bought plane tickets to go see my parents.”) But I don’t need every detail, (“You spent $22.68 at Target–what was *that* about????”)

    We both are careful about spending when things are tight and relax more when times are better. It still amuses me that one year what I wanted most for Christmas was a $400 iPod; the following year, when we were down to one income, the top of my wish list was a pair of slippers.

  27. sealclubster says:

    We share a bank account where our paychecks are directly deposited. All our credit cards are linked together. The husband manages everything. He’s a hedge funder so he’s got one up on me in managing money. I have no interest in it but before him, I managed money just fine. We both came into the marriage with zero debt and I was (and still am) financially responsible before the marriage so we don’t discuss daily spends. We do, however, talk about big purchases like cars, real estate or vacation and future financial planning (401K, 529 plans, etc.)

    If one of us is curious, we both have access to online statements to the bank accounts and the credit cards.

  28. SundanceKid says:

    I would be curious to know the divorce rate of the 80% and the 20%. The percentage of people lying to their spouse isn’t terribly surprising however since most couples fight about money.