Out of sight, out of mind: One in three Aussies spend secretly

Nearly one in three Australians in a relationship admit to making purchases they don’t tell their partner about, according to finder.com.au.

A new finder.com.au study of 2,019 Australians reveals that while the majority (69%) of those in a relationship have not hidden purchases from their partner, 31% have kept some transactions secret from their other half. money young shopping

At the top of the list of secret purchases was fashion and beauty items (7%), followed by gambling (6%) and ‘guilt’ foods (6%).

Alcohol (3%), adult entertainment (3%), and cigarettes (2%) were also identified as commonly hidden purchases.

Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at finder.com.au, says the decision to keep spending secret from your partner will depend on the nature of the relationship.

“Keeping some spending hidden from your partner isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

If you’re in the early stages of a relationship, it can make sense to keep some transactions to yourself.

“However, if you’re in a long-term relationship, and you trust your partner completely, it can be smart to open up a joint account as you’ll pay fewer account-keeping fees, and you can work towards common savings goals or milestones,” she says.

Ms Hassan says there are many reasons why people may feel obliged to keep spending under wraps.

“Some people may feel embarrassed by their spending behaviour, such as compulsive or impulse spending. 

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“Purchases may also be kept hidden to avoid tension within the relationship if money is a common source of conflict,” she says.

However, having joint bank accounts can be useful with it comes to tracking joint expenditure and paying fewer account-keeping fees.

The research found men are the worst offenders, with 33% lying about purchases to their partner, compared to 30% of women.

Ms Hassan encourages couples to have an open discussion about their spending plans.

“Discuss your spending habits and outline your budget plan so you’re both on the same wavelength.

“Set some boundaries and decide who will be responsible for managing the account and authorising transactions,” Ms Hassan says.

Interestingly, couples with no kids were most likely to spend money in secret.

Men vs Women

  • Women were six times as likely to hide clothing and beauty purchases than men (12% compared to 2%), while men were four times as likely to hide gambling from their partners (9% compared to 2%).
  • Guilt foods were the second most common thing hidden from partners for both men and women.
  • Men were six times as likely to hide ‘adult entertainment’ and pub sessions or nights out from their partners.

State by state breakdown

  • Victorians (38%) are most likely to hide their purchases from loved ones, followed by those from New South Wales (30%).
  • Almost one in ten West Australians (9%) had secretly spent money on fashion or beauty items behind their partner’s back.
  • Tasmanians are the most trustworthy, with only 17% having lied about their spending to a partner.
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