A client once confessed to me that after a shopping expedition she’d hide all the bags in her car and bring them into the house progressively over a number of days so her husband didn’t twig to how much she’d spent.
I hear the latest variation is to have items delivered to your workplace.
Working from home during COVID-19 may have been extra illuminating for some couples.
Hey secret spender!
Nearly one-third of Australians in a relationship admit to hiding purchases from their partners. (Finder survey, 2017).
A 2019 survey by Finder revealed the most common purchases couples are hiding include:
- Clothes (38%)
- Guilt foods (32%)
- Gambling (26%)
- Shoes (18%)
- Pub sessions/alcohol (15%)
That kind of secrecy, and the consequential guilt, can’t be good for relationships.
Perfection is impossible. To tightly control every dollar may sometimes be necessary, but most of the time that’s challenging for us mere mortals.
Being totally loose is not healthy either. We’re surrounded by tempting opportunities to spend and uncontrolled impulse buying is the ruin of many.
Fortunately, there’s a better way, that’s not too tight and not too loose.
Isolate impulses and indulgences
The most workable method I’ve found is to have a separate, fixed allocation for guilt-free spending each pay.
Importantly, avoid the mistake of allocating the guilt-free spending amount first. You’re human so you’ll allocate more than you can afford.
First, determine how much you need to save for your significant goals and to cover your commitments. The amount left over may then be allocated to impulses and indulgences.
To make it difficult to blow the budget, isolate your allocation in a separate account with a debit card, or use cash in your wallet.
I recommend couples each have an account and personal allocation. No need to hide purchases from each other anymore.
One of my coaching clients came up with the brilliant name of ‘play-dough‘ for their guilt-free allocation. With their kind permission, you’re welcome to steal the name.