3 Ways to be Honest About Money with Your Partner

From sneaking online purchases into our closet (don’t bother denying it!) to mysterious trips to the car repair shop (even after being married for a few years, I have yet to figure this one out), couples hide things from each other.

There are number of reasons for this:

Fear of conflict – we may assume that our partner will disapprove of our purchase and rather than confess and risk arguments, we just hide it and hope it doesn’t get discovered

Habit – after being single for some time, you just got used to purchasing stuff without consulting someone else

It’s tiring though --- having to keep things from your partner.

I remember buying this expensive cake mixer (not that I was a baker, but it looked really good in the kitchen). Since I knew my husband will gawk at the price, I fabricated this story that it was a hand-me-down from my cousin. I further embellished this by saying that since she upgraded to a later model, my cousin gave this one to me.

Nice twist, I thought.

However, I didn’t think things through enough. Especially the fact that it may come up in conversations ie., my husband thanking my cousin for this “gift”, for instance.

So I had to tell my cousin and she in turn had to tell her husband, because the two men frequently hang out.

Now that I have woven such a complicated story, I had to remember all the details and who was involved so that during our weekly family gatherings, I say the right thing to the right person.

It was very tiring trying to steer conversations away from kitchen appliances, gifts, upgrading … anything remotely related to my cake mixer.

I eventually gave up and confessed to my husband; And after his initial surprise, he laughed and said that he has also been hiding this new bike accessory for weeks now. Whew!

After my initial relief, I thought “I could have saved a lot of time and energy trying to come up with stories for my beloved cake mixer.”

Since then, we decided to be up front about our purchases.

Here are a few things I learned in that process.

1. Agree on a splurge item with your partner

Rather than prevent one another from spending, allow each other an item and/or amount regularly. For example, agree that every month, you will go for a full body spa and he, in turn, can buy something for his bike (or whatever his latest hobby is). This transparent spending frees both of you of any guilt.

2. Set a budget

Cap your spending to a certain amount, so you can both be on budget. If either one happens to go over budget (inevitable, I can assure you), withhold judgment. Instead, discuss how this may be avoided in future.

3.Have combined goals

If you have been so used to making solo decisions, now is the time to think of discussing major expenditures with your partner. Having goals as a couple also help give you both a sense of direction in the relationship.

Remember that you are now in a partnership. Use situations like this as an opportunity to strengthen that partnership, rather than cause a rift between the two of you. 

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