Admit it. You lie to your spouse.
From “That dress doesn’t make your butt look big” to “Sure, honey, it’s totally okay for you to go to the game on our anniversary,” little white lies are the oil that keeps a marriage running smoothly. Anybody who tells you different is…um…lying.
But some lies should be off-limits in your marriage. Lies about the family finances are on that list. Without an accurate understanding of what’s going on with your money, you won’t be able to work a plan for getting out of debt.
Despite this, a recent MSN.com poll found that nearly 40 percent of married people report themselves as likely to lie to their partners about money. Take a moment to check yourself for these money-related lies.
Underplaying The Cost of a Purchase
If you blew $120 on gear for your hobby, or a few new outfits, it can be tempting to tell your spouse it cost just $100 — or even that you can’t remember the exact amount. At best, this means an unpleasant surprise come budget day. At worst, it can lead to overdraft fees when your partner tries to spend money you don’t have.
This happens a lot as couples prepare to get married, with one partner bringing a wedding gift of massive debt into the marriage. In established marriages, it’s all too common for one spouse to hide credit card purchases — or even entire credit accounts — from the other.
If you tell your spouse you make $60,000 a year when you actually make $80,000, that leaves you 20 grand a year to spend on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with setting aside some of your earnings, but it’s better to be honest about it. Your spouse might feel betrayed if you’re discovered. Being open about your earnings might lead you both to discover a better way to use that money.
This is one of the most commonly reported lies people tell before they get married — filed right along with how much she weighs and how much he can bench press. Some people carry it forward into the marriage, leading their partners to make spending decisions the actual take-home can’t accommodate.
Overstating How Much You Can Afford
It can be hard to deny your spouse or kids something they really want — especially since not being able to afford it can feel like admitting defeat. Some spouses trade in that feeling for the stress of debt by approving a purchase their bank accounts can’t handle.
From gambling losses to bad investments to stupid purchases, it’s really tempting to underplay just how badly you made a recent financial mistake. Just like understating purchase prices, this can have serious immediate impact when your partner makes budgeting decisions based on what you said you lost.
Even though it can be hard to remember in the moment, it’s always best to be honest with your partner about money. It’s good for your finances. It’s good for your relationship. It’s even good for you, since sharing and handling mistakes together helps you grow as a human being.