Aussies spend $1.6 billion per year on ‘secret purchases’

Millions of Australians are hiding purchases from their partners.

Aussies spend $1.6 billion per year on ‘secret purchases’

Millions of Aussies are guilty of secret spending – hiding purchases from partners to the tune of around $588 per month.

New research by Finder reveals that 2.7 million Australians hide purchases from their partner, with the most common ‘secret purchases’ being clothes (38 per cent), guilt foods (32 per cent), gambling (26 per cent) and shoes (18 per cent).

Men spend more than twice as much as women, forking out $807 per month compared to just $366 for women.

Bessie Hassan, money expert at Finder, said disclosing spending habits with your partner might depend on how far along in the relationship you are.

“If you’ve just started dating someone, there’s no need to divulge every detail of your monthly expenditure,” she said.

“But if you’re merging finances and moving in together, you’ll probably need to have a conversation about money and spending habits.

“After all, if you plan on buying a home together down the track, both your credit scores will be considered. If your partner has a bad credit score, it will impact your borrowing power as a couple.”

More than half (60 per cent) of these sneaky purchases were made with cash, 26 per cent with a debit card and 24 per cent on a credit card.

“Using cash does suggest some Aussies are going the extra mile to cover their tracks. But if you’re going to be merging finances — and lives — with your partner, they’ll find out sooner or later if you’re splashing cash behind their back,” said Ms Hassan.

Women are most likely to hide clothing purchases, while men more commonly hide adult entertainment.

Baby boomers are the least likely to hide purchases. 

“Lying about your finances can damage a relationship, especially if it results in debt. If you’re constantly hiding your spending from your partner, it’s important to ask yourself why that might be the case,” said Ms Hassan.

What spending do Aussies keep from their partners?


38 per cent

Guilt foods

32 per cent


26 per cent


18 per cent

Pub sessions/alcohol

15 per cent


14 per cent

Adult entertainment

10 per cent


8 per cent


5 per cent

Do you hide purchases from your partner? What types of items or services do you buy that you keep a secret?

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20th Jun 2019
Not guilty!
Karl Marx
20th Jun 2019
My ex wife was a gambling addict, kept it secret for many years but I found out in the end, stopped her from access any of my wages etc so at least I could pay the bills & put food on the table for our young son. but she would blow all her fortnightly pay in 2 nights sometimes one. She walked out on me & our son in the end because she said I was to controlling lol, one of the happiest days of my life
20th Jun 2019
These are big numbers. If you are secretly spending that sort of money each month, I think there is a bigger problem. Either, you can’t discuss the issue or you aren’t sticking to a budget. It’s more than the odd splurge.
20th Jun 2019
MY secret spending is so 'secret' even I don't know about it ;-0
20th Jun 2019
Are you suggesting, Leon that of the 2.7 million people, men on average 'hide' spending of $807 per month and women $366 from their partners? The maths makes that claim hard to corroborate with the total only $1.6 billion in 'secret' purchases. $20 Billion would be closer and that is without bothering to do any real calculation.

Is it possible that these are the averages for discretionary spending across the entire population?

We wouldn't hide any spending, neither would care either way anyway. Hard to believe that
1.35 million couples do but I suppose it takes all types.
20th Jun 2019
No, I never hid purchases from my Husband, IMO if you are married you should hide nothing from each other you should have an open and honest relationship
20th Jun 2019
Could not agree more...
20th Jun 2019
After over 54 years marriage it was hard to have any secret spending. For the first 30 years or so we did not have the money to spend openly let alone secretly. We have always been open and honest about finances (apart from minor expenses like iced buns for morning tea or $5 on pokies when I was away from home). Nowadays I do not really care what we spend on, it's only the kids inheritance after all.
20th Jun 2019
Just glad i don't have a partner to control my life & finances/spending these days, worked all my life, but finally my money is MY money)! Freedom is awesome!
Karl Marx
21st Jun 2019
Couldn't agree more, stay in control. No one elses business at our age anyway.
20th Jun 2019
60% cash, 26% debit card, 24% credit card. You've spent 110%!
21st Jun 2019
You are on the ball!

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