Would You Have a Secret Bank Account From Your Spouse?

I have a confession. I have a secret bank account. My husband doesn’t really know it exists nor will I likely tell him. Before you all go crazy on me let me explain.

First, when I say he doesn’t ”really know about it”, what I mean is that saw the paperwork, inquired with me what it was, I quickly answered ”I opened a new account” and changed the subject. He hasn’t brought it up again so I’m confident he’s forgotten…

Secret account

Photo from http://independent.ie

Our Monetary Differences 

I am frugal and could live off rice and water if I could and it meant my debt would be paid off in less time. Yup, I’m one of those. While I didn’t put my life totally on hold because of my debt (I had a wedding and a honeymoon, and have a child who is well taken care of) there is a whole lot of expenses I would cut and things in my life I would get rid of and sacrifice for myself (ie things I have compromised on with my husband) if it meant we could get out of debt faster.

My husband however is very much NOT like this. He enjoys spending money and enjoys the things our money buys. Not so much so that it interferes with our long-term goals or anything, other than the odd unplanned lunch out with friends, I don’t have to worry about him being too irresponsible with our money but he’s definitely the spender while I’m the saver.

Our relationship works. We’ve been together eleven years so we have to be doing something right! He keeps me balanced and reminds me that even though we’re in debt, I don’t need to be such a tight-ass all the time. As long as we’re responsible with it all. We discuss all of our purchases. All of our accounts are joint (minus the aforementioned secret account) and we discuss everything when it comes to money (minus the aforementioned secret account).

Our definition of how an emergency fund should be used varies however.

The Emergency Fund

When my husband sees money in the account that houses our ”emergency fund” he tends to let a few small slip-ups happen because the money in the ’emergency fund’ account can be used until we can repay it. Again we’re not talking about a TV or Xbox game but when he sees me stashing away money into our emergency fund account he doesn’t seem to stick to our budget as strictly, thinking the ER fund will cover us. He get’s lazy when it comes to following our budget.

If, for instance, there was something we needed for the house and we were in the process of saving for it, but it came on sale this week only though we only had saved 60% of the cost, he would somehow convince me we should use the emergency fund money since the ”item is on sale” and put the savings back in the fund even though it’s at 40% less than we borrowed. But, if we had no available funds in said account, he wouldn’t even mention it and just wait until we had saved enough to even look for the item in store sales.

This is the sort of ”over spending” I’m talking about.

The Secret Account

I opened an online savings account that he doesn’t know about where I have a small emergency fund saved. I have much more financial restraint than he does so in my mind, the money is safer with me. We manage our day-to-day funds fine otherwise and have the same common goals.

For the time being, I’m not going to tell him. When our next emergency does come up, and there will be one given our track history, he will likely look at me freaking out thinking we don’t have the money when I will inform him we will be ok because I have money set aside. Knowing my husband he will be grateful that I was smart enough to do this (both saving and out of his sight) and encourage me to continue on with the emergency fund as I currently am (without him knowing).

So for us, I’m sure this arrangement will work. I’m not talking about having a secret account that I will use for my own personal use, rather save for our family where I know it won’t be touched.

What would you do? Am I alone in this thought process?

24 thoughts on “Would You Have a Secret Bank Account From Your Spouse?

    • In terms of gifts etc we usually just take cash out once we have an agreed upon budget or pay with debt and play the ”don’t look at the account details” for a few days haha.

  1. I’m with your husband on that hypothetical situation. If I was saving for a planned and needed expense and the opportunity came to get it for significantly cheaper, I would would play accounting tricks to make the money available and continue to save for it until I paid that money back.

    That said, I am also the saver and also have a “secret” account. My wife knows about it but generally doesn’t know the balance. Left to her own devices, she would pay the minimum on every debt and take about a decade to pay off all the medical debt we accrued a few years ago. So I have some of my pay go into a separate account, along with all of my blogging income, and use it to pay the debts faster.

  2. My husband knows about all our accounts, but he doesn’t know that I have automatic monthly withdrawls that deposit into each of them. This way, we have more of a cushion that makes me feel better. He doesn’t really need to know because I’m in charge of paying the bills (though we set goals and work together to pay off our debt). I just like being more in control and having some extra cash handy!

  3. When you’re true partners (as in this situation) I think it totally makes sense! In marriage, sometimes you need to account for each other’s weaknesses. My husband and I are very much the same way, and if he often talked me into using our savings I would definitely open a “Secret” account. Though, since he rarely checks in with our bank, it wouldn’t have to be all that “Secret,” haha!

  4. Your “secret” account makes sense in this case – it’s not like you’re trying to hide anything or are trying to buy something he really doesn’t approve of! It seems like if you guys work well together with your day-to-day budgeting, then having a small stash of funds set aside for emergencies in account your spouse doesn’t know about seems pretty harmless. I could see where I might do the same thing if I was in your situation. I don’t have any accounts that I keep a secret, but for a little while a kept my goals to earn a side income a secret from my husband. I just didn’t want him to know about it if I tried and failed! But as I’ve gotten more serious about it – branching out, blogging, seeking freelance writing gigs – I’ve opened up to him more and told him all about it – and he thinks it’s very cool and is super supportive 🙂

  5. I know spouses having separate accounts happens frequently but I’m not of fan of this when there are more nefarious ideas in mind. I always fear that sterotype of the working husband squirreling away a percentage of his paycheck so he can take his secretary on Carribbean cruises while his stay at home wife is taking care of the kids, thinking he’s on a business trip.

    Obviously in your case you are saving for a reason, a good reason! But personally, if I found out my husband was keeping a separate savings account, I wouldn’t like it. :/

  6. Hey Catherine. You obviously know your husband well enough that he would have no reason to think you have any other hidden agenda other than the saving of money for a family emergency. Which is cool. Plus, as you stated, he’ll be pleased that you took the initiative when, and if, the time comes to dip into it.

    How would you feel were the shoe on the other foot? Just curious. As I don’t have a spouse or money, I don’t have to “worry” about such things 🙂

    Take care and thank for a fun read. All the best.


  7. While I’m a fan of full transparency, I can understand your views on emergency funds and your interest in keeping this fund. At least you’re saving for a good purpose and for both of you, instead of personal shopping like some people do – which is a different issue altogether.

  8. susanna says:

    you have perfectly described us- I am like you, my husband is like yours. I save for our unanticipated family needs and extras in accounts that are in my name only. All household expenses are paid from my husbands’s earnings-we live at his income level and save mine. A part of me needs the security of knowing that I have full control of substantial funds- a trust issue.

  9. britta_girl@hotmail.com says:

    I did the same thing however my husband found the ER fund and went crazy because I kept it from him said I hurt him that I don’t trust him. lets just say that the 1000 I had save was gone in a weekend because he kept saying he needed it for this that and the other. and I use it to compensate for income when he doesn’t get enough hours at work or if we had an unforeseen expense like doctor etc.. anyway this made everything worse in my relationship and we have been together for 12 years and I have always done this and we have always been find because I take care of the bills. but he happens to find a deposit slip and does not trust me. this is so unfair because with out me saving on the side ( all of which is my money that I got from bonuses at work) I figure that if I pretend I never got the bonus then we would not be dependent on it. but he sees otherwise. it is impossible for him to save money. we could have 504 in our account and he would spend it in a day and tell me to ask my boss for my check early. its unfair as I save and go with out and he gets gets gets whatever. this is the only thing that makes me think about divorce because how can I live with a man that can’t be responsible with his money? I don’t think I can make it with him if I’m going to get yelled at for saving money for the family. but if the roles were reversed I could see him point. but then again im not using it for personal use.

  10. helen says:

    I found out my husband opened a secret bank account with the intention of forwarding his direct deposit paycheck into it to ‘ teach me a lesson’ for spending some money from our joint account. Never mind my income goes into the joint account too and I pay must of mine on bills. He treats himself to whatever he wants and I bought myself something one time and he lost it and opened up a separate bank account and had good DD switched to it.
    Begging for a divorce???

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