Personal finance

6 Ways to Surprise a Spouse When You Share Finances

Whether it is an anniversary or a birthday, we all look forward to opening a gift from our special someone. For couples that keep their finances separate, it is easy to buy presents for each other. Most couples, however, share accounts and make all financial decisions together, making presents a planned purchase.

In this scenario, couples usually set aside present money in their budgets so that they can plan for them and track the expenses. But, what happens if you want to break the mold and give a real surprise? Something that makes them saying, “WOW! How did you get me this?”

With most purchases, gifts included, it is important to plan ahead. But, with surprise gifts, the further you plan ahead, the more difficult it is to keep the lucky recipient in the dark. A line item on a credit card bill can tip them off long before they stumble into your suspicious package in the attic.

So, if you are planning to keep your surprise under the radar, here are 6 tricks you can use to land the big surprise:

1) Earn extra money on the side and have a friend make the purchase
When Colleen Meeks wanted to surprise her husband with an iPad for his birthday, she struggled to find a way to keep it a secret. Not only was it hard to find money sneak out of the house to buy it, they shared all their finances, so she couldn’t make the purchase without him knowing immediately. Since she worked as a freelancer from home, she decided to take on a few extra jobs without telling him to earn the money to make the purchase.

“There were really good online deals, but I had a handful of cash,” she writes. “I weighed approaches before finally doing the only logical and mature thing. I called my dad. He ordered the iPad for me and let me give him the cash.”

Not only did she get him a new iPad, he got to see all the effort that she put into the way she got it for him. “I just hope he feels all the love that went into the planning and the sneaking. Or, maybe it’s that sometimes the best gifts are the ones that you invest time, thought, and sacrifice to give to the people you love the most.”

2) Tell them there will be a surprise, but don’t say what it is
If you don’t feel comfortable with all the sneaking around this requires, you can be a little more direct. Dave Ramsey suggests a more upfront approach. “Let your spouse know they have a gift coming, but don’t tell them what it is.”

This lets you sit down together and plan the fact that you will do something outside of the normal budget. “When you start hiding your spending, it can only create trouble. Doing it this way is a compromise, but it’s a compromise where everyone wins.”

3) Get a separate account to use just for this purchase If your relationship is such that are comfortable with a little more deception,

Katy McLaughlin had a solution that required a little more planning when she wanted to buy her husband some new books for his collection. She just went out and got a new credit card. “While eventually he will see the deduction from our bank account when I pay my credit-card bill,” she remarked, “at least it will be a more confusing lump sum and a month after, not before, the holiday.”


Dmitry Savransky
Dmitry Savransky

Chief Editor

Dmitry graduated from National Technical University of Ukraine ‘Kyiv Polytechnic Institute’. He joined PocketGuard at the end of 2021 as a Head of Product with strong background in fintech. Dmitry i...

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