Couples Fib About Holiday Spending

When it comes to holiday spending, one-third of couples lie, disagree or cover up, a survey found.

A diverse group of American couples were quizzed about their holiday shopping habits using the ABC sitcom “Modern Family” as a guide, and though heterosexual married couples said they disagree and dissemble the most, all types of couples reported differences over holiday spending, according to a survey by McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union.

When asked if they disagree over holiday spending, nearly half (48%) said they do clash about how much to spend during the season. Of the divorced/in a relationship segment, 43% disagreed on holiday expenses. Among committed same-sex couples, however, the percentage that disagrees fell to 37%.

When it comes to fibbing about what they spend, fully one-third of the heterosexual marrieds (34%) admitted lying to their spouse. Of the divorced and same-sex segment, only 25% admitted to “harmless” spending lies.

More than half the married couples reported paying with cash to cover up a large purchase, and more than one in ten has actually taken out a credit card in their own name to conceal spending.

Among gay couples, only a third said they cover up by using cash. Same-sex couples are more likely to retrieve and pay a bill before the partner notices, by 15%, compared with 9% in the general population.

Despite the tendency to disagree over how much to spend and to cover up splurges, 55% of Americans have never returned an item because they felt guilty about the price.

McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union’s survey was designed to explore how underlying spending attitudes may affect shopping habits and overall financial wellness during the holiday season. It sought information from 1,000 respondents, including heterosexual married couples, divorced couples (remarried or in relationships) and committed or married same-sex couples.