Are you hiding money from your hubby?

Recently a good friend was telling me about a bank account that she hides from her husband. She says she feels like she needs financial security and just pops money into it whenever she can.

A day later, I was listening to an encore show of “Whatever with Alexis and Jennifer” on Sirius radio (the show with Martha Stewart’s daughter Alexis Steward and her partner in crime Jennifer Koppelman Hutt) and they were talking about secrets that you keep. A woman called in and said that she had a secret bank account with $100,000 in it! Her husband was being investigated for tax problems and even though they file separately she was terrified her husband would find out about. (The woman ran her own business and has a separate account anyway so she was just squirreling away from her business.)

Time magazine wrote about the history of women hiding money from their husbands in a 2004 issue.

“Wives have probably been hiding money from their husbands since marriage was invented. The Japanese have a special term for the secret funds: hesokuri, variously translated as belly-button money or spindle money. Before the revision of marital-property laws, a state-by-state process that took until the 1930s, American women had good reason to be stealthy about their hoards, says Princeton sociologist Viviana Zelizer, author of the Social Meaning Of Money. All household property legally belonged to their husbands.”

“What’s surprising is that today, despite greatly expanded financial opportunities and legal rights, women still feel the need to play this cat-and-mouse game, albeit an updated version. No one knows how many wives hide money from their husbands, but there is evidence that the practice is widespread. A survey of 1,000 professional women conducted by working woman magazine in 1995 found that 13% of those interviewed had a secret stash. Women who have been divorced may be more likely to keep hidden funds: 1 in 4 women surveyed in 1999 by the Stepfamily Association of America, 71% of whom were married for the second time, said they kept some money aside. Author Heidi Evans estimates that millions of wives hide money. For her 1999 book, How To Hide Money From Your Husband … and Other Time-Honored Ways to Build a Nest Egg, Evans interviewed women ages 26 to 83 whose secret stockpiles ranged from a mere $200 to a mountainous $200,000. “It’s something of a sisterhood,” she says.”

I started Googling the topic and you wouldn’t believe how many things come up!

This link takes you to an article on MSN Money about women hiding money and red flags to determine if your spouse is guilty of this transgression.

The article quotes a a survey by British online bank  that found that about 75 percent of women admitted to hiding money, compared with 53 percent of men.

(There’s also a link to a video that teases: The worst kind of infidelity? Financial infidelity is a main cause of divorce. Here’s why it’s such a marriage-breaker.)

There are even books to teach women how to hide money. The title is: “How to Hide Money from Your Husband… and Other Time-Honored Ways to Build a Nest Egg: The Really Smart Woman’s Guide to Stashing Cash and Securing Your Future” by Heidi Evans, Judy Sheindlin

They nicely call it building a nest egg. That doesn’t sound selfish or deceitful, that makes it sound wise!

We’ve talked before about how I feel strongly about joint accounts. (Maybe that’s because I’ve never made as much as him.) His check is direct deposited so I’m not sure how he could hide any money.

I do have $50 in cash that my mother gave me for my birthday in my top dresser drawer. It’s kind of more safety money just to have in the house as opposed to mad money.

Are you hiding money from your hubby? If so, why? And tell us about your stash! How much have you saved? How long did it take? Where do you hide it? Does he suspect? Would he be mad?  Do you think it indicates a problem in the marriage? Do you find it deceitful or wise? Would you be upset if he had a slush fund too?

83 comments Add your comment


July 8th, 2009
3:20 pm

How about a topic on going from single mom to empty nester and how to make a smooth transition. What do you do when suddenly you have all this time on your hands and an empty house to go home to (except for the animals)…….I know we touched on this about a year ago….but my child is headed off to college in 40 days.

Theresa, could we make this our Friday topic? I sure could use some ideas….other than a second job and/or volunteering…….


July 8th, 2009
5:24 pm

im with jj on the empty nest topic…my youngest leaves for college in august..she actually has pretty much moved out to live with her bf..(which i am not happy about at all) but it i am finding some things very hard to deal with…weird things…cant wait for this topic!!


July 8th, 2009
6:10 pm

JJ…I am not totally empty nest, as I have a 17 year old at home. It is a BIG adjustment when a child goes off to college. My husband lost his best buddy ( our son), 4 years ago. He was rather forlorn for a while.

I personally believe this is why each person should cultivate their own friends, social interests and hobbies. Couple friends are fine but if the couple splits up or one dies…that’s it.

I love my daughter and will miss her like crazy but she will leave and my life will go on without her.

I have two types of parent friends: those whose kids come home a LOT from college and cannot seem to make the adjustment and those who never see their kids because they LOVE college ( my son). He is 45 minutes away but he may as well be in Wyoming.

I am now seeing adults who could not wait to retire but when they got there, all their friends were still at work and they actually had no personal hobbies and or friends ( outside of work). I worry that my husband will be like this and he keeps telling me that he will make friends and hobbies when he actually retires. I am not so sure. If you don’t fish, golf, bowl or play tennis…will you start when you are 60?

Lakerat should be able to give a clue about the empty nest thing and maybe even retirement??

deidre_NC ( I know you do not like it) but if my 18 year daughter moved in with her boyfriend, then she would be moving into his pocketbook and out of mine….Perhaps he has lots of money and that would be a good thing….LOL.


July 8th, 2009
6:40 pm

I have been an empty nester for 6 years. It was hard, especially 18 months ago when the baby went 1000 miles away. Luckily she hated it…Thankfully I got some practice with her 2 older siblings when they went off to school.

After the youngest left I focused on exploring what I was interested in, and have developed some “wild” interests, such as playing poker with a bunch of very liberal agnostics every 2 weeks. My children are still pretty surprised about that.

Sometimes I am lonely. Sometimes I am scared, especially when I am sick. I have some serious health issues and live way out in the country. My children call me frequently to check on me, and I call them sometimes to check on them, too.

Best wishes to you, JJ. Give yourself a chance to decompress and permission to explore other interests and avocations.

Jesse's Girl

July 8th, 2009
7:37 pm

JJ…I think and your girl should go ahead and redo her room now. Nothing huge….but somehting she can put her fingerprint on. That way…you’re not faced with seeing her as she was everytime you walk by it. You’ll see a hint of her as the woman she is becoming. Aslo….start a home improvement project that if left undone would make you completely miserable. That will force you to address it after she leaves….


July 8th, 2009
7:49 pm

If I HAD any extra money I would stash it. hee, hee! On the “empty nester” topic, I have one in college and one will be a Senior in high school this year. My college son does not come home much (he is taking some summer classes to catch up), especially during football season (HUGE fan), but, when he does, he usually spends most of the time at his best friend’s house. My daughter does not have plans right now. My husband and I go out to breakfast on weekends now to get ready for our “empty” house.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

July 8th, 2009
8:51 pm

Hey JJ – We can definitely do the topic — I may not use this Friday — I kind of have one in mind — but let me think on it –


July 8th, 2009
9:43 pm

I hide money…from myself. I don’t enter a few thousand in the register in my checking account. I just have to account for it when I balance my statement. But my husband knows its there. It irritates him, but I balance the statement.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

July 8th, 2009
9:58 pm

marie — I do that too — I write it in the front


July 8th, 2009
10:00 pm

I don’t think there is anything wrong with a woman who stashes extra cash in a secret account. You don’t have to have any hidden agendas. It is just a smart move to protect yourself and your kids in case of any unforeseen problems in the future.
Another thing…to all you know it alls out there: no woman marries a man knowing that he is a hateful jerk who is not worthy of her trust. That SOMETIMES comes later, unfortunately. People change…husbands change. BE PREPARED.


July 8th, 2009
10:12 pm

I have one account in my name, but my husband knows about it. I think it would disturb me if he had a secret account, just like I think he would have a negative reaction if I had one. It’s the secret part, sounds deceitful. He gets (or used to) get quarterly bonuses and would take a large chunk of it to spend on golf, tennis, etc. I’m fine with that. Some of the men he worked with at a previous job would actually hide bonuses from their wives; would not have them directly deposited into the bank accounts, but would get a separate check, and change the witholding taxes.

JJ…my son leaves in 3 weeks. I’m still in a little bit of denial. He’s so looking forward to starting this new chapter in his life. Very proud of him and very happy for him, but will miss him very much. I just can’t believe how quickly the years passed, especially the four years of high school…


July 8th, 2009
10:22 pm

She can hide all the money she wants and I won’t look so long as she doesn’t look for the mistresses I hide.


July 8th, 2009
10:28 pm

Nothing has been mentioned about men hiding money. Just about everyone I know “hides” money from their spouse. It is a good way to save, but also a good way to buy those special gifts without the spouse knowing the cost.

Jesse's Girl

July 8th, 2009
10:52 pm

Now that I think about it…how is hiding a secret I.C.E. stash…in case of emergency….any different than a pre-nup? Aren’t they both a protection of sorts?


July 9th, 2009
12:12 am

Jesse’s Girl — I’m not a big fan of pre-nups, either, except in the case of remarriages that need to differentiate estates for children, etc. So the ICE “secret” stash, to me, is still a strange idea. An ICE account, certainly. Secret, no.

Tiffany — I guess it’s possible for people to change — but it just seems like such a fundamental character issue.

Re — empty nesting. We, too, are having fun gathering things that will be needed for a) daughter’s first year at college and b) son’s first year living off campus. I’m loving have my son home for the summer, with his erratic work schedule. His friends come and go, and it’s wonderful to see all the kids I’ve watched grow up wandering in and out, exciting about their schools and their plans for the future. I’ve lost count of how many “second dinners” I’ve fixed so far this summer! (”Second dinner” — the meal that 18-22 year old boys eat at midnight!) But my daughter continues to worry about what I’m going to do next year with her gone. Hehe, I have a list a mile long of things to do!


July 9th, 2009
7:39 am

Jessie’s Girl, we have already re-done her room. We did it when she turned 17 and was tired of the posters, etc. We painted and got new curtains, etc.

We were packing up some dorm stuff we have already bought, and I told her, well, the two remaining posters need to come down. She’s like, Why? this is still my room and I will be coming home…..hee hee…..

And I’ve already started a couple of projects. I ripped the carpet up in the dining room, and will go to Home Depot to learn how to install pergo. I have some empty nester friends who know how to do that stuff. We’ve already painted my living/dining room.

But I’m thinking about taking a class or two, or getting a part time job…….


July 9th, 2009
8:37 am


Start thinking about grocery’s. Our son moved out two weeks ago. I have so much food in my house because I did not adjust quickly enough in the first trip to the grocery store.

We start redoing his room this weekend. His room is painted dark blue so I am not sure how much primer will be needed to make it a more neutral color.


July 9th, 2009
9:30 am

jct…yes, I do remember that we still had milk after 4 days…

Q T Pie

July 9th, 2009
10:03 am

I have a stash out of necessity as I have a super-stingy, cheap,tightwad-to-the-point-of-embarrassing spouse, who is obsessed with acquiring money.

Did I know he was this way when I married him? No, otherwise I would not have married him. Plus, it took me a while to realize he was this way, as I was blinded by my love for him.

So, I stash money from him (and yes, we have separate bank accounts)so that our children and I can live life in accordance with MY values (I tithe to the church, give gifts once in a while to friends & family, give our children an allowance,donate money charity, etc – ALL of which my hubby says is a COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY).

I tried for years to reason with him about his behavior, but to no avail. I finally realized that HE has a mental problem regarding money, and that the best thing for me to do is to have a separate account from him so I am not constantly harassed over wanting to spend a dab of money once in a while.

Ever since I made this change, life is sweeter for me and the kids (our two girls). Is my hubby still ridiculously stingy and embarrassing? Yes, but I do not have to put up with it like I used to. He’s happy stockpiling pennies in his account, and I am happy tending to mine. When life give you lemons, sometimes it’s best to make lemonade!


July 9th, 2009
10:23 am

JCT I never thought about that…..thanks.

I do know I’ll save a bunch of money at the grocery store, shopping for one now. I love to make homemade soups and chilis, and I can live off a pot of soup for a few days. My daughter hates soup, and refuses to eat it.

And I’m not a big eater, and love salads… there’s a lot of fresh fruit & veggies in my house…..

What’s going to be weird, is coming home every night after work. No need to rush home now……..

Jesse's Girl

July 9th, 2009
2:11 pm

Thats it JJ…we’re meeting for beers or wine once a week:)


July 9th, 2009
6:20 pm

JJ – at my kid’s school, we have a senior/parent night, which was always an eye-opener. They ask the kids questions about what their fears are for college (it’s a college prep school, so everyone is going in that direction), what their expectations are, etc. They ask similar questions of the parents. Then, at a meeting with both parents and students, they put all the answers up together side-by-side. It was fascinating! One of the biggest fears that a lot of the kids had would that their parents would “change” their room into a guest room while they were gone!

JCT – yep, the groceries are already a major adjustment. I absolutely cannot keep enough food in the house when both husband and son are in town. When it’s just me and my daughter, we might get to the store once a week. And if it’s just me (my husband is out-of-state most of the week on a long-term project for the next year), there will be a LOT of soup and sandwiches being consumed!

Can I come for happy hour, too? :-)

Jesse's Girl

July 9th, 2009
7:47 pm

YES…..Yes you can!


July 10th, 2009
1:11 am

I apologize as I did not have time to read all posts today or all week (been out of town with no access to internet).

No way would I squirrel away money secretly. My husband and I have seperate accounts and we love it. We divvy up responsibilities. We’ve never had problems with fighting over money. It may not work for others, but it works wonderfully for us.


July 10th, 2009
8:00 am

OK, happy hour party officially starts on August 17……

xavier&jaydens mom

July 10th, 2009
11:50 am

I am experiencing this right now! I have no idea how to deal with this. I just found out on yesterday my husband has a separate account with $18,000 in it….and he did not feel the need to discuss it with me.


July 10th, 2009
12:57 pm

Will it be “happy” hour, or “tear-filled” hour?! heheh!


July 10th, 2009
3:09 pm

X&J’s mom – How did you find out?????

DB – BOTH!!!! But they may be tears of joy???? LOL


July 10th, 2009
3:10 pm

X&J’s Mom – Don’t get me wrong here, but could it be he has a secret account because he has already been divorced once before and the ex got everything????? So maybe he’s protecting himself…ya know?

xavier&jaydens mom

July 10th, 2009
5:02 pm

jj- I got home before he did on yesterday and the statement was in the mail! I should not have to pay for the mistakes of his ex! I am not her! All of what I am, and all of what I have goes into our household- money, time, care giving, everything! This is the ultimate slap in the face! We were already having major issues- this is just too much! I really see this as the beginning of the end.


July 16th, 2009
9:07 pm

Cool,I have found a place where I can share & be honest.
I have just started squirrelling away money. I do it to save a marriage.
My hubby loves to horde money as well. Feels secure with savings.
He lets me do the budgeting & have some control yet hates me giving & checks the accounts all the time.
Last year we refinanced & the pay out money was in my name. As I don’t work I forgot the value of money & spent the $40,000 on courses,health retreat,things for others,my kids,a cruise for parents. The money went!
So now I have this big bill to pay & can’t tell him as he values honesty
& it would ruin the marriage. I want us to stay together as he has lots of good attributes. So now I am learning debt management. I take extra cash out when getting petrol,or anywhwere that offers the cash out option. I redirected child payments to my account.He doesn’t notice as I still put a smaller payment in the joint account.I Have a PO Box where my mail goes.

Im given $250 a week cash for groceries. I can feed the family 3 nutritious meals a day for $150. So I put the rest to debt reduction.
The kids don’t miss out.
I don’t feel bad as I am now handling money better than before.The fright of it has shaken me up. I have a goal. I now have a part time job which I would not have got before. I can pay the debt in 2 years then I can put what I save onto the car,the mortgage & be totally debt free in less than 7 years. Then we can all benefit from my mistake!!

So I’m not doing it to buy luxuries. It is for a purpose. So far I have paid off over $4000 in a few months.
I now enjoy what I am doing,have learnt new skills, and am very thrifty!! I will keep you informed of progress.


August 7th, 2009
4:25 pm

I’ve told my married daughter that if she is smart that she will keep her savings account in her name and keep putting money into it. I’m not telling her she has to keep it hidden from her husband. But I think every woman needs her own money, that way she has the choice to be married because she wants to be married and not be married because she can’t afford to leave. This is based on experience and all the things I have seen married people go though over the years. Back when I was a young bride with stars in my eyes I probably would have thought it wrong to have different accounts also. But now it’s 30 years later and reality has set in.


September 16th, 2009
11:24 am

My husband and I have been married for 12yrs and have 4 kids together and I have 1 from a previous marriage. I’m a stay at home mom. He told me since he works and brings in the income that he should handle the bills. I have no say whatsoever. He gives me some money for groceries and gas to last 2 weeks….like an allowance. He stashes his money at work. I keep asking him why he stashes the money at work and he gets mad about it because he thinks I’m trying to control him and if I don’t have the money in my hands I go off the deep in. He has had to go into work to get money on a few emergencies cause we needed the extra money that he has there. We live about an hour from his job. In the past 2yrs he has cheated on me 5 times and the last one was an 18yr old and he is 45yrs old. He has lied to me several times. I don’t know if he is really going to work or it’s just an excuse. I don’t know what I’m suppose to do. Even his sister who I hate told me that who ever brings in the income should pay the bills etc.