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Sneaky spending habits kept from loved ones

Sneaky spending habits kept from loved ones

Category: Money

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Honesty is always the best policy, right? Well, for some people, it seems that this mantra doesn't always hold true, particularly when it comes to finances. Indeed, research from first direct has found that one in three Brits have secret spending habits that they keep from their loved ones, and this could come to the fore in the coming weeks as the festive shopping season ramps up.

What's mine is yours?

The research found that a large proportion of respondents admitted to keeping secret bank accounts, credit cards, purchases and even savings from their partners, often from fear of judgement. Women were found to be the sneakiest when it comes to hiding purchases, with one in five females surveyed expected to hide purchases this Christmas (and 49% will keep them from their partners), while 31% will hide the true cost of their festive buys.

Conversely, men were found to be the most untruthful about money coming in, rather than funds going out. Indeed, a higher percentage of men admitted to being untruthful about salaries, earnings, bonuses and money received from other sources, while women were more likely to keep quiet about their spending (22% expect to go over-budget on a gift this year or raid the rainy day stash).

However, both sexes were found to experience buyers' remorse when the financial hangover hits in January, with 45% of respondents admitting that they have regretted purchases in the past. Women were most likely to regret clothes and shoes, while men tend to regret gadgets and technology, so it could be worth thinking about whether you really need that expensive tech or pricey Christmas party dress!

Fears of over-spending

Unfortunately, it can be all too easy to get carried away at this time of year, with thoughts of tracking down that perfect present and treating yourself to a festive makeover often overriding thoughts of the budget. Those pre-Christmas shopping sales can also prove to be far too tempting for many, not to mention stressful!

It could be for this reason that so many people will be shunning the high street on Black Friday this year, with figures from showing that only 9% will be heading to physical stores, while 29% will be heading online to take advantage of the sales from the comfort of their own home.

This could prove beneficial, as if you're shopping online, you can't be swept up in the hype and excitement of the high street. (Just make sure you're not shopping under the influence – additional figures from Flubit found that one in 20 people have shopped online after drinking alcohol, with the most expensive drunken purchase being a £6,500 car, and some of the most bizarre being a snake and didgeridoo. It could pay to stay sober…)

No regrets

While shopping online could be one way to keep your spending in check – it'll give you time to research your purchases and really think about whether or not you need them, provided you're staying sensible – there are other things you can do to make it through December with no financial regrets, and ideally, without having to be a sneaky spender. Tracy Garrad, first direct's CEO, has these top tips:

· Work out a budget and stick to it. Instead of choosing gifts and then working out if you can afford them, start from scratch by calculating a budget and choosing gifts based on that. Make sure your budget is affordable and that you won't be in the red come January.

· Plan your festive calendar. The various social activities and events that dominate the festive season can be incredibly expensive, so don't be pressured into doing more than you can afford: plan your calendar as thoroughly as you can, working out what you've got coming up and how much you can actually afford to take part in, and don't be afraid to say no if it all gets a bit too much.

· Start saving and spread the cost. It may be a bit too late to start saving if you haven't already done so – after all, most people will only have one more paycheque before Christmas (deep breaths everyone), but if you've already got a healthy savings pot, it'll make it far more manageable.

However, if you've left it a bit too late, all is not lost – go back to the start and work out a budget based on the money you've got coming in for the rest of the year, and if you absolutely must turn to credit, be savvy about it. Opt for a card that charges 0% interest on purchases, helping you spread the cost without needing to worry about interest for as long as 30 months.

Alternatively, if you're confident you'll be able to pay the balance off in full in the New Year, it could be worth opening a cashback credit card so you can get money back on every spend. Either way, make sure your credit score is up to scratch and make absolutely certain you won't be putting yourself in financial difficulty, and hopefully you won't have to be so sneaky with your spending this year!

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.