Combined Finances? Here’s How to Make a Surprise Purchase

by Travis Pizel · 2 comments

My wife and I stay on track with our finances through constant communication. We go over our budget twice a week to ensure we’re in sync with every aspect of our finances including:

  • Income amounts to be received in the current two week budget period
  • Bills due during the current two week budget period
  • Amount to be put into savings
  • Spending plan for discretionary funds

We are both fully aware of how much money we have at all times, and what it’s going to be used for. Unfortunately there’s one thing that’s very difficult to do within the parameters of our system.

It’s virtually impossible to surprise my wife with any gesture of romance or appreciation. Seeing as we share an account and are always updated on the financial moves of our household, this is nearly impossible.

My wife loves surprises, but planning a surprise date or spontaneously giving her a bouquet of flowers on a Friday afternoon is tough when we plan how every dollar of our money is going to be spent together.

The question becomes, how can couples who combine their finances accomplish that element of surprise and romance?

Blow Money

Many couples choose to allocate an amount of money to each person to spend on whatever they want, no questions asked. This gives a person the ability to spend money on a spontaneous or unexpected gift for their loved one without having to tip their hand that anything is going on.

The downside to this is that depending upon the amount agreed upon as weekly individual funds, it may take a long time to save up for a significant gift.

Future Fund

One spouse could request that a certain amount of money be set aside from the budget for a future item. This could allow for larger amounts of funds to be set aside, but it would also make it obvious that something is going on.


It would be fairly easy for me to underspend our grocery allowance, and tuck away a little bit here and there. This would allow the accumulation of funds, but this method can feel rather deceptive.

Take Charge

One spouse could ask their partner if they can plan an upcoming weekend, using all the discretionary funds. It would certainly announce your intentions, but, the recipient would not know the specifics until the event arrived.

None of these options are perfect, but they all provide a feasible way to surprise your partner even if your family’s finances are combined. Do you and your significant other have combined finances?

How else can you surprise your partner but at the same time give them as few details as possible?

Money Saving Tip: An incredibly effective way to save more is to reduce your monthly Internet and TV costs. Click here for the current Verizon FiOS promotion codes and promos to see if you can save more money every month from now on.

{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Julie Rains says:

    I love the idea of telling your wife (or husband) about a big expense but keeping the details secret. Big expenses in particular should be discussed. Each couple can set its own parameters. In fact, I made my husband return a piece of jewelry he bought for me when we were newlyweds — the sentiment was nice but the actual gift wasn’t what I wanted or needed.

    Like you and your wife, my husband and I have combined our finances for many years. We share spending habits but don’t scrutinize each purchase as it happens so as along as the item falls within the discretionary budget, we can still surprise each other with small gifts.

    You could also use rewards points (say on Amazon) to make purchases without sending up the usual red flag.

    Great post on keeping romance alive while controlling your finances.

    • Great idea using reward points, Julie! Keeping the romance alive, and continuing to do those little things that let our significant others know we appreciate them, and they still make our heart pound just a little faster goes a LONG way towards a happy and fulfilling marriage!

Leave a Comment