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Singapore’s secret spending habits

Over a quarter of Singaporeans (27%) have hidden a purchase from their romantic partner.

Financial infidelity is a problem for over a quarter (27%) of Singaporeans, according to a survey conducted by Milieu and analysed by Finder. This means that roughly 783,000 Singaporeans aged 16+ have hidden a financial purchase from their significant other ranging from lies of omission like telling your partner an item cost less than it did, to bald-faced lies such as a secret bank account.

Most common financial purchases people have hidden from their partner

Clothing and shoes top the list of secret purchases, with 8% of Singaporeans saying they’ve hidden this type of purchase from their romantic partner. Hobby-related items (like fishing equipment or computer games), electronic items (phone, gaming consoles or headphones) and skincare/makeup tie for second place with 6% hiding these purchases. Other purchases Singaporeans are keeping a secret include things like cigarettes (3%), alcohol (4%) and even your sneaky fast food run (5%).

Men and women keep spending secrets as much as each other… but about very different purchases

Men and women are just as likely as one another to hide a purchase, with 27% of both men and women saying they’ve hidden something from a partner. However, there are some differences in the types of purchases they’ve hidden.

Men are most likely to have hidden a hobby-related purchase (9%), electronic device (8%) or more scandalously, a debt, gambling or alcohol (7%). Meanwhile, women are more likely to have hidden things like clothing and shoes (10%), skincare or makeup (7%) and jewellery (5%). So the next time your boyfriend or girlfriend questions your latest handbag purchase, perhaps remind them it’s better than their Call of Duty addiction.

Middle-aged Singaporeans most likely to lie about purchases

Those aged 35–44 are most likely to have kept a purchase hidden at 36%, followed by 45- to 54-year-olds (29%) then 25- to 34-year-olds (26%). Those aged 55+ are actually least likely to have told a fib (20%), followed by 16- to 24-year-olds (24%).

It’s worth noting that nearly a third of 16- to 24-year-olds say they’ve never had a romantic partner, which is perhaps contributing to the lower percentages of people who’ve lied (they’ve simply never had the opportunity).

Liars come in all financial brackets

Those in the highest monthly income bracket (S$12,000+) and in the middle range (S$6,000–S$8,999) are most likely to have kept a secret from their partner with a third of people from these income brackets (33%) saying they’ve hidden a purchase. Those earning S$9,000–S$11,999 are least likely to have kept a secret (22%), followed by those earning S$3,000–S$5,999 (23%). Those in the lowest income bracket fall somewhere in between at 28%.

How are Singaporeans keeping their purchases hidden?

With so many people hiding their purchases, we also asked Singaporeans how they’re going about keeping the secret. It turns out some Singaporeans are shedding zeros from the price when they tell their partner about their latest shopping purchase. In fact, the most common way people have hidden a financial purchase from their partner is by simply telling them it cost less than it did. Bought a handbag for S$5,000? Let’s call it S$500.

Using cash is also a popular method, with 37% of those who have hidden a purchase opting to avoid their cards altogether. Not to get philosophical here, but if there’s no proof of the purchase, did it ever really happen?

Just over a quarter (26%) say they blame the transaction on something else. Meanwhile just under one in five used a BNPL service (buy now pay later) or, sneakily, asked a friend or family member to make the purchase and transferred the money later.

Image: Getty

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