29 April 20224 minute read

Hiding financial purchases is the new cheating

Ever had someone dash toward you to intercept a package delivery? Breathing hard, talking fast, shifty eyes—you’ve probably seen it all before. Chances are they were trying to hide an online purchase from someone else at home.

Key takeaways

  • Fifty-eight percent of people in a relationship had purchased something after their partner disapproved.
  • Almost 40% of people in a relationship had opened a secret credit card to hide purchases from their partner.
  • Just under a third of people hid purchases from their partner due to a fear of judgment.

People often hide purchases for a good reason, like when it’s a holiday or birthday gift. But, when secret spending and lying about money happens between partners, it’s a type of cheating called financial infidelity.

To help drivers understand what motivates their customers’ need for private deliveries, we surveyed over 1,000 Americans in committed relationships.

Here are the most interesting connections we found between secret spending, relationships, and deliveries.

Financial infidelity: Who are the secret spenders?

It’s likely that most of us have been guilty of financial infidelity at some point.

Our study revealed that almost 8 out of 10 Americans have hidden a purchase from a partner–and parents (82.9%) were worse offenders than couples without kids (68.9%).

We also noticed that those who reported secret spending were less happy in their relationships than those who were honest about their money habits.

Financial infidelity: spending hiding habits

Lying about money matters can lead to distrust, debt, fights, and, often, relationship trouble as a consequence.

We found that 4 in 5 people who were unhappy in their relationship had hidden purchases from their partner, compared to just 2 in 5 of those who were happy.

As mentioned previously, parents were more likely than those without children to hide purchases from their partners. Perhaps affection drives parents to buy items that their children want or need, even when they cannot afford them.

Secret spending also led to breakups: An astonishing 90% of those who had broken up with someone in the past two years admitted to hiding purchases from their former partner.

If the effects of secret spending are so negative, why do so many Americans commit financial infidelity? Let’s talk about that next.

Key Takeaway: Hiding financial purchases can harm your relationship; almost all couples that broke up in the past two years had hidden purchases from their partners.

Financial infidelity: Why do people want private deliveries?

Lying to a partner isn’t healthy and could lead to some pretty bad consequences. So there have to be compelling reasons for risking it.

Here are some of the motivations your customers may have for keeping what they ordered under wraps.

hiding purchases from partner

The good news is that the most common reason for not telling partners about a purchase was because respondents felt the cost was insignificant.

People also chose to keep purchases to themselves if they thought they might hurt feelings or damage their relationship in some way.

We also discovered that men were more likely than women to think that their spending was simply none of their partner’s business.

Some people just wanted to dodge any negative reactions their partner might have.

Around 30% of Americans worried about discovering an item or its price kept deliveries private because they feared judgment, disapproval, or embarrassment.

Clothes, beauty products, and food were the top three most hidden purchases. However, porn and adult toys were the most likely concealed out of embarrassment.

Key Takeaway: Most people that hid purchases thought they were unimportant. But, embarrassment and fear of being judged were also strong reasons for hiding them.

Financial infidelity: How do people keep shopping secrets?

Hiding deliveries became more challenging when the pandemic triggered lockdowns across the U.S. 38% of secret spenders turned to special delivery requests to hide a purchase. Meanwhile, 25% admitted to intercepting their delivery driver.

hiding spending evidence

While both men and women admitted to secret spending in the past, we found a key difference between the sexes when it came to delivery choices.

Women were more likely to intercept a delivery driver when trying to hide a purchase. At the same time, men were more likely to give a driver special delivery instructions.

Twenty-two percent of people chose to divert deliveries to a drop-off point other than their home or workplace.

Experts believe this delivery trend will likely grow this year as more people turn to pickup and drop-off points (PUDOs) and out-of-home points (OOHs).

These lockers are private, safe, and convenient for customers. They’re also super useful and time-saving for drivers, who can pick up and drop off many deliveries at once. It’s a win-win situation.

Key Takeaway: Adding special requests for delivery drivers is a good way to keep your partner from knowing about a secret purchase.

Circuit Route Planner: Improving deliveries for everyone

Americans love online shopping, with more people than ever needing delivery. As e-commerce grows, skilled and knowledgeable drivers are likely to be in high demand.

But, delivery driving is hard work. Stop wasting time backtracking, planning your route, and sitting in traffic—get Circuit Route Planner today and make delivery easy with optimized routes for multiple stops.


This study uses data from a survey of 1,008 people in a relationship in the United States. Respondents were aged between 19 and 72 years old with an average age of 33. 52.3% of respondents identified as men, while 47.7% identified as women.

Fair Use Statement

We’re hope you found our research so interesting that you’d love to tell others about it. Feel free to share any of the information above; however, we ask that you please do so for noncommercial purposes and to link back to this page to give credit to our work.

About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.