The show: King of Queens
The situation: Doug takes $100 from a joint savings account to bet on a boxing match. Carrie finds out and makes him put it back, but he sneaks the cash when she isn’t looking and places a bet. To his surprise, he wins $5,000.
The problem: Doug starts making plans to spend his winnings but realizes his mistake and tells his friend, "I can’t get anything with the money. Carrie will know I took it (from the emergency fund) and she’ll kill me."
The lesson: Although Carrie never finds out about the deception, not all couples are as fortunate: Researchers at Utah State University found that couples who disagree about marital finances once a week were 30% more likely to get divorced than couples who fought over finances less often.
"When you don’t make financial decisions together, it can lead to trouble," says Dorothy Barrick, a financial counselor for GreenPath Debt Solutions.
Keeping secrets from a significant other or lying about spending can also have disastrous consequences. To ensure that spats over spending don’t impact your relationship, Barrick suggests taking preventative measures.
"It’s a good idea to sit down together once a month to go over your finances and make joint decisions about spending," she says. "When you’re on the same page about spending and saving, it’ll be better for your relationship and your finances."