Yay or nay to coupons on first dates and pinching money from your partner’s wallet

Canstar’s Love and Money Report explores Australians’ money standards and what’s make or break for a relationship

11 February 2021, Sydney – Living up to a partner’s money standards might be the ultimate test when it comes to love, according to new findings from Canstar’s 2021 Love and Money Report.

The online survey conducted by Australia’s biggest financial comparison site* uncovers the acceptable standards for financial habits, money secrets, as well as sharing pin numbers and pay cheques from the opinions of 1,049 Australian adults.

Canstar’s Editor-at-Large and money expert, Effie Zahos said, “Setting your money standards means drawing a line in the sand on what you will and won’t accept when it comes to money habits. This can be everything from who picks up the bill at a restaurant, to how much of your personal financial information you choose to share with your partner.”

“A partner’s poor money habits can be make or break for many relationships. It’s best to know what page you’re on before you fall head over heels in love and to revisit your money standards if something arises that doesn’t stack up.”

Dollars and dating

Thrifty daters who are watching every dollar spent may not realise their partner doesn’t share the same money standards.

Cost-conscious dating is on the radar for more than two-fifths (42%) of Australians open to using coupons, discount codes and vouchers on a first date. However, it seems not everyone is on board with 35% against the idea of coupons on a first date and 23% sitting on the fence about the notion.

While some people may be thrifty when it comes to dating, it seems many don’t hold good money management skills in high regard with this sitting last on the list for the top 10 qualities Australians value in a partner.

“I put this down to all the adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin that floods our loved-up brain. Love can cloud some of the important issues,” commented Zahos.

“While money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness, it is one of the top causes of breakups. Bills, budgets and debts are hardly the stuff of romance but couples that talk money together have a far healthier financial relationship.”

Partner pitfalls

Poor money management, penny-pinching or secret money stashes can unravel relationships, with 31% of Australian singles saying money was part or all of the cause of their recent breakup.

At the same time, close to one in ten (9%) Australians in a couple say they resent their partner for not contributing more to their joint finances. This jumps to 14% for both Gen Z and Millennials in a relationship.

“Everyone has their limit, an acceptable standard for behaviours and values. If a partner slips below the threshold, their significant other may be unwilling to tolerate it,” added Zahos.

“A relationship is a partnership and you need to identify early-on your financial expectations for each other when it comes to spending, saving, investing, borrowing money and debts. There’s nothing wrong with having a money secret as long it doesn’t impact on your joint financial goals.”

Money secrets admitted by Australians:

  • 17% put money in the too hard basket and let their partner deal with their finances
  • 15% have taken money out of their partner’s wallet or coin jar
  • 10% have purchased something using buy now, pay later services like Afterpay or Zip Pay without telling their partner
  • 9% have told their partner they purchased something on sale when they paid full price
  • 8% have debt that their partner doesn’t know about
  • 5% have a secret credit card that their partner doesn’t know about. This rises to 18% of Gen Z and 9% of Millennials

Sharing is caring

Making the decision to share money in a relationship can be a milestone moment for a couple. But one partner’s money standards might not match the others when it comes to all aspects of sharing personal financial information.

The research shows 43% of Australians in a relationship say they share their banking passwords and pin number with each other with both having access. A further 27% are the exact opposite saying they don’t share access with each other while 25% admit to only one partner knowing the other partner’s passwords or pin numbers.

“Sticking to your standards is important when it comes to protecting your money. Sharing your banking passwords and pin numbers might seem like the right thing to do but it opens you up to risks. By all means, help your loved one but don’t carry all the risk with no reward,” said Zahos.

“A good reminder to change your passwords regularly is finding out that 39% of Australians with an ex-partner say that either one or both of them know their ex-partner’s banking passwords and pin numbers.”

For love or money

Being protective over money may be the reason why 15% of Australians in a relationship are in the dark about how much money their partner earns.

While 85% are in the know about their partner’s income, the majority of Australians are not phased by how much their partner earns with 57% of singles and 63% of those currently in a relationship saying it doesn’t matter how much money their future or current partner earns. A further 3% of those in a couple and 19% of singles remain undecided if a partner’s income matters or not.

However, the amount of money their partner earns does matter to 34% of Australians in a couple, compared to 24% of singles. Almost half of the people in relationships who said how much their partner earns matters said it matters to their family (46%) rather than just themselves (54%).

“A way to open up with a partner about your income, savings strategy and any debts you carry is to lighten the mood with a fiscal date night. Use this time to dream big together on what you both want to achieve and how you’re going to get there. This will provide an opportunity to discuss money standards, plus any roadblocks or fears over how you’re going to conquer the goal together,” added Zahos.

Resolving money matters comes down to communicating, with 12% of Australians in a relationship saying that talking to their partner about money makes them feel worse about their financial situation, 11% are unsure and 15% say they don’t talk about money or their finances with their partner.

But this is a small portion of people in comparison to the 62% of Australians in a couple who say talking about money with their partner makes them feel better about their finances.

“Talking about money standards, sharing your aspirations and being honest about your financial status is important in a relationship to ensure both partners on the same page and working towards the same financial goals,” said Zahos.

For further information:

Belinda Williamson

Group Manager, Corporate Affairs
Ph: 0418 641 637

Brooke Davie

Senior Corporate Affairs Specialist
Ph: 0418 750 602

Notes to Editors
* Please refer to: www.canstar.com.au/biggest-original


About Canstar
Canstar (Canstar.com.au) is a leading research agency and Australia’s biggest financial comparison site*, comparing more brands than any other. Founded in 1992, Canstar aims to simplify the world of finance by comparing over 770 brands across more than 30 finance categories including banking, insurance and superannuation. Our team of expert researchers analyse thousands of finance products to develop our Star Ratings and Awards, aimed at helping consumers find products offering outstanding value, not just the lowest price. We’ve also recently launched Customer Satisfaction Awards to add a consumer perspective to the comparison equation. In 2010, we expanded our services and launched Canstar Blue (Canstarblue.com.au) to provide customer satisfaction research and ratings for over 900 brands across more than 250 consumer products and services. Today this also includes price comparisons for energy, phone and internet providers. Canstar is not owned by a financial institution, holds Australian Financial Services and Credit licenses, and takes its compliance obligations very seriously. 


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