You probably don’t want to make a habit of hiding stuff from a partner or spouse, but a little secrecy is in order when you’re trying to surprise them with a gift. When you share financial accounts, it’s easy to ruin the surprise. However, there are a few tricks to get around this problem.
Delete Your Shopping History
Another alternative is to simply delete your browsing history on sites such as Amazon. This way, at least your partner won’t see that you’ve been shopping for that new juicer he’s been eyeing. To do this, navigate to the “Browsing History” link under the search bar from the Amazon homepage. You’ll see a list of all the crap you’ve looked at, and you can simply hit “Delete” on the stuff you don’t want Amazon to remember.
Take it a step further and navigate to the “Improve Your Recommendations” list and tell Amazon to ignore certain items you’ve already purchased.
Turn off Push Notifications
You don’t want your partner to see their gift pop up on your phone while it’s sitting on the table either. Over at MarketWatch, consumer expert Andrea Woroch suggests turning off your push notifications:
Sometimes, for example, you’ll get an email confirmation when a purchase ships and it will show up as a push notification on your smartphone. If the phone is out in the open, that message might pop up and the family could see it.
If you use Google Assistant, you might want to tweak your settings to exclude certain notifications, too. Navigate to Settings > Personal and uncheck email so that your phone won’t show updates on shipments for online purchases.
Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana and Google has Google Assistant. One of those names is not like the other but the functionality of Google Assistant is still up there with the other personal assistant apps. Here are a few things you can do with it.Read more
Keep Targeted Ads From Ruining Your Surprise
Facebook and other social platforms can also kill your surprise (case in point: this spoiled engagement) by showing you ads related to things you’ve looked at online. Here’s what one security expert suggested over at Money:
…install a tool such as Adblock Plus (which blocks some or all ads according to filters checked by the user), Privacy Badger (which automatically blocks trackers or ads that it deems to violate “the principle of user consent”), or some combination of several blockers.
We’ve suggested Adblock Plus as well, and here are a few other recommendations. You can also shop online in private browsing mode so that your browser doesn’t save your history.
Use Gift Cards or Cash
If you and your partner share a credit card or are just privy to each other’s purchases, cash is a no-brainer option, at least for in-store spending. Just head to an ATM and take what you need to cover the purchase. But if, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use an ATM (fees, maybe?), buy a gift card from the supermarket instead. You can either buy a gift card to the store itself or just buy a prepaid gift card (again, these might come with fees, though).
Don’t forget: many online and even some in-store retailers accept PayPal or Apple Pay as a form of payment. Depending on the store, you can also just pay with these accounts, and “PayPal” will show up on your credit card statement or on your budgeting app.