*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I witnessed firsthand; used with permission.
I was visiting my grandparents one day when a family friend came to visit. This friend was in need of cash, and my grandfather decided to give him a small sum to carry him through until payday.
My grandfather produced a key that my grandmother never even knew existed and went into the garage.
My grandmother told me to be quiet and we followed him into the garage. We watched in disbelief as he unlocked the motor compartment at the back of an old cement mixer that was frozen and useless with dried cement.
He reached into the cement mixer motor and pulled out a basket of cash.
My grandmother was flabbergasted. She'd had no idea he was hiding money inside the old cement mixer.
We turned to sneak out of the garage, but my grandfather caught us. He smiled sheepishly, but he didn't say a word. He knew he would hear about it later.
After removing some money from the basket, he returned it to the motor compartment of the old cement mixer and replaced the lock, snapping it into place with a flourish. He made the key disappear; my grandmother never saw it again.
"No wonder he always insisted on keeping it even though he hadn't used it in fifty years," she said. "Hiding money from your spouse is very rude and unthoughtful, especially when your wife doesn't even ask you for anything," my grandmother told me.
My grandmother was furious.
"I never ask your grandfather for anything, not even for money to pay bills. So hiding money from me was like showing me he didn't trust me at all."
Despite my grandmother's indignance, I knew she kept a stash of money hidden from my grandfather, too. The only difference was that he never found out about it.
"He doesn't know I do it, too," she said. So it doesn't count.
My grandparents weren't the only ones who used secret stashes for money. While I was growing up, I heard stories of people hiding their money in all sorts of strange places, from inside books to under mattresses or even buried in their backyards.
It seems like an old custom that is still alive today, as people struggle to protect their savings from inflation, theft, or even the prying eyes of a nosy spouse.
And while I don't condone it, I understand why people feel the need for secrecy and why they go to such lengths to protect their money.
Money can be a tricky subject, especially between couples, but there are ways to make sure both parties understand each other's needs and feelings. Communication is key when it comes to money, so make sure to talk things through and always be honest. After all, a happy marriage is built on trust.
Or is it?
What do you think? Is it okay for married couples to hide a secret cash stash from each other? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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