Money can put you in an awkward situation with friends and people in the workplace. However, it is necessary to find a way to balance your spending with people in your life. Here are some sticky money situations and tips for a graceful resolution.
Splitting the Bill
You’re at lunch or dinner with friends and they want to split the bill. If you’re a repeat diner with this group, maybe the money will all even out over time. But, if you repeatedly order a salad and they select an appetizer, a drink and dessert, you may want to pay for just your order. This is perfectly acceptable, however, it can seem rude and inconvenient to insist everyone calculate their portion of the bill. Skip the discomfort by mentioning to your friends that you’re watching your budget and request a separate bill directly from the server when you order.
The Group Gift
Your friends are chipping in for a group gift and want you to contribute. It is important to speak plainly and decisively. If you’d like to participate, share your budget. “I’m in for $20, but I can’t spend more than that.” Or, if you’d rather not contribute, let them know. “I’m going to do something on my own” or “I’m not going participate.” Set the expectation for participation right away, so there’s no misunderstanding and people aren’t misled.
The Charitable Donation
It seems like every charity and school has a walk, run or cookie sale these days to raise money for their cause. If you feel like you receive too many requests to accommodate them all, here are a few graceful ways to bow out of donating, “I’m going to pass, I plan to donate to my long-standing charity,” “That’s just not in the budget for me right now” or, “I just spent my cookie budget this weekend outside the grocery store.”
Keep this in mind when it’s your turn to fundraise. Don’t expect friends and family to participate and offer them a graceful way to bow out if they are budgeting their money more carefully. Or, consider putting the school fundraiser catalogue in the break room at work instead of walking it around to co-workers.
Pay You Back
When a friend is short on cash or forgot their wallet, you’re happy to help. But, what happens when your friend forgets their promise to pay you back? Give them a gentle reminder and include a firm deadline. “Could you pay me that $20 you borrowed by next Friday the 20th?”
The No Gift Rule
A friend schedules a party and asks you not to bring a gift, but when you get there everyone has brought gifts. Don’t feel bad! You followed their wishes and they’ll appreciate that. You could also opt for a homemade gift, a bottle of wine for the host, or homemade brownies.
Money can be a sore spot in some friendships. The best way to avoid sticky money situations is to be honest and straightforward. Speak plainly about what fits your budget or wishes and stick to it. Good luck!