Picture this: you’re at a restaurant with your friends and, at the end of the evening, you decide to split the bill. The waiter stands there, smiling nervously, as Jane rifles insistently through her bag, Tom combs through his wallet, fishing out coins to get the exact amount, and you wait for them with your card, ready to pay your own share – and Lisa’s, too, because she doesn’t have her card with her.
We’ve all been there… going to a nice restaurant with our friends and paying separately, but ending up regretting going out at all. This is a too-often encountered scenario and one we’re all kind of dreading. Be honest – unless you’re one of the bravest people on Earth, you feel awkward when you want to tell someone to split the bill. But: you can fix that.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
· How to tell someone you’d like to split the bill (without it being awkward)
· Why you should split the bill at all
· How to split the bill without headaches
Don’t wait around. Many of us often fall into the trap of waiting for the right moment to bring it up. Spoiler alert: there’s never a right time. So make it yourself and ask your companions early on how you’re going to split the bill.
Cater to your needs first. Maybe you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay for that expensive bottle of wine Lisa ordered. Make it known (as brashly or as politely as you’d like – just as long as you’ve made someone aware) from the start that you’re planning on keeping it small, so you’ll ask the waiter for a separate check, so you’ll be ordering for yourself. That might sound something like “I’m taking it easy tonight, so I’ll just cover myself if that’s okay,” or “do I look like a walking ATM to you?” Take your pick. No shame in putting your own finances ahead of your friends’ disappointment. Let them handle the messiness of splitting the bill.
Be straightforward about it. If you really want to wait until the last moment, when the bill comes, you can tell the waiter – or the whole table, if you’re close to them – that you’ll be covering your order. This way, you’re setting your boundaries and telling everyone, “Hey, this is what I got, and I’m not comfortable paying all or nothing for our meal.”
More on how to not be an ATM in this blog post.
While most of the time dividing expenses is annoying and potentially chaotic, it’s also a good way to ensure people don’t end up owing others. Sure, you have situations where your friend says, “Don’t worry, you get the next one,” or you tell your partner, “Yeah, I’ll get that for you, you’ll pay me back later.” But lending (and owing) people money has become a big problem nowadays.
It’s recently been shown that 59% of American adults have had negative experiences after lending others money – and a part of that is the result of splitting bills. We’ve been talking about a restaurant situation, but this can range anywhere from having a shared Netflix account to lending a friend money for a Botox intervention. So it’s safe to say that it’s better to avoid it.
So why split it? Well, splitting the bill clearly divides the financial responsibility of each person involved. I pay for my stuff, you pay for yours; that’s even easier nowadays, with the rise of mobile apps that help us do it. But that’s not always headache-free.
Those apps that we mentioned before, like Tikkie or Splitwise, while they offer an easier, digital alternative, they still don’t solve the problem of lending and owing people money. Take Tikkie – an app that allows users in the Netherlands to share payment requests with a link that connects straight to your bank. You and your friends order pizza one evening, and you pay for everyone’s pizzas, then send them Tikkies with the amount that each person needs to pay back. Foolproof, right? Well, here’s the catch. They don’t always pay you back. Not quickly enough, anyway. Some people still haven’t paid you back – and it’s been who knows how long.
These situations are neater, but still carry the risk of never seeing that pizza money again. So, what’s the alternative?
You can get all your friends and add them to groups in which you set an agreed split ratio. You don’t have to pre-load or transfer any money – just link your bank account to the app and add your new, virtual card to Apple or Google Pay. It does the splitting for you instantly, meaning no more awkward moments, ignored payment requests, or on-the-spot mental math to settle everything.
You can also track your expenses, set limits to how much you want to spend, and have an overall headache-free experience. No more unorganized Google Sheets or reminders for your friends to pay you back. Fear the bill no more and get in control with Cino.
By yours truly,