Relationships are important. And with numerous threats to our mental health, consistent socializing might be a weekly staple now. We all dine out in a nice restaurant. Order what we want with our specific budget and chat our worries away. A refreshing night to feed not only our stomach but also our damned lonely souls.
But comes the check, that one friend suggests, “can we just split the bill equally?” Your whimsical expression suddenly dropped down to a mix between confusion and a tiny bit of anger. I mean you purposely ordered just a salad. Why do you have to subsidize their 1 1/2 inch steaks?!
Is this oppression of the poor? Do you pay equally or be branded as cheapskate for everyone to remember? Luckily, we are here for you. These are 5 ways you can split the bill without looking like a cheapskate.
Tell them in Advance
I’m assuming these are your real friends. You might be dining with these super rich mates but you don’t have to keep up with what they can afford right now. It’s best to tell them in advance like “I’m sorry guys! But I can only pay for what I eat because I’m budgeted.” (Especially with all the lobsters and filet mignons on their plates).
If they are not horrible people, I think you won’t get judged. I’m sure they will understand.
Ask for Separate Checks, Preferably in the Beginning as Well
The main reason why people propose to pay the bill equally is that everything is combined in one receipt. If you’re with my friends (we are accounting and finance majors), almost all can compute everyone’s bill to the last centavo. You can even consult your taxes afterward!
But not everyone has borderline geeky friends (peace!). To avoid this, why not just ask the waiter for separate checks at the beginning? This will stop that one friend to suggest this horrible proposal on your perspective.
And most restaurants (at least in the Philippines) wouldn’t mind anyway. Everyone gets his/her own bill. Everyone happy!
Split the Tax and Service Charge Equally
If the restaurant doesn’t want to give you separate checks (or you forgot to ask) and you have that one savior who will compute your individual figures, you can ease his/her burden by just splitting the tax and service charge equally.
Not everyone is a math whiz. And even if they are, what’s a few additional dollars to save him/her from a headache. I mean, if you need a spreadsheet and a calculator to multiply the amount you owe pro-rata to the extra charges billed for thirty people, I think it’s worth it.
After all, it’s supposed to be a fun gathering with friends, not an accounting test.
Bring Cash and Some Change if Possible
Budgeting might force you to leave your credit cards behind. The impulse to spend like you have bottomless pits of cash is gone. And you won’t have to stop in normal days. You can also bring your “cash only” policy in dinner gatherings as well.
With this, it would be easier to say that you can only pay for your meal because, well, you do just have enough money to pay for your meal. Also, bring some lower denominations to easily give out exact amounts.
When to Split the Bill Equally? If you Ordered Similar Priced Dishes
If you’re not really that budgeted for today but you just don’t want the feeling of being shortchanged.
I mean it might be petty but ultimately paying $30 for your soup and salad because of their over-the-top mutton entrées and wine! No. Just no. If you’re the competitive type, check out what they have ordered and order similarly priced items ones as well just in case you split the bill equally.
Even if you pay a few dollars higher, you will feel better. You just paid for what you deserved.
So, let this not be a hindrance to meeting your loving friends. Dinners need not be oppression of the poor. Go on and dine with them. Just remember these tips and you will be fine. Have fun!