6 uncomfortable money situations

Oct 27, 2017 | Dollars & Sense

We’ve compiled a list of everyday uncomfortable money situations you might’ve found yourself in that could have made for an awkward silence or two. Mom always said no religion, politics or money at the dinner table but sometimes nosy Nellie might forget. Here’s a list of not-so-fun money-related scenarios and how you can deal with them.

1. My friends, family, and acquaintances are all running 5Ks and want a contribution — can I say no?

You’re your own person and are budgeting for everything, including charitable giving. You can say you’ve already made your charitable donations for the year, but that you’d like to support them in other ways. If you can squeeze together even a smaller amount of money (maybe skip your morning latte and pastry in honor of their effort), you can do that as well. Are you the one asking? Don’t corner or pressure people. Send out an email or put your info requesting donations on the community board where you work.

2. I’m at dinner and my friend offered to pay,  but I noticed they didn’t tip even the minimum. Do I say something or add more money when they aren’t looking?

If they offered to pay, there should be no issue with you taking care of the entire tip. Adding more as a friendly gesture should not be taken negatively and even appreciated. It’s all about spinning it the right way. Of course, saying outright, “you didn’t tip enough,” and adding to the tip will definitely not be taken well.

3. Is it ever okay to ask a coworker what they make?

Nein. Non. No.

It’s never okay to ask anyone what they make; this is information that should only be volunteered. If someone asks you, try to use humor to bypass the questions, such as “Ha, not enough to buy that mansion in Beverly Hills.” If they continue to push, you are well within your right to say you are uncomfortable discussing personal finances with colleagues. In reality, it’s no one’s business but your own what you make and how you manage your finances.

4. If someone buys me an expensive gift, say for my birthday, do I have to reciprocate in kind?

Not at all. Your friend made the choice to buy you that specific gift. It’s also your choice to accept it or not. It might be difficult to say no, but you’ll need to know yourself and when to say “no, thank you.” You’re allowed and encouraged to spend what you have budgeted, whether that means homemade brownies or a gold friendship bracelet from Pandora.

5. A friend of mine broke my brand-new cell phone and offered to replace it. Some weeks have passed and nothing has been done. Can I say something?

You’re allowed to contact your friend, but it’s best practice to do it sooner rather than later. After you’ve contacted the friend two or three times and heard nothing, it’s best to move on because at that point you’ve done all you can. If you happen to be the culprit in the situation, never offer to replace something you can’t afford. You can, however, apologize and offer to pitch in what you can.

6. A friend always offers to pay, and when I offer they reject my offer every time. Should I continue to allow them to pay?

Even if your friend is Bill Gates, it’s always good to reciprocate. Not only to be polite but to show your gratitude. If your friend is someone who would get offended, ask the server in advance to charge your card for the meal and explain to your friend it’s only fair and that you’d like to show your appreciation by taking this one.

Hopefully, this will help you deal with some of these everyday situations. Don’t forget to tip your server!

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