HOW TO SPLIT THE BILL AFTER A DINNER WHERE YOU'VE STUCK TO CHEAP ITEMS

App creators have invented new easy ways to split bills fairly and avoid the awkward conversation that comes at the end of group dinners or trips with friends.

Meals at restaurants and joint holidays can be especially stressful for people who are careful with money as they are forced to pay the same as the big spenders in the group. 

Uncomfortable situations arise frequently when some members of the party opt for a starter, main and dessert and multiple drinks while others choose not to overdo it. 

Luckily for people who tend to stick to cheaper options, app creators have come up with convenient ways to avoid these awkward conversations as much as possible.

Apps like Splitwise and Tab have popped up to help split the bill and remove the tedious 10 minutes at the end of a nice meal which is frequently spent inspecting the receipt with calculators out. 

Data shows that more people are using the apps every month as the post-pandemic economy continues to boom with people eating out and traveling as much as possible after being cooped up for years. 

Recent inflation has everyone on edge, so it's tricky but important to make sure money is spoken about amongst friends, no matter how awkward, but that the conversations aren't dragged out. 

'The less talk you can have about money on any of these occasions, the better,' etiquette advisor Liz Wyse told the Wall Street Journal

In order to keep things fair, the easiest way to navigate a bill-splitting conversation is to open up an app and let the numbers do the work for themselves. 

It's helpful if friend groups decide in advance whether the bill is going to be split evenly - so everyone is aware going into the occasion what the expectation is. 

When the bill comes and it's being split equally - it's recommended that you put down a credit card, ideally one but no more than three, and then apps like Venmo, Zelle, PayPal or Cash App can be used to reimburse whoever picked up the tab. 

For rideshares like Uber and Lyft - there is an option to split the journey in the app which removes all potential back-and-forth discussion. 

Apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats allow group ordering, so everyone can split the fees and pay for whatever they ordered. 

Splitwise is a good app to use for joint vacations - to keep track of who paid for what and make sure everything is split evenly. Splitwise pro also offers hi-tech receipt scanning so that the app can divvy up what everyone got and split the tip, tax and other fees. 

Tab is a free app that is the most accurate for recognizing items and determining what amount each attendee owes - it also doesn't require the whole party to download the app and has special features that allow certain group members, like the birthday girl/boy, to be excluded from the split. 

Despite all of the innovative ways to decrease the possibility of an awkward conversation, there will always be dinner guests who are not self-aware of their spending habits or the fact that not everyone at the table has ordered evenly.

For example, vegans and vegetarians often get the short end of the stick at group dinners when meat-eaters order expensive steak dishes and fancy starters for 'splitting' and they get lumped with an equal portion of the bill.

People who choose not to drink for whatever reason sometimes are forced to pay more than their share in order to avoid an uncomfortable discussion when others order cocktails, wine or beer. 

A USA Today reader responded to a segment about the check-splitting dilemma with a particularly annoying scenario. 

The anonymous responder said she and a few other single friends had gone to dinner with a couple, and that the couple - particularly the husband - order a ton of food for the table to share as well as their own entrees.

'We enjoyed the meal and drinks and when the check came, the husband said to the server 'you can split the bill three ways' – and he counted he and his wife as 'one person' plus each of us single women. They ate the bulk of the food (and his own entree) and drank more than each of us single ladies.' 

The unlucky party member said she got slammed with a $258 portion of the check - but she didn't make a fuss and has been fuming ever since. 

'That just didn't seem fair at all. But I kept my mouth shut and paid my portion... and I've been stewing over it ever since,' she said. 'Should I have said something? Now, I kind of wish I had, but they are good friends and I didn't want to rock the boat.' 

Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette coach in Carlsbad, California, and founder of The Swann School of Protocol, told USA Today, 'People do not like to have this uncomfortable conversation.'

'But you have to,' she said. 'My recommendation is to embrace the awkward. Find out who's paying for what.'

Users on TikTok have poked fun and made lighthearted jokes about the awkward situation - which seems to be a universal experience. 

Nate Meeker acted out a situation where one person at the table meticulously accounts for what every person got - even splitting the communal fries for the table by the number each guest consumed. 

People in the comments were torn about the situation - many agreed that they should not have to pay for something that they didn't eat, 'I am not stingy but if I didn't eat something I shouldn't pay for it.'

'Actually this guy isn't the stingy one. The stingy one is the person who orders more than everyone else and expects the bill to split evenly,' another user wrote.  

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2024-05-16T17:41:48Z dg43tfdfdgfd