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Meet Me Halfway — Our Guide to Splitting Bills without Awkward Conversations

Tobi noticed that after a night of hanging with friends over drinks, most of them always found it difficult to split the bill. When he asked them why, some said they don’t feel the experience they shared was tied to money. So, Tobi would rather pay for everybody and avoid discussing the bill with his friends. If you’re like Tobi, you’re likely to go above your entertainment budget all the time!

There is a level of bonding and intimacy that comes from dining out with friends. When this happens, do you pay for your own meal, split the bill in a way that everyone contributes or just cover the bill just like Tobi would? Splitting a bill can create confusion among friends and make that intimacy go from a hundred to zero real quick, especially in a situation where one person is trying to avoid making any contribution. Most times, one person pays and asks for reimbursements later.

A survey in the United States indicated that out of 9,000 adults, 28% stated that they would rather wait until someone sends them money for their portion of a bill than requesting themselves and 86% reported that they do not get their money back after covering a shared expense like meals and concert tickets. Some people work with the mindset that when you’re covering an expense or loaning money to a friend, you should accept that you may never get it back — either because it’s a gift or just that the money doesn’t matter. But guess what? Money matters and if you’re looking for ways to ask someone to pay you back while avoiding awkward conversations or conflict, here are some ideas on how to do it.

Try One of These Phrases

“When do you think I can expect payment?” OR “Hey, I’m a little short right now. Do you think you could find a way to pay me your bit from our dinner?”

This works in a case when the person forgot they owe you, so it’s best to call or text politely to ask for that money to be paid back.

Ask Them to Cover your Next Meal Together

This is a more subtle and casual way — waiting till you get together again and taking turns while paying works if you frequently dine together. For instance, if you love going to the same restaurant with the same group of people, you can take turns in paying the entire bill. Makes the whole bill-paying process fast and easy.

Make It Easy for Them to Pay You Back

If you go out frequently with a group of friends, apps like Paga make it simple and painless to send and receive money. You can make it easy for your friend or family member to pay you by simply providing them with your justpaga.me/tobi link. It reminds them they owe you, taking the pressure off you and saving you from that awkward conversation.

Send Your Request Asap

The longer you delay asking someone to pay you back, the harder it’ll be. Don’t let too much time go by, because when it does, and you might feel more awkward asking. Never feel shy to ask, it is money that is owed to you because you helped with the intention of being paid back.

Let Your Request be Short and Sweet

Your friend might have forgotten they owe you money. At the end of a conversation or during, you could slide in “oh, when do you think I can get that money? You could just Paga it to me”. At that point, you should also reiterate how much they owe you, so they are not surprised when your money request pops up.

Making Life Possible is our ethos at Paga, and it is what keeps us committed to our mission of making it easy for 1 billion people to use and access their money. We are inspired by the stories of the community we are building and the people we are empowering by driving financial inclusion and providing simple financial access in the markets we serve.

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