4 tips to deal with those awkward money moments

THERE'S not a person alive who has been put on the spot by a mate over money.

Whether it's hitting you up for a loan, splitting the bill at a restaurant, inviting you to do something you know you can't afford, or dobbing you into a group buy that leaves you cold, friends and money can be tricky.

Luckily for us mere mortals Members Equity Bank has done a study on this and found some tips to give you a chance to lead these sorts of conversations in another direction.

ME's head of deposits and transactional banking Nic Emery has these tips:

1. Splitting the bill

You've dined out with a big group and it's been a brilliant evening. The crunch comes when the bill arrives. Do you split the tab evenly or request to pay separately - something that sees most restauranteurs roll their eyes skyward. And how much should each of you chip in for a tip?

"There are a few solutions here," says Emery.

"First up, broach the subject of paying early before everyone orders. Few things are more frustrating than subsidising another person's no-hold-bar meal by paying far more than the value of your own. So decide if the tab will be split evenly or you pay for your own. There's a whole range of apps that make bill splitting a breeze."

2. A mate asks for a loan

"Mates and money can be an oil and water combination and it pays to tread carefully. If a friend hits you for a loan, explain you wish you could help but you're short of cash yourself, and offer other suggestions to raise cash like holding a garage sale. If you're happy to help out - and confident you'll get your money back, establish a clear date for repayment."

3. Pressure to match a well-heeled friend

"We've all got that one well-heeled friend for whom money seems to be no object. Whether it's an invite to the latest swanky restaurant or an over the top overseas trip, you know that saying 'yes' will break the bank.

"Honesty is the best policy. Come clean and explain you're on a tight budget or saving for another goal. Be creative and drum up other ways to have fun together that won't blow the budget. A weekend away at a Costa-Notta-Lotta beach shack can be just as much fun as a lavish trip to the Costa del Sol."

4. Pressure to give towards a group gift

"We've all been asked to chip in for a group gift that leaves us icy cold with enthusiasm - like a farewell gift for a co-worker you barely know. Simple solution. Explain you've already budgeted to buy a gift yourself - then head out and buy something more in line with your tastes and budget.

"Talking opening about money means not having to be pressured into spending more than you can afford or dealing with guilt from breaking your budget. Who knows, it could inspire others to take a closer look at their own money behaviour."

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