Money + Friends: 6 Things To Consider Before Your Next Night Out
After several recent trips + nights out with friends, Kelda + I realized how differently people view money + what is appropriate or polite in social settings. We decided to put a poll up on our Instagram (@hellohenrys) + ask all of you for your verdict on some of the more controversial money habits between friends! We found that most of you were just as divided as our friend groups were! At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong, but we took away 2 key messages:
Communication is so important. Money can be a touchy subject + lead to a lot of tension if not addressed properly. Be up front with the things that are important to you. If something upsets you, tell your friends! Chances are, they have NO idea.
We all should commit to less judgement + assumptions about our friend’s financial situations. You might know a friend’s income, but you don’t know everything about her financial obligations. In the same way, you shouldn’t expect your friends to spend their money on the same things that you do. We all care about different things + should be allowed to spend our money on what we want - judgement free.
Below are the responses to some of the more common debates about money between friends + our verdict on each!
do you split the bill or pay for what you had?
64% of readers voted to split the bill. Our verdict?
Kelda: I think it depends on the situation! If it’s with someone that I frequently eat out with or get drinks with, I’m fine splitting the bill because I figure it will all even out eventually! If it’s more of a one off, or if someone ordered something significantly more expensive than me, then I’m all for paying for what I have.
Lauren: I agree! If everyone in the group had proportionally the same amount - i.e. an entree + 2 drinks - I will always split the bill, even if the cost of each meal isn’t the exact same. On the other hand, if someone in the group had just a side salad + no drinks, I would offer to pick up the tab + Venmo everyone for what he/she had!
is there a deadline to complete a venmo?
70% of readers believe there is a deadline to pay someone back on venmo
Kelda: Again, I think this depends on the situation! As a general rule of thumb, I think 24 hours is the longest you can leave a venmo before paying someone back. However, if you agree beforehand you can wait longer. For example, I paid for a friend + I’s flights and she asked if she could wait to venmo me in a few weeks. I think communication is key!
Lauren: In my opinion, not paying someone back in a timely manner is inconsiderate. If you don’t have the money to complete a charge, it’s not fair to assume that your friend has the money to cover you. I think 48 hours is fair, but if you know it will take you longer to pay back, you should always let a friend know + make sure it’s okay! Like Kelda, I have no problem waiting a few weeks, but it’s nice to have a heads up + be asked first.
have you ever felt awkward planning an event or trip when one friend makes more/less?
52% of readers have felt awkward in situations when other friends make more or less
Kelda: Personally, I haven’t. However, I think that’s in large part due to the fact that when I have travelled or planned events with friends, we’ve all been fairly upfront with how much we were comfortable spending. This helped so that none of us ever felt awkward having to pay for something we didn’t want to, or be the odd one out if we couldn’t afford something. I think having this conversation at the beginning, while it may be awkward, makes everything less stressful so everyone can have fun + not be worried about money.
Lauren: I agree with Kelda! I have definitely felt awkward in social situations, but don’t think this is necessarily about people’s varying incomes, but rather making assumptions about people’s priorities. While I might have the money to participate in a pub crawl or spa day, it doesn’t mean that I want to. We all have limited money to spend on fun + nobody can do it all. It comes down to choosing what you value most + I don’t think anyone should assume or have expectations about how others do/don’t spend their money.
other pet peeves + questions submitted by YOU
when friends who knowingly make more than you complain about their credit card debt
Like we mentioned above, we don’t think anyone should ever assume anything about another’s financial situation. While you may know a friend makes more, you have no idea about his/her other obligations. They may have a car payment, high student loan payments or health insurance premiums while you might have none of these obligations. A person’s income doesn’t tell you everything about their financial picture. Try to remember this + keep it in perspective if it ever upsets you! While we know it could get frustrating, maybe focus on a positive emotion - like your pride in being debt-free - rather than worrying about your friends. At the end of the day, other people’s money isn’t really any of our business + it’s hard to know the full picture of someone’s life.
friends not paying their fair share of a bill or not picking up the tab if you paid last time
We shared our thoughts on how to split a bill, but if your friend group feels differently, it’s your responsibility to share how you feel or take control of the situation. If you always end up overpaying when your friends split the bill, you should address it up front at your next meal. When you sit down, ask the waitress if everyone can be on separate tabs. If it’s not possible, take charge, put down one card + Venmo everyone later.
As far as friends not picking up future tabs, we have both been guilty of enthusiastically buying rounds of drinks while out with friends. The next day, we may have a bit of buyer’s remorse, along with a slight hangover, but we would never expect our friends to pay us back or cover a future round. Unless something is explicitly stated, like “I’ll get this round if you get the next” or “You get the drinks + I’ll cover the meal,” if you’re treating your friends to something, it should be truly a gift with no expectation that they “owe” you anything the next time.
when people say they have no money to hang out, but then go shopping
Again, this goes back to making assumptions about people’s finances. We should all be allowed to spend our money how we please + on what we value without judgement from friends. If by “hang out” you mean get drinks or go to a concert, maybe your friend just doesn’t value spending money on going out or going to a show! And that’s okay! He/she should definitely take the lead + suggest an alternative activity, but, if this continues to happen, it’s important to communicate with your friend. Tell her how it makes you feel + ask what activities she might prefer to spend money on. At the end of the day, spending time with your friends should be more important than the actual activity. Suggest a walk through a local park or cooking a meal together at home + let your friend spend her money on what she values most.
Of course, everything in this post is just our personal opinion! Finance is never really black + white. Our intention with this post was simply to shed light on a few of the most common debates about money with friends! If we’re the crazy ones, we want to know, so please don’t hesitate to comment below or shoot us an email!
We encourage you to share this post with your friend group + get their opinions! It will make for an interesting conversation and, hopefully, prevent any future awkwardness when the bill comes!