You’ve split the dinner bill with a friend and they haven’t paid you back. A less fortunate relative asks to borrow money and you’re having a tough time yourself. We’ve all suffered those awkward situations involving our finances. So how can you conquer instead of stumbling through those types of scenarios? Here are some ideas on how to handle them with finesse.
Be the first to chat it up about money
While our friends would usually much rather talk about religion and politics than about money, you can open the channels to chat it up about finances by mustering up the courage to broach the topic. Just like how it helps to be the first to jump into a pool and let your pals know that the water temperature is just fine, the same goes for shooting the breeze about money.
Being completely honest and comfortable about what’s going on with you moneywise will help others feel the same. For instance, if you’re open about how much of a major struggle it’s been for you to stay on top of your bills lately or how paying off your debt is an uphill battle, it could put your friends at ease to talk about their money woes, too. Chances are, they’ll find talking it out provides a sense of relief. There’s really no point in being confrontational or aggressive about it, either. Casual and nonchalant will do the trick. Find a time when it makes sense to talk about money.
And while it might not necessarily spur a deep heart-to-heart on money overnight, talking about money casually will help you ease tensions, open the door for coming up with solutions together, and put out the flames quicker when those awkward situations do arise.
If you’re going halfsies with a friend for a joint gift or splitting the bill on a hotel room for a trip, suss things out with those involved beforehand. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and agree to spend a tad more than you wanted.
To avoid a bout of regret or an unpleasant squabble down the line, figure out how much you want, communicate your limits, and stick to it. So instead of starting a conversation with, “Umm..I think that might work,” be specific and show that you’ve put some thought into what you can afford and are comfortable with. And remember to keep the door open for discussion!
If someone asks you to borrow money, be honest with your own financial situation. If it doesn’t jive with you for whatever reason, don’t do it. Oftentimes, limits start with knowing ourselves. Use these situations as an opportunity to really dig deep and figure out what’s important to you and where your boundaries lie. You’ll have an easier time saying no or knowing the cap on your spending for future scenarios.
Use a money sharing app
There are plenty of tools at your disposal to help you and your friends split the bill on gifts, meals out, and even joint goals. Peer-to-peer (P2P) or mobile payment apps enable you to send or request money directly with your friends, relatives, and colleagues and can serve as a sort of mediator. Instead of feeling like a pest, technology can provide a gentle nudge to get people to pay you back. If you’re a Simple customer, you can send funds in your account to fellow Simple customers in a flash with instant transfers.
Maybe you have a friend or family member who can’t pull their weight and oftentimes leans on you to help them out moneywise. Or maybe you seem to be the person who always seems to be paying more than your share. While it’s unfortunate, sometimes your friends may not have the wherewithal to pay you back right away.
While you can come from a place of non-judgment and understanding, that doesn’t mean that you have to rescue them, especially if you’re having a tough time staying on top of your bills. There’s no one else who can do the work to fund your goals and projects except you.
You can be a helper by suggesting less expensive alternatives to outings. Instead of a pricey concert, suggest checking out a free art gallery opening or a show at your favorite improv comedy club. Think of it as a creative mind meld and drum up ideas on clever, cheap ways to have fun.
Help them with advice
If your friend or family member is in a rut with money, help them change their attitude by showing them how they can turn their situation around. While there’s certainly a great deal of information out there, sometimes it just takes a bit of one-on-one discussion and encouragement to help your friend up on their feet.
Maybe you can point the way toward a great e-course or certification program, or offer pointers on how to start a side hustle. Send them links to articles that teach them how credit works. Get them pumped on trying out these new ventures! Instead of being a bailout, you can be their coach, their confidante. In time, they might not feel the need to lean on you as much, and your relationship will be far better off because of it.
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