How to split the bill: the frugal girl’s guide to dividing the tab

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My inner cheapskate tends to surface when a lovely dining experience concludes with a bit of hard math. I hate when the bill shows up, and hasn’t been divided. Because I know, without a doubt, that I will be the one to take the lead on how to pay the check and ensure the server receives a fair tip. Am I alone here?

If you get stressed you’ll be outed as a tightwad or end up covering more than your fair share when dealing with the check, read on for tips on how to divide the tab fairly, in any scenario.

Outings with your significant other

I assume your boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse is your most frequent dining companion. So agree to alternate buying dinner and the cost will even out over time. You could pay the entire check on Wednesday night, and he/she can cover it sometime over the weekend. That way, each party gets to treat their loved one, without feeling burdened by every date night. If your partner makes significantly more money than you, or insists on bankrolling your outings, let him/her pay, but even the playing field by offering to cover the tip.

Gatherings with groups of friends

If you’re dining out with three or more people, split the check. At the outset of the meal, i.e. before ordering cocktails or food, notify your server you’d like separate checks. If the restaurant is unable or unwilling to accommodate your request, simply split the final tab evenly among the group. While you might ultimately pay for part of a second round of drinks that you didn’t partake in, the effort to add up each person’s total isn’t worth the few dollars you save.

Get-togethers with your parents

If your parents invite you out, let them pay. If you’re the one to extend the invitation, you should pay. But know this guideline isn’t one-size-fits-all – feel out the situation. If the tab lands on the table and remains untouched for several minutes, pick it up, pay your portion, and let it go. After all, you’re a grownup now.

First dates

Despite my staunch position on gender equality, I’m a supporter of the man paying the check on a first date. Ladies, when the tab arrives, offer to pay your half. If he refuses your offer, thank him sincerely for dinner. If he accepts, follow through, split the check evenly, and don’t complain about it.

Dinner with your best friend

Split the check evenly, including the tip.

How do you deal with splitting the tab while saving face? Tweet me or tell me in the comments!

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