How to Handle Awkward Money Moments

We’ve all been there – our card was declined, we went cheap on a group dinner only wind up splitting the bill evenly, or we loaned money to a co-worker who never paid us back. Regardless of the sticky money situations, we find ourselves in, there’s always a good way to handle it. The CGS Team is sharing a few common awkward money moments and how to handle them accordingly.

Your Card Was Just Declined

There’s nothing worse than having your card declined in public. Whether you are at a restaurant, in your favorite store, or at the salon, blame it on the magnetic strip (“I’ve been meaning to replace this card”). Pay with another card and move on. If you don’t have another card with you, call the credit card company to see the reason for decline. If they mention you are over your limit, opt-in for over-the-limit fees (take caution here, they can be pricey) and take care of the charge.

Your Co-worker Owes You Money

You lent money to your co-worker to buy lunch last week, pay day came on Friday, and it’s now the following Wednesday with no sign of your money being returned. If your co-worker keeps forgetting to pay you back, send a quick and friendly email (“Hey, just following up on lunch from last week”). If she still doesn’t remember, send a quick Venmo or PayPal invoice.

Group Dinner Was Split Evenly (But You Didn’t Drink)

Bring cash! It’s much easier to chip in exactly what you owe with cash. You can also request your check separately (ahead of time) from the waiter. If it’s too late for separate checks, inform the person who suggested an even split that you only grabbed a small salad, and only brought enough cash for that salad and a tip. Offer to give them the money ad exclude it from the even split.

You Offered to Drive and Need Gas Money

If you were on the road for 30 minutes or less, it’s probably best to eat the cost and not make a fuss. Ask your friend to drive for the next trip. But if you’re the only one with a car or the one who’s constantly offering to drive, bring it up. Something like: “Gas is no joke these days, can you chip in for the next tank?” should do the trick.

Unwillingly Pitching In For Group Gifts at Work

Every month it seems like someone is celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, or simply a potluck and money is required to participate. If the request comes via email, simply ignore it. If your co-workers ask you about it, mention cash is tight after the last few events. You can offer to wrap the gift, orchestrate the handling of the cash, or contribute in another way.

Related: How to Stop Worrying About Money


Awkward money situations may never stop completely, but at least you will know how to handle them when they do come up! What awkward money situations have you been in and how did you get yourself out of them? Post a comment below to share!

-The CGS Team



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