How To Handle Sharing Costs With Friends

We received some interesting data from Zelle this week that got us thinking about sharing expenses and lending friends money. 

According to the data, 86% of women said they had not being paid back after covering a shared expense like concert tickets or a meal out. Sixteen percent said that this happens all of the time.

That is a lot of us who haven’t been paid back. 

So what are the best ways to handle sharing expenses? And when a friend bails on loaning us money, what do we do? 

It’s important to start by communicating expectations up front. When you share a meal, make it clear to a friend how you plan to pay: will you split the bill in half, or calculate each of your portions, and split it from there? 

At She Spends, we’re all about calculating each portion of the bill, because it ensures that everyone at the table is able to budget within the menu prices. Being left with someone else’s fancy wine tab is never fair. 

When it comes to splitting costs and using an app or cash to pay a friend back, we recommend getting to it as quickly as possible. Forgetting to pay your bestie back for concert tickets can cause resentment to bubble below the surface. 

And if you’re forgetful, encourage your friend to remind you to pay them back. According to Zelle, 28% of women polled said they wait until someone sends them money, rather than requesting it themselves. Yikes.

Longer term cost sharing can be done a number of ways. Many She Spends readers swear by SplitWise, which is an app that lets you and a partner or roommate track expenses so you can get paid back at the end of each month.

When it comes to friends asking for loans, our advice is this: only give them money you expect to never see again. 

Your friend may have great intentions, but it is rare in these situations that people actually get paid back. To protect both your wallet and your friendship, only give what you can afford to never see again. 

And if you’re not comfortable with lending a friend money, there are ways you can help them when they’re hard up for cash. Invite them over for dinner to take the burden of paying for groceries off of them for a night. 

Be cognizant of invitations to events that may cost a lot of money. Better yet, invite them to free or cheap activities in your city. There is a myriad of ways to help a friend in need that don’t involve spending.