GOOD READS

How To Handle Awkward Money Situations

Remember those times when you find yourself in one of the awkward financial moments where no outcome seems like the right one? It's happened to all of us at one time or another and often the way we navigate these situations is to take the financial hit ourselves, but is that really the best way? Here are some uncomfortable money situations that you may face, along with a few helpful tips on avoiding the awkwardness.

How Much Do You Make?
Or any "how much" question that seems just a little too personal. We've all faced that question in one form or another and the best way to get around the not-so-tactful question may be with a joke. Answering with a vague one-liner like, "A lot less than I wish it was" or "I found it for cheap at a thrift store" may be enough to send the message that you don't want to talk details.

Friend Did a Bad Job
Your friend is an interior designer who offered to do some work for you at a substantial discount. The problem is, in your opinion, the design is awful. Hiring friends and family is rarely a good idea for just this reason. If you paid full price, telling them to redo the work would be expected, but taking a discount makes the conversation tough.

The best way to avoid a difficult situation such as this is to set very clear expectations from the beginning. Do not only discuss the specifics of the job before they get started, but write them down as well. A formal contract may be awkward, but a list of bullet points laying out the specifics of the job will probably be appreciated by the friend who wants to do a great job for you.

SEE: Master The Art Of Negotiation

Evenly Split The Uneven Check
You don't drink and you didn't order an appetizer and desert but your friend did. At the end of the night, they ask if you want to split the check evenly, although your check would be far less. If it's a one-time meal with somebody, splitting the check evenly may be the best way to avoid an uncomfortable conversation.

For large tables, splitting the check evenly, regardless of your personal total, may be the best way to not look cheap and it will probably even out over time if you dine with these people again. If you're a 20-something college student trying to save as much as possible, nickel and diming the check is OK, since your college friends are probably doing it too.

"Donate to My Charity"
You know how the office goes. Everybody wants money for their child's fundraiser or community charity, and that can get expensive. Setting a yearly budget for these types of donations is well-advised, but how do you tell some people, no?

The unofficial pecking order may go like this: If they bought cookie dough or a holiday candle from you, it's time to return the favor. Next on the list might be close friends, bosses or others that could help you to climb the career ladder, then come your work acquaintances, and finally, if there's money left over, the person lacking social skills who left the form in the break room hoping people would sign up.

"Can I Borrow …"
"Don't lend to friends and family," is one of the basic mantras that we hear from financial experts. Relationships are often lost when payments aren't received, and if you know they aren't responsible with their money, there's a good chance you aren't going to see the money again.

Instead of loaning money to family and friends, give them a gift of a smaller amount. Ask them what it's for and offer to pay a portion of the bill with no obligation to repay unless things get better in the future.

Along with offering to help with their bills, take them to work or invite them over for dinner a few nights per week. Instead of making things awkward by expecting payment from somebody who is already in a financial emergency, find creative ways to help them through their difficult time.

The Bottom Line
Money conversations are awkward and when situations like these occur, it's difficult to know what to do. We have to have boundaries but we don't want to offend or make family and friends feel uncomfortable either. When all else fails, being honest is the only way to handle situations like these. Trying to tell a white lie to get out of an uncomfortable conversation probably won't solve the problem and may result in further bad feelings that may impact the relationship in the future.

SEE: 5 Reasons Why You Hate Money



More From Investopedia

Quiz: How well do you know India's economy?

Question 1

Which of these products is India the world's largest producer of?

Poll Choice Options
  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Milk
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Latest News

  • Tour Miami Beach's Burdines Department Store in 1953

    Click here to view the full photogallery.Photos via "Library of Congress Today we take take a break from the regularly scheduled residential fare to have a look at the interiors of a department store in the 1950s. Burdines, the... …

  • Rajaratnam's brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges
    Rajaratnam's brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges

    Rengan Rajaratnam, the younger brother of imprisoned hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, on Friday lost a bid to dismiss some of the insider trading charges leveled against him last year. U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled that the indictment adequately alleged the essential elements of the crimes charged. A lawyer for Rajaratnam did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment. …

  • Break the Mold With a Brutalist 'Tree House' on the Chesapeake

    Click here to view the full photogallery. Up for $1.29M on Maryland's Gibson Island is this atypical Chesapeake cottage, a 2,826-square-foot fortress designed by blocky brutalism extraordinaire, Ulrich Franzen. Known as the Glass Tree House, the 1962 three-bedroom was... …

  • Colorful Fabrics Restore a 'Dilapidated Concrete Bungalow'

    Click here to view the full photogallery.Photos by Simon Upton/Elle Decor Enchanted by the "wild dogs and unrestored, decaying palazzos" of Lecce, a historic city in Puglia, Italy, fashion designer Liza Bruce and her husband, artist Nicholas Alvis Vega,... …

  • Inside Karim Rashid's Magical, Hot Pink 'Sparkle Krib'

    Click here to view the full photogallery. Give designer Karim Rashid pretty much anything—a condo tower, a food court, a record album, a Twitter account—and he'll be sure to make it fruit-punch colored and amorphous, the princess castle of... …

IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS & INTERVIEWS

  • This might well be India’s biggest Ponzi scam

    It was just too good to be true. Ashok Khital, 45, displays every symptom of a man who knows he's been conned. …

  • India's star studded football league

    High and mighty including Sachin, Salman & Sun Group buy ISL teams …

  • Leaderspeak with Rajesh Janey

    Rajesh Janey, President - India & SAARC, EMC shares many firsts in his life. …

  • Power Hungry

    Gujarat has power round-the-clock. Most other states do not. Why this will matter in the general elections. …

  • Etcetera

    The most keenly watched contest of the current general election will be the one for the Varanasi parliamentary seat, where the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi squares off ... …

  • Economy vs Democracy

    As the country gets election fever, cash comes out of mattresses and turns into liquor, gifts, and food. But it is not bad for the health of the economy, reports Sarika Malhotra from the trenches. …

  • Bracing for Challenges

    Raghuram Rajan is preparing to deal with concerns that may arise when a new government takes charge. …

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    16.52+0.88+5.63%
    UNITECH.BO
    73.85+3.05+4.31%
    HDIL.BO
    13.36+0.25+1.91%
    SUZLON.BO
    718.55-6.70-0.92%
    HDFCBANKSL.BO
    57.40+2.75+5.03%
    JAIPRA.BO
  • Price % Gainers
    Price % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    12.60+2.10+20.00%
    AGRIMONY.BO
    242.50+40.40+19.99%
    ACRYSIL.BO
    83.50+13.90+19.97%
    SICAL.BO
    46.00+7.65+19.95%
    SHRGLTR.BO
    65.25+10.85+19.94%
    AHLUCONT.BO
  • Price % Losers
    Price % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    11.60-2.70-18.88%
    ANISHAIMPEX.BO
    51.10-8.85-14.76%
    WINSOMTX.BO
    11.70-1.30-10.00%
    BLCISER.BO
    425.00-40.00-8.60%
    GCMSECU.BO
    59.40-5.55-8.55%
    JBML.BO
  •  
    Recent Quotes
    Symbol Price Change % ChgChart 
    Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
    You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
  • Recent Quotes News

    •  
      Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.