7 Ways to Not Get Screwed Over on a Group Dinner
When all you ordered was a salad
All you wanted was a bit of QT with your BFFs to catch up on work/babies/The Bachelor. But before you know it, you’re shelling out $87.65 for your “share” of the bill when all you ordered was a Cobb salad and a glass of wine. Here, seven ways to make sure this never happens again.
OFFER TO MAKE THE RESERVATION
She who organizes has final say on the restaurant choice. By volunteering to coordinate the logistics, you can choose a place with menu options that are within your budget (a huge cost-saver, whether you split the bill or not).
ORDER YOUR DRINKS AT THE BAR
Check the math on any dinner bill: Booze is where your wallet takes the biggest hit. Suggest doing a round or two at the bar before sitting down for food. There, it’s less awkward to pay individually, and everyone can head to the table with a full (and paid for) glass of vino.
ALWAYS CARRY CASH
It’s the easiest way to pay exactly your share. That said, don’t just hit the ATM and show up with a wad of twenties. Plan ahead--or ask the bartender to make change--so you have tens, fives and singles before you sit down.
Sharing a bunch of things is another easy way to level the financial playing field when it comes to the dinner bill. For example, if you’re out for Italian, order a salad, a pasta dish and a couple of pizzas, then pass everyone’s plates. When the bill arrives, you’ll feel good about an even split.
BUT SPEAK UP IF THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE FOR YOU
The group wants to order a bunch of pizzas. You’re gluten-intolerant. Don’t just grin and bear it. Suggest they split the cost of the pizzas and you’ll go your own way with the lemon chicken for you and you alone.
RELY ON BILL-SPLITTING APPS
The most annoying part of nickel-and-diming the check is the actual math. Apps like Tab make it a breeze to calculate what each person owes. Simply snap a pic of the itemized receipt, then tap to select the items that are yours--like the rib eye steak. The app will then add up the individual totals (tax and tip are factored in, too) so that everyone can chip in (or use Venmo) to cough up exactly what they owe.
SET THE PRECEDENT
As far as we’re concerned, it’s up to the person who spent more to offer to pay more. So the next time you’re the one who ordered the steak frites and Merlot while everyone else shared mozzarella sticks, make a point of paying your fairshare. Your pals will notice and follow suit.