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Splitting the Tab

I'll admit that it drives me nuts when I'm out to dinner with a group of friends and as soon as the check comes, one person has to whip out her calculator to make sure she's not overcharged for the extra chips that the rest of us snacked on. I would never expect someone to pay an amount equal to everyone else if she only ordered a drink or a cup of soup, but if you ordered a salad that was two dollars less than the entrees everyone else enjoyed, I don't understand why the check can't just be split equally.

Is it so bad to over pay by a few dollars with friends? I figure that most of the time when you go out to dinner, you're paying to have some good laughs with good friends, not just a good meal. Maybe this is just one of my pet peeves, but do you ever encounter this?

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ahbeegayle ahbeegayle 9 years
why would you split the check evenly? that's ridiculous. ask for seperate checks. even if i weren't on a tight budget i still wouldn't want to pay for someone else's $30 dollar entree when i ordered a $10 salad. if you can't afford it, then don't order something so expensive.
Jacinthe Jacinthe 9 years
I think it's stupid to let that bother you. Not everyone has the same financial situation, and for some people, that extra few dollars does matter. When my friends and I go out we usually ask for separate checks, but if we don't, we're doing math.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I'm usually the one who grabs the check. We all pay fairly for what we eat but we're not compulsive about it. We have one friend who always orders 1 or 2 appetizers as well as a pricey entree and a drink when the rest of us just get water and a meal. It's only fair.
designerel designerel 9 years
i've never had to deal with this problem because we always get separate checks. i thought this was the norm! or you pair up with a buddy and pay their bill too and next time they pay yours. but as for the splitting the check evenly, i am one of those people that doesn't think it's that fair because i usually get things that are on the cheaper end. if it really comes down to it... order things that are relatively similar in price?
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I cannot stand when people haggle over the bill especially when it is just a matter of a few dollars. All of my friends divide the bill equally no matter what. We just don't care if someone had more to drink than the other people at the table. It usually evens out by nights end anyway. For you that go out in groups and ask for a seperate check for everyone I hope you are tipping well. Bad tippers are the worst especially when your asking for extras and yes seperate bills are an extra.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
Oh, and the restaurant said told us that next time we came back our meal was free. Did they REALLY think we were coming back?
uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
Snowbunny- Thanks for the sympathy! My bf did call the restaurant multiple times (it's 3 hours away in another state). They did reverse the charges, but it just happened so late that his bank still charged him those fees. It all just happenned SO fast (the check coming and whoever suggested just splitting it). And we KNOW & believe that it wasn't done b/c someone wanted others to pick up their tab. It was just a really nice atmosphere at the time, all the old friends catching up and laughing & enjoying each other. They just saw it as being the easiest thing to do. We didn't want to bring down the mood by arguing over the check! Ahh.... you live you learn right? It's just money! (I can only say that because both my bf & I make a fair amount more than we did when that occurred!!!!) BUT, I would NEVER suggest to split it, unless everyone ordered about the same. You can NEVER know others' financial situations!
MissKate919 MissKate919 9 years
Personally I'm all for making things simple and subtle. Ideally I like to split the bill equally and I do make sure to throw in extra when I've ordered a more expensive dinner or had more drinks, or whatever. I also totally understand when a friend is tight for cash and even the slightest bit counts. I've been there too. The thing that really bugs me is when one person actually pulls out a calculator and starts the detective work. "Who ordered the extra rum and coke?" "I only ate one mozzarella stick and everyone else got 2." At this point I am so mortified that I'd rather pick up the bill and spare everyone. It just makes the whole thing so uncomfortable. There are ways to handle this w/o turning it into a full on investigation.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Uptown-that story is SO ridiculous. I will keep in mind that if I eat out with people I don't frequently go out with, to ask for a separate check! I feel comfortable pointing out to my close friends that my meal was $30 less, but what an awkward situation you were in. Your bf needs to go back to that restaurant, speak to a manager in person and ask to be refunded the overdraft fees. I mean, it wasn't entirely his friends' fault, he could have spoken up to them (though yes, they should have realized he ordered so much less) but that waitress...that is so ridiculous. That actually makes me mad. Have you ever seen Curb Your Enthusiasm? Sometimes I get like Larry, and stuff like that just bugs me so incredibly much.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
This is definitely a pet peeve of mine! Whenever a friend has been in a tricky position financially, we all know about it. The person in that position can either choose to forgo appetizers and alcohol and then throw in less at the end, letting everyone else pick up the balance, or she can just order something similar to us and we'll all split it. If it's within a few dollars, I don't see the big deal. Also, if it's just one friend and I going out, one will just cover the bill and the other can pick it up next time. This is what I do with my boyfriend since it keeps alive the illusion that we are treating each other to dinner or a movie, which definitely makes it more romantic! I saw a couple the other day in line to go see a movie, and they were discussing splitting gas on the way to the movie and arguing that one of them had paid for the other one's tea at dinner. Seriously, how romantic.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
My bf & I had our biggest fight ever the night we were out on a tight budget with HIS friends (all out of state friends he hadn't seen in years). We ordered VERY mindful of our budget, ordering the cheapest entrees, & one each of the cheapest glass of wine. Everyone else had appetizers, MANY cocktails, & desserts. In our heads we calculated that our bill should of been $40-50, including a good tip. Much to our surprise one check was brought to the table. Someone suggested splitting it 4 ways (4 couples). SO... we now found out each couple owed $70 before the tip! I had to bite my tongue, but I knew it wasn't my place to say anything because #1 HIS friends, #2 before we went out we decided he was paying. One couple paid in cash ($100, no change), we put three cards in the card holder, and told the waitress to split the check four ways. She came back with 3 receipts for $92 each. She only split it THREE ways. She seriously thought the $100 was a tip, though she was told otherwise.... We called her back over to correct her. She rolled her eyes, then eventually brought us out new, correct ones ($70). My boyfriend can check his bank by phone, and as we were driving away he called his bank. The waitress rang his card THREE TIMES. Twice at the $92, and once at the $70. This caused him to overdraw his bank account. This happened on a Sat. night, even after multiple calls to the manager, the extra restaurant charges didn't come off until FRIDAY. He got a $25 dollar overdraft fee each day. His bank refused to refund him the fees. (USBank) To make a long story short, not getting the separate checks cost him a LOT of money he didn't have at the time. Ever since then, if we are going out in a group WE TAKE OUT CASH (and still get separate checks)!
herjoiedevivre herjoiedevivre 9 years
dividing up the money is a pet peeve for me, period. I detest scanning a receipt and trying to find my food and trying to calculate tip- it saves me a lot of time to be like, "separate check, please".
miosotis miosotis 9 years
I prefer separate bills. No problems with change or if somebody has to leave early and so on...
Sweet-as-Sugar Sweet-as-Sugar 9 years
First: separate bills are key Second: pay for what you eat. Not to be Scrooge but I know my budget and eat within it, I can't afford (nor do I want to) pay for someone else's meal b/c they can afford a more expensive entree or whatever! The one who orders more food (whether it's just marginally more $) should be expected to pay for it, why wouldn't they and then put the onus on me?!
msshellokitty msshellokitty 9 years
Unless I go somewhere and it's someones birthday or a special occasion I always ask for separate checks.I wouldn't pay for a friend and I wouldn't want someone paying for me.
learningcurve1 learningcurve1 9 years
if it's within a few dollars, absolutely! if there's more than, say, at 20% difference, then you can split it by what each person ordered - i DEFINITELY hate it when i pay an equal share while all my friends are ordering cocktails and i had a diet soda bc i'm DDing, but i'll generally never fight it if it's within a few dollars - because i'm sure one day *i'll* get the extra breadsticks and raise their tab by a few dollars. also, on a somewhat related note: i hate it when people are stingy with tip when you're in a big group! one or 2 dollars doesn't mean anything to most people, but aggregated for the whole group can mean an extra $10-20 for the waitress, which *is* significant!
groem6 groem6 9 years
Having the "Scrooge" ordering her meal first, then making sure everyone else orders some less expensive food might show her just how ridicilous her saving sceme really is. Maybe if she might benefit from splitting bills, she'll change her behaviour.. It worked with this friend of mine who _was_ like that :)
BRANDYNICOLE730 BRANDYNICOLE730 9 years
I don't agree. Not everyone in your social circle is in the same financial situation. Havn't you seen that episode of Friend's when Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe order small items as to not have to pay much at an expensive restaurant everyone else insisted eating at? I believe in splitting up bills, and making sure the waiter knows prior to ordering. What aggravated me to the point of never going out to eat with a certain person ever again? A group of us went to dinner at a Hooka Lounge. A couple girls decided that after charging up their tab to $90 on alcohol, they would sneak out, and leave their huge tab to be payed by everyone else in the group. That was great!
CoconutPie CoconutPie 9 years
I don't have that kind of friends. Also, they always ask if you want separate bills in Quebec. Much easier for the clients, not more complicated for the waiters.
emalove emalove 9 years
My friends and I always just split the bill...it's so much easier and usually, everyone has the same amount of drinks and similarly-priced meals. I wouldn't be mad, though, if one of my friends wanted to pay individually. I know that some of my friends don't make as much money as I do and I certainly understand and respect that they may be on a budget. I'm not bothered at all by either arrangement.
lilwildone1202 lilwildone1202 9 years
i agree but if the person usually just has a soup or something ill say for them to just throw in money for tip. i feel that money and friends don't go together so usually its easier to just split the check evenly. then again..me and my friends never go places and just get soup so ;-)
alex1984 alex1984 9 years
It all works out in the wash!! I hate sitting around in a nice restaurant after a great meal, discussing who owes who $2.oo! Lucliky for me my friends and I all go splits, or we take turns getting the bill. We are best friends, so at the end of the day, it all works out!!
ameeliar ameeliar 9 years
i agree with karmasabitch. even if you're not on a very tight budget, it's only fair to pay what you ordered. why should someone else pay for your more expensive drink/entree? yes, going out with friends is for fun, but that doesn't account for having to pay for someone else's orders. money doesn't have to be exact, but it should be relatively close to how much you intended to spend.
Meike Meike 9 years
Nah, I prefer separate checks always unless I'm treating friends to a meal and fortunately, my friends think similarly.
BeachyAthlete BeachyAthlete 9 years
If I am on a super-tight budget, I'll explain that to my closest friends there, and then pull the server aside to request a separate check. Nobody usually seems to mind and it gets me out of that "split the bill" headache that always happens.
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