Money certainly can be the subject of some awkward situations – even with (and often more so) those closest to us. We have a look at some of the common tricky money moments and make a few suggestions on how to handle them with style.

“Whoops! Haven’t I paid you that back yet?” It’s one of those things that can get irksome fast. That loaner that just seems to have fallen off the radar. Added to which is the level of discomfort many of us feel even thinking about asking for the money back. There are a few options on the table for this one: (1) If it’s a small loan, make a decision about whether you can let it go – does the friendship give you enough to put it in the past? (2) Think about some comfortable ways to broach the subject, like “pretty cash strapped at the moment – any chance you could lend me $XX”. That should get the loan on the table for discussion in a light hearted way.

“Let’s split it” Appetites and budgets vary considerably, so when it comes to dinner out with a group it’s easy to end up paying over the odds if the bill is split evenly at the end of the night. It’s a pretty personal thing with some not minding at all, while it can be a bit of an issue – financially and principally – for others. If you’d rather pay just for your share, but are looking for ways to take the awkwardness out of the situation, think about asking the waiter at the beginning of the evening to set up a separate bill for you.

“So, how much are you earning these days?” Maybe you’ve changed job or perhaps a friend or family member has suddenly become curious. Whatever the reason, not everyone is happy disclosing how much they earn – even to the people closest to them. If you’re struck with this one, the best thing is to simply ask why they would like to know, with a smile of course. After you’ve heard why the information is important to them you can either talk about it or politely tell them that you hope they understand, but you’d rather not say.

“Steve is coming around tonight…again.” Living with friends has its ups and downs, particularly when the occupancy of their room doubles from one to two with the addition of a partner on the scene. Steve might not ‘live’ there, but he’s there 24/7 without contributing to the bills. Before it becomes an issue, organise a time to chat over coffee or brunch. It’s an idea to start with the things you’re really enjoying about the flat and then move into asking her thoughts about ‘Steve’ contributing to the flat costs.

“Can you lend me $500?” It’s an awkward situation for both parties, especially when you know immediately that you don’t want to lend money to him or her. The best way to handle this one is to say you can’t but offer to help in another way. This shows your family member or friend that you are there to help, but just not in a financial capacity.

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