You’re out to dinner with a group of friends and having a great time. Then the check arrives and an awkward silence descends over the group.
Splitting the check when dining out with friends can be tricky. Do you divide it evenly? Should each person pay for their specific order? Can everyone even agree on who pays what?
You don’t want to end your evening by doing a lot of math or risking hurt feelings. Fortunately, splitting the check can be simple with just a little advance planning.
Tips for How to Split a Bill With Friends
These strategies can help you split the bill and keep everyone happy. The next time you go out to dinner as a group, consider:
1. Picking a Place Where You Order at the Counter
You could go to a fast-casual restaurant that allows you to order at the counter on separate tabs and enjoy your meal together at the table. If you’re on a tight budget and trying to save money, or you’ve had difficulty splitting checks with friends in the past, this allows you to avoid a sticky situation.
Many popular fast-casual restaurants provide a relaxed dining experience while offering higher quality food than some other places. As this style of dining continues to grow in popularity, there are more and more restaurant options available. So you and your friends can have your choice of cuisines — without blowing your budget.
2. Asking for Separate Checks — Before You Order
Having everyone in your party get their own separate check is another simple solution. The key is to ask your server for separate checks before you start ordering. That way your server can track everyone’s order separately from the get-go, and avoid the confusing chore of splitting the bill after the meal has ended.
Still, be mindful of the extra work you’re asking your server to do. Some experts recommend limiting the number of separate checks you request to no more than six.
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3. Having One Person Put the Bill on Credit
Another strategy is to have one person pay the bill with their credit card, while the rest of the group reimburses them with cash. This makes things easier for the server. Be sure to include the tax and tip in your calculations so that everyone pays their fair share.
Instead of cash, since most people don’t carry as much money around as they used to, you could use an app to transfer money from one friend to another. That’s one benefit of an online bank account.
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4. Using an App to Track Your Outings
There are a few apps, like Splitwise and Tab, that allow you to track and split purchases with friends. These bill-splitting apps divide the cost of the bill and assign each person what they owe.
Some of the apps let you track borrowing and lending over time so that everyone can see what they owe and settle their balance. And a number of the apps connect to payment platforms so that everyone can pay their share or transfer money to others in the group.
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5. Using Different Credit Cards to Pay
If you forgot to request separate checks at the start of the meal, you still have options for dividing the check. Confirm that the restaurant will take the number of credit cards you wish to pay with, then have everyone go through and tally up what they ordered. Then ask for those amounts to be charged to the appropriate card card.
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6. Splitting the Bill Evenly
This concept works especially well when you’re ordering small plates, which are designed to be shared. After all, when you’re sharing all the food, even bill-splitting makes sense.
If there are certain dishes you’re not going to eat, speak up at the beginning of the meal and ask if it’s possible for you to get a separate check.
SoFi Checking and Savings Makes It Easy to Transfer Money
Consider opening a bank account that makes it easy to split a bill. With SoFi Checking and Savings, you can easily send money to your friends after a dinner out.
Not only can SoFi Checking and Savings simplify your check splitting experience, you’ll also earn a competitive APY and pay no account fees.
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