How exactly are we splitting bills in a financial crisis? 30 people share.

In case you missed it, the world's finances are in a wobbly spot. And by wobbly, I mean dire. And by dire, I mean potentially the worst state they've ever been in a lot of our lifetimes. 

But let's not focus on that big scary thing, because our brains will implode and I want to talk about much more important silly things. 

Like how we navigate that awkward part of dinner out with friends. You know the one. Where the bill lands on the table and everyone avoids eye contact as they glance over at the sign sticky taped to the cash register that says 'NO SPLIT BILLS'.

Watch: 5 money lessons your parents told you, that you should probably forget... Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

This awkward part has always been just that – awkward. But when everything is more expensive and everyone is feeling not just a pinch but a massive punch in their bank accounts, then the awkwardness ramps up tenfold.

So, to shed light on how exactly we're navigating this pickle, I asked 30 women what they are doing every time the bill is slapped on the dinner table. 


Here's what they had to say. 

Teal: My friends and I pay for what we order. That way if someone wants the lobster and someone else is tighter on the budget-front that week it's not an issue.

Caitlin: I am a big fan of restaurants that let you order individually from a QR code at the table now – saves any awkwardness! Definitely never split evenly, I always pay for my individual meal and drinks.

Clare: Agh. I avoid dinners because of this! I’m vegetarian and Coeliac (so an annoying gluten-free person). I have also been undergoing some treatment for a stomach ‘thing’. For those reasons, I eat NOTHING. Like, a $6 ‘veggie side’ then bill split time comes and everyone is like ‘Let’s just split it evenly’ which is $187 and my poor a** that is paying off a $12K vet bill right now is like ‘NO.’... But you don’t want to be ‘that person’. If everyone pays for what they got, that’s better (which my closest mates do for me, even if they then go on to split the rest of the bill). Dinners out are so stressful for me, I avoid them.

Jane: We've never had issues with bills. We just divide it up equally unless there is a non-drinker and we'll deduct for their share.

Belinda: Pay for what you order. Keeps it really simple. If you didn’t order something expensive on the menu, then you shouldn’t have to pay for it via a split bill. Places where you can just order and pay for your own meal and they bring it all out together are great for that.


Julia: Pay for what YOU eat and drink and add a tip. I don't do this equal split of the bill nonsense.

Ann: I take cash and pay for what I ordered. I don’t drink alcohol and I’m not rich so I don’t want to contribute to expensive bottles of wine or cocktails.

Shauna: I've never done anything other than paying your own. If the restaurant doesn't split bills, we usually have one pay on a credit card and the others transfer once we get the receipt. 

Vivienne: My friends and I always just split evenly – unless someone blatantly drank way more cocktails than someone else (for example) and then we’ll adjust accordingly. 

Joanne: Splitwise is a fantastic app to use when you go out to dinner or go away with friends.

Sophie: Depends on the friends and the occasion. If it’s my uni friends or fellow full-time workers and we’ve organised to catch up for drinks, dinner or brunch, we split evenly. If I’m catching up with friends younger than me with less income, we pay for what we eat.

Listen to this episode of Mamamia Out Loud, where they talk all about splitting the bill. Post continues after podcast.

Chase: We have never had an issue with everyone paying for just themselves and most of the time the server offers that option first. 

Briony: We generally just pay approximately for what we have. We might take turns paying for the bread or rice etc. Often one person pays the lot and we just transfer over although I still try to take cash with me.


Lee: We use the app Splitwise. It transfers instantly. If we have a driver in the group we leave them out of the wine and then split the rest evenly.

Steph: Usually one person pays and we pay them back, splitting it evenly. Unless it’s someone’s birthday or special occasion, then the rest will take up their share. We have discussed it before and agree that the pleasure of each other's company is worth the small differences if one had one more drink/a more expensive meal. That it all comes out in the wash.

Niki: We’ve got into enough of a regular groove now that we all know we drink and eat very similar amounts. So it’s no big deal to do the even split.

Bree: Depends on who I'm with. If it's with my oldest group of friends, we just split evenly, if it's with newer friends, we pay for what we eat and drink. With my family, my dad sometimes still pays for us 'kids' (who are in their 40s!)

Heather: We always check if the restaurant will allow each person to pay for their own – these days that’s doable with the latest technology. If it’s a small group we will just split the food bill evenly and pay for our own drinks.

Sarah: I’m old now so me and my friends (we’ve been eating out together since we were young teens) sometimes fight over who gets to pay for the whole meal.


Claudia: I try to take charge and organise a restaurant with a set menu. Makes it even for all. I'm not a fan of making others pay extra.

Erin: The last time we had a weekend away as a group of friends, one person put everything on their credit card and then on the way to the airport home just told us the total for each person's food and beverages for the weekend. It was the most relaxing way to do it. I didn’t think about money all weekend. 

Tracey: We went to dinner, and the bill was a very hefty one. We split it three ways for the couples. It was fairly even – everyone had the three courses and everyone had two drinks, so it was nothing shocking. They came to the table with the EFTPOS machine so it was easy. However, I looked over the bill while we were still chatting and found a $62 bottle of wine that we didn’t order or receive (or sadly drink!) so that was refunded to one of us – who shared the refund around.

Tonia: Depends on the restaurant. If we can’t split the bill (which is most places when you have a group of 10 or more), one person pays and then we all transfer afterwards. It can cause a lot of frustration however when it’s the same person who gets stuck paying and working out the numbers each time!

Claudia: No one seems to want cash anymore so I just transfer to one person or ask to split the bill.

Sherry: If almost everything is shared evenly, the bill is split evenly between all. Any other time and the bill is paid exactly. Always ask and check if people are on with splitting evenly as well and never judge anyone who says something otherwise. 


Jessica: We recently travelled overseas to Bali (our family of five plus another family of five). Three weeks of travel meant a lot of shared cabs, groceries, lunches and dinners. We downloaded the app Splitwise, it was unreal. Whenever someone paid for some. We’d use it for cabs and food. Worked well for us. I travelled with my parents, my sister-in-law, my nephew and my 17-year-old.)

Jane: Most restaurants are computerised now, so it's easy to just pay for what you had... However, never be the last person because there is always someone that forgets a few cocktails they had! 

Yolanda: Never found it to be awkward. If the restaurant says 'no split bills' then generally one person will pay, we’ll all look at the receipt and see how much our own meal and drinks came to and we transfer them that amount on the spot. Simple!

Tania: My friends and I all have each other's details set up in our banking apps so it’s super easy to transfer to each other. We do it all the time for loads of things – not just dinner bills.

Jane: Funny story, my parents went out with a group and one couple pulled out their entertainment card and then applied the discount only to their part of the bill!

Feature Image: Supplied. 

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