How many times have you lent a friend some cash for lunch or a movie only to never see it again? Here's how to get paid back easily and how you can prevent this problem in the future.
Money between friends is often awkward, especially if you aren't close. Chances are you don't see all of your friends every week so if you don't get paid back right away, your next chance could be several weeks away. So how can you solve this problem? You have a couple of simple options.
Let Them Get the Next One
Keeping an exact account of who paid for what is ridiculous, but remembering who paid last makes for a better, more manageable system. That way if you paid for the last film, lunch, or whatever, you can just invite them out for the same thing and say:“I got the last one, so do you want to grab this one?”
If the other person doesn't remember, you might have an awkward moment ahead of you in which you have to explain the circumstances, but if you start a trend of trading payments it will become the norm after a few outings.
When friends borrow small amounts of money from friends, the problem is generally a product of our times: few people carry much cash with them anymore because we don't need cash to buy things by ourselves. However, besides credit cards here we get a better option. You can solve this problem easily with your smart-phone and a service called Square.
You plug in their free or purchase-able credit card reader into your smart-phone's headphone port, download their app, and you can start accepting credit card payments from anybody. When you accept payments with the reader, Square will take a 2.75% cut regardless of the amount. The card reader is tiny so you can take it with you, making it a good way to prevent the problem of your friend owing you money in the first place.
What You Said
I posed this dilemma on a few social media sites and the majority of you agreed that the "get the next one" method is the simplest course of action. Anamari suggested a slight alternative:
I wouldn't put someone on the spot by saying "you're paying, right?" or "you've got this one" without fair warning. After all, they might be short on cash in that moment, too, and simply hadn't remembered the last time. If it's really important to get evened up, I'd say something at the time of setting up the date, either very directly or along the lines of "I'm tight for cash this week, can you get me this time? Last time it was me."
I'd argue that in most cases you're not really putting them on the spot when you're dealing with insignificant amounts like $5-10. If they can afford that amount for themselves, coming up with double shouldn't be an issue. Nonetheless, if you want to take a more sensitive approach you can always ask them before you go out so nobody finds themselves in an awkward position when it comes time to pay.
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