It’s easy for us to be trapped in an uncomfortable position involving our money—or to be precise, other people’s interest in our money. More often than not, there’s no graceful way to escape situations like these, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be handled. For example:

A friend with a long history of borrowing money and not paying back asks for yet another loan. In a situation like this, you shouldn’t feel ashamed to say that you don’t feel comfortable lending out again. It is your money, so you have the right to spend it the way you see fit.

When eating out in a group, it’s the person organizing the gathering who should be upfront about splitting the bill. But it’s also a good idea to speak up for yourself before you order.

Eating out with co-workers can also be tricky, especially when it comes to who should pick up the bill. As a rule of thumb, always assume that you will be paying for yourself, and if someone picks up the check, be sure to return the courtesy on the next occasion.

Sometimes we can also be asked to chip in for a group gift for a colleague. This can be especially awkward if you don’t know this person all that well. If you’re strapped for cash, just say that you will get your own gift (this way you can spend less) or if you’re really short on money, you can always send a free e-card with a friendly message.

Being short on funds can also be hard if you have a rich friend you often hang out with, and you end up feeling pressured to spend more than you would like. In situations like these, you simply need to come clean, telling him or her that you’re on a tight budget, and suggesting an alternative place to hang out.

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January 2017
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