How To Responsibly Pay Others Back


paying backWe’ve all done it before.   At some point or another, we’ve had to borrow money from someone. Whether it was a forgotten wallet and a spotted $10 or a more serious situation, it isn’t always the best feeling to have to ask a friend if they can spare a few bucks. However, we all need help every once in a while, and there’s no shame in asking if you’re responsible in how you pay them back. Check out the tips below for ways to pay others back respectfully and maintain your relationship with them in the process.

Be timely.

Did you borrow $20 from a friend when a restaurant only accepted cash? Go out of your way to withdraw $20 from the closest ATM, write them a check, or make an electronic funds transfer as soon as you can.   Did you have to borrow a large sum of money from your parents during an emergency?   As soon as you’re able, sit down and take a look at your finances.   What can you afford as the first payment and when can you give it to them?   Do you owe someone, but you’ve forgotten the money the last couple times you saw them?   Rather than not mentioning it, make it a point to say you still remember and that you will get the money to them as soon as possible.   Showing that you want to pay someone back as quickly as you can instills confidence that no one is going to go unpaid.

Make a plan.

In most situations, the best way to pay someone back is by making a plan.   You may find it helpful to make a payment schedule if you do owe larger sums of money.   Perhaps you can take a little from each paycheck without depriving yourself of your basic needs.   Maybe you can sacrifice going out to eat with friends every weekend until you’ve paid your debt.   Look at your income versus your necessary expenses and see where you might be able to temporarily cut back.   Whatever you work out, be sure to communicate that with the person who lent you the money to let them know you’re getting back on track.

Write it down.

When you’ve committed to a payment schedule that you’ve thought out and written down, you’re more likely to stick to it.   Put your payment due dates on your calendar or set up a reminder in your smart phone. If you go the paper route, post it in your office or on your fridge. You can even give a copy to the person you’ll be paying.   For some people this may be overkill, but for others it lays everything out on the table so there are no questions left unanswered.

Don’t feel bad.

Like I said before, we’ve all been there at some point in our lives.   So, don’t let your guilt keep you from asking for assistance if you truly need it.   Likewise, don’t allow your guilt to keep you up at night if you can’t repay someone as quickly as you want.   Be open and honest with them about your situation.   They’re likely to understand if they were willing to spot you in the first place.

Occasionally, your quality time or willingness to help may be repayment enough or at least make a later payment acceptable.   Offer to help them move next weekend or watch the dog while they’re out of town as a gesture of good will.

Have you ever borrowed money from someone? How did you go about paying it back? Are you still friends with them to this day? I’d love to hear about it!

photo by 42Dreams

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Written by Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a freelance writer who currently lives in the Caribbean with her husband and spoiled pup, Julep. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for various personal finance websites, she enjoys sharing her frugal and fabulous adventures on her blog, BudgetBlonde.com.

Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a freelance writer who currently lives in the Caribbean with her husband and spoiled pup, Julep. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for various personal finance websites, she enjoys sharing her frugal and fabulous adventures on her blog, BudgetBlonde.com.

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