When To Foot the Food Bill


food billI wholeheartedly believe in generosity, but there are definitely times where I notice that some of my most generous friends, and even myself, have been taken advantage of by others at restaurants. In today’s day and age where etiquette is growing increasingly cloudy, it can be easy to forget who should pay for what and when. Plus, not all of us are raised in the same way with the same rules, so it can be challenging to navigate many of these situations if your friends don’t know or don’t understand these things the way you do.

So, below are some tips of what I have learned growing up and by experiencing awkward situations when it comes to money at restaurants. They are by no means hard and fast rules for etiquette nor do I claim to be an expert on manners. They are just situations that I’ve noticed over the years that could help someone else get out of some of those sticky moments. So without further ado, here’s when you should foot the bill:

1. When You Extend The Invitation

The number one thing that can get each and every one of us out of an awkward situation is to be very clear about our intentions. Many awkward who-grabs-the-check moments can be avoided if the host would extend an invitation like, Do you want to go grab a sandwich with me? My treat!❠Conversely, you can say, Do you want to go try that new restaurant in town? I’d love to treat you but I can’t today. It would be great to have the company though if you can come!❠You can also answer when the waiter asks if the bill is together or separate. If you’re feeling especially generous, you can also put your guest at ease by saying, Order whatever you want! I know I am. It’s my treat.❠The point is that if you are ready to extend the invitation, be ready to pay for your guest’s meal as well.

2. When You’re a Guy On A Date

I sense that I may possibly get comments from those who disagree with me on this. So, I definitely want to reiterate that I am no expert when it comes to modern day etiquette. I just know that when I was dating, I really appreciated it each and every time a man paid for my dinner. I found it to be very sweet and kind. Even today, I always let my husband pay for the bill, even though it comes out of the same bank account. There’s just something about having him take care of me that woos me.   However, I can understand women who insist on paying for their own half of a meal if that is what makes them more comfortable. Either way, I find that it’s always important to offer.

3. When You Want To Honor Your Parents

I believe there comes a point in everyone’s life where they should treat their parents to dinner. I know that mine always pay for everyone’s meal, but as I progress in my career over the next few years, I look forward to taking them out to dinner some time to repay the favor. Resentment can definitely build if you eat with your family and expect someone else to pay every time. Like the situation above, even if your parents or grandparents love to treat everyone, offering to pay for your portion might be a gesture that is appreciated, even if they turn you down.

So there, you have it: three situations where you should foot the bill. I know there are more that I’m not listing, so please leave a comment below and share your take on it.

photo by epsos

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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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