How To Split Dinner Bill With Friends


How do you split a dinner bill with friends who clearly order more and take advantage of you?

It sucks.  You order water and a side salad and your co-diner orders an app, entree, 3 Kettle One martinis and a live squid.  Then it is he that says to the server, “Oh…it’s all good sweetheart, just split the bill down the middle…”


I see it happen all the time.  Just saw it today.  Two couples sit down for lunch at LAX.  One couple orders a burger, tri-tip sandwich, an ice tea and a water,.  The other couple orders two burgers, 2 vodkas and 4 Jack Fire on the rocks.  The guy on the heavy bill side pulls the server over with their bill and says, “We’re good, can you split this down the middle?”

I looked at the expression on the faces of the other couple and neither of them were talking.  But the big spender couple couldn’t stop gabbing.

Happy vs not happy.

Why?  No one likes to be taken advantage of.   But ask the other couple who spends more, and doesn’t notice or does notice and is clearly taking advantage, and they will say, “It doesn’t matter…”

Personally, I have never been on the side of the couple who spends too much and the bill goes in my ‘lower’ favor.  I’m always the one paying for someone else.  Which if I’m out with good friends, it’s fine.  But when I’m traveling or doing an event with people I will never see again, this is not what I will stand for.  So get ready for some options to know what to do when you do not want to split the bill and don’t want to look like a cheap bastard.

split the billHere are 5 suggestions when a fill check piler-uper at your table says “It’s about even, why don’t we just split the bill 50/50…”

  1. Before they finish making their statement, pretend to get ill and just leave.
  2. Say, “I have to get a receipt for just myself and my partner…” to the server, “Can you put my portion on?”
  3. Be honest and say, “I’m on a tight budget and we are documenting all our expenses….we just can’t mix a bill right now.”
  4. (my favorite – a mental switcheroo)  Say, “We spent way more than you and it’s just not fair for us to split 50/50.”
  5. Buy the game Truth or Dare and invite these ‘big spenders’ to come play.  It’s a game of brutal honesty and maybe if you get drinks in them you can bring up the “we hate going to dinner with you because you spend more than us each and every time” topic and get them to knock it off.  Maybe?

#4 is my best easiest and smartest way out of a 50/50 unfair spilt.   Cause the other couple always looks bewildered and by the time they realize what has happened the server has taken my credit card and closed our portion.

But don’t get me wrong.  We split dinner bills all the time.  This is just a rare case.  But it happens.  And often.  So you want to be prepared.  And don’t be the overspender guy either.  My husband and I tried to retaliate one night with a couple who overspends…and they were the ones that requested NOT to split.  This one time.  Ugh. We laugh about it now.

So be honest. On the up and up and Karma will work itself out.

She always does.

The other option to not worry about splitting the bill is to get rid of the worry completely.  If you want to stop worrying (Worry is a pray to god to keep the same thing happening) about money – get Jen Sincero’s new book:  “You are a Bad Ass Making Money.”  I bought it…and I’m still rereading it (for the 8th time).  Brilliant!!!  The author Jen is funny, insightful and will help anyone make the kind of money they want to make.  It’s all up to you!  GO FOR IT!!!