How do you split the bill?

Former_MSE_Debs Former MSE Posts: 890 Forumite
edited 15 January 2013 at 12:57PM in MoneySaving polls
Poll started 15 Jan 2013

If you eat out with friends, how do you split the bill when it comes to paying?

Did you vote? Why did you pick that option? Are you surprised at the results so far? Have your say below. To see the results from last time, click this


  • Li0nhead
    Li0nhead Forumite Posts: 16,922
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    For me it varies on the company.

    For certain close friends or family who we eat regularly with someone will often sneak away and cover the whole bill but what in effect happens is it becomes doing it in turns because the one who has not paid for a while will tend to make sure they pay next time but thats within close friends/family where you know you will eat with them again and trust them totally.

    In terms of say a work lunch for someone leaving I wold say the fairest system is splitting it but with allowances for those who have had a lot more or less than the average.
    eg. Say i was greedy and had 3 courses and a bottle of wine and the person next to me had 1 main only and tap water, why should they pay as much as me?
    Ok when in this sort of group i tend to try to eat about the average level of the group in an effort to be fair but what i am saying it all depends on the situation and the people you are eating with.
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  • pete_v
    pete_v Forumite Posts: 56 Forumite
    I chose "split equally with exceptions" for what I prefer, but I couldn't really answer the "what actually happens" one. Most people I eat with just want to split equally, but a few are vociferous about paying precisely what they owe (and one insists on never tipping either :( ). So it depends who's there whether it's equal split or pay what you owe.

    I do sometimes try to get the pedantic accountants to work out a price for everybody, so that at least we don't all need to spoil the end of the evening by passing the bill round and doing maths.
  • chog24
    chog24 Forumite Posts: 96 Forumite
    Very much depends who I'm with. If we've all got full time jobs, I prefer just to split the bill evenly, but I sometimes go out with a mixed group including students, pensioners and people on benefits. I always think it unfair to split evenly when you've a gang of waged people quaffing four-quid-a-pint bears and ordering starters, sides and deserts with their meals if the student's stuck with tap water and only had a main.
  • keycamp-reveller
    keycamp-reveller Forumite Posts: 50 Forumite
    It really depends on who I am out with

    On Saturday there was a group of girls from work and we each paid for our own. It's just agreed that's how it goes and TBH with what some of them were drinking I'm glad it's that way because if it wasn't split, then most of us would be paying someone else's drinks bill for the night

    But a family meal is often split evenly. However, that often leads to arguments of who had what and she had more than me which is exasperating and I end up shouting if you wanted separate bills you only had to say so! :mad:

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  • PasturesNew
    PasturesNew Forumite Posts: 70,698
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I pay for what I had. I won't subsidise greedy people who order everything + loads of booze then don't even eat/drink half of it and then expect me to pay for half their gluttony.

    I usually just have the cheapest main and a jug of tap water.
  • geri1965_2
    geri1965_2 Forumite Posts: 8,736 Forumite
    Depends who I go out with, where etc.

    On my birthday about 12 of us went out for a curry, the restaurant was a BYO so I figured that with nobody buying booze, it would be easier to just split the bill. I made sure everyone knew in advance though and said that if anyone wanted to pay separately they could.

    When we go out with friends who are a couple, we tend to pay for our own as my OH usually has at least 2 or 3 pints, and one of our friends only drinks diet Coke. I wouldn't feel right expecting her to subsidize the drinkers. I just keep a mental tally in my head and chuck in the right amount plus a bit for a tip.
  • Trialia
    Trialia Forumite Posts: 1,108 Forumite
    I always make sure I calculate exactly when I eat out (which is rarely), as I'm on benefits and can't afford to pay, for example, for other people to drink alcohol when I don't drink it at all and it costs so much. But most of my friends would do that anyway, as they know many of us are on low incomes and struggling.
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  • Dumbe
    Dumbe Forumite Posts: 266 Forumite
    Surprised there wasn't another option .

    If we are going out with another couple usually pay every second time or so if they paid for lunch one weekend, we might pay for dinner another .. It tends to even out in the end ..

    with others we might split it evenly but more likely whoever it is just to take turns ..

    Over time it all works out more or less even ..
  • Newly_retired
    Newly_retired Forumite Posts: 2,915
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I eat lunch out every 6 weeks or so with a bunch of similarly retired friends. Some will have pre-lunch coffee, a three course meal +coffee, other times it can be just a main course and one drink. Usually we split the bill but if somebody wants to pay separately that's fine eg if they arrive late/ go early and only have one course. As half of us are driving, alcohol consumption varies.

    Sometimes it can work out very unfairly, so what I tend to do now, is to try to eat the same number of courses as everyone else, and when I'm not driving I will have a glass or two of wine, and coffee after the meal.
    No point holding back myself if I am going to subsidise others.
    Otherwise I will just pay for myself.
  • Saturnalia
    Saturnalia Forumite Posts: 2,051 Forumite
    Everyone pays for their own. It's not hard to keep track of what you had, and that way those who want pricy stuff can have it, those who can stretch to a cheap main course for the sake of spending time with friends can afford to go, and no-one leaves feeling ripped off.
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