“He’s Broke; I’m Not. How Do I Tactfully Say I’m Not Expecting Him to Spend Money On Me?”

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When it comes to relationships, we’re generally anti-“splitting the bill” here at HowAboutWe — just because it’s not particularly romantic. Pick super cheap things to do and “treat” your date; switch off who pays at a fairly even rate.

But, there are times when splitting the bill is the most practical and equal option.

A female friend of mine has started dating a guy who self-identifies as “broke,” while she herself is less broke. She wants to let him know that it’s totally okay for them to do cheap things and split the bill, but she isn’t quite sure how to bring this up without, you know. Talking about money. Which is only a sexy topic if you have a ton of it, and never sexy when you lack it.

So what should she tell him? Well, this, more or less:

“Hey, I’m happy to do something really low-key. This dive bar near my house as $3 beers after 10. Or you can just come to my place, I have a bottle of wine we can share.”

This way, the guy knows that she is A) not high-maintenance, and B) not expecting him to spend any (or much) money.

If they do go to a restaurant or bar, when it’s time to pay, she should, without making a big to-do, simply look at the bill and pull out enough cash for her portion.

If he starts to wave her off, she should simply say:

“Let’s split it.”

And if he protests:

“I really prefer to split it! It’s not a big deal.”

She should be firm, without prolonging the argument more than necessary.

One more tip for anyone who wants to suggest splitting the bill: bring cash! It’s much less awkward to just put in directly for your portion than to have to haggle, or worse, put the whole thing on your credit card and then weirdly take money from your date. Whenever possible, give the money directly to the third-party restaurant/bar, not the person you’re with.

See Also: The New 50/50: How to Split the Bill in 2012