Am i the tight***? Splitting bills?

Ok, i know bill splitting has come up before but i just want to get your thoughts.

I find that whenever I go out to dinner with mates, a select few seem to order all the expensive dishes, or extras and then when it's time for the bill to come, they're all let's just divide it equally.

I'm sick of paying for everyone elses shite. Recently we got delivery and i ordered one dish at $13.50. There were 5 of us and the bill came to $150 because everyone basically ordered two dishes, extras etc. Of course everyone says let's split, so I end up paying more than double for my meal. $30

I feel like if i speak up then i'm the tightarse. So i just grind my teeth and pay up. Am i alone? Others more vocal?


  • +144 votes

    So you're comfortable telling us this but not comfortable telling your mates? I think you should learn to squeakspeak up.

    • +6 votes

      of course, its an online forum afterall

    • +4 votes

      Easier said flippantly here online, but quite another thing in company after a few beers. I feel for the OP as I've been in the same position and I'm as audacious a person as you get.

  • +137 votes

    If the meals are shared, then split bill is ok. But if everyones eating their own food, then no way split bill.

  • +23 votes

    Easy two options:

    1. Whoever is paying for the order, give them your share straight up when you order (assuming it's takeout, harder to do in a restaurant)

    2. Wait to see what everyone else orders, then order something more expensive than they do. Either they'll get the message or you'll get subsidised takeout

    • +4 votes

      The approach in (1) really sucks. If you pay your precise bill and disappear, when everyone else splits the bill the payer will be left to make up the difference.
      As one of the people who can do arithmetic, I often get the job of payer, and chasing the 2 people who pay their precise total when everyone else is splitting is really frustrating, and just pushes your issue onto that other person without solving it.

      My advice to you if you don't wish to split the bill evenly is to announce at the start you will be ordering separately, then do so, and don't rort it by sneaking a slice of the communal garlic bread or glass of the communal mineral water.
      And for everyone who has to leave before the final bill is worked out, leave somebody more than enough to cover your share and ask them to settle the account for you and give you any change next time they see you. It might mean you end up paying for a share in a round of coffees drunk after you left, but doing otherwise will rip off the person you left to pay for you - and it isn't their fault you left early

      • +1 vote

        The approach in (1) really sucks. If you pay your precise bill and disappear, when everyone else splits the bill the payer will be left to make up the difference.

        And? If you order a pizza and eat your pizza, why is it your problem that Joe and Jane ordered some coke and garlic bread and have to pay for it?

        • +1 vote

          Because if everyone else says split the bill, and you have left only paying for your lesser bill, the person settling the account will be short the difference.
          Expecting them to enforce your decision to not split the bill is unfair, unless you have explained the situation to everyone else that they will not be able to split the bill equally as you have decided to pay a lower amount.

        • +7 votes

          @mskeggs: Maybe our circle of friends have different definitions of split bills… If I bought a $17 meal and everyone else is closer to $30, everyone else would throw down $30 and I would add my $20. Splitting the bill exactly equally is dumb, unless it was a banquet and no one bought any drinks.

        • +31 votes


          So subtract the individual payer's total from the table total and split the net total between the remaining payers.

          You did say you could do arithmetic…

        • +5 votes

          @Scrooge McDuck:

          Yeah that's the way common sense tells you to do it.

          Some people tho…



          You're doing it wrong

        • +2 votes


          I guess my meals with friends/family are usually a race to see who can pay the bill first, unless it is a big celebration like a wedding or similar.
          In these circumstances I'm happy to kick in whatever the top dog will allow if it isn't me.
          The times I need to split the bill more equitably are usually with work acquaintances or other people I don't know well enough to call them out if they skimp on their share, and the idea of auditing everybody's meal would be very, very inappropriate.

          I guess when I was an 18yro at uni we were more specific about who had what and paid what, but the ideas here of making sure everyone pays their specific amount would be a major cultural faux pas in a white collar job or most middle class settings like a community group or sports team.



          Best response imo. Someone perhaps the OP should take control of the situation from the outset. Anyone not wishing to round up say from $28.20 to $30 because it's against their religion to tip the delivery driver, that's okay they have to pay exactly $28.20, not a cent less. Otherwise part of the delivery drivers tip goes into the under-paying diner's pocket and not the drivers.

        • +1 vote

          Nonsense. If you pay for your meal (and don't eat shared/others food) and then leave, everyone is no better or worse than if you didn't attend and there is nothing wrong with that in my opinion. It's the responsibility of those who remain to then figure out how the payment is done in a way that is fair to all, be that split evenly or itemised. In a perfect world, if each person pays for what they eat/drink and there would never be a problem (split evenly if sharing meals, itemised if not)… Unfortunately some people want to split regardless and that makes them arseholes, not the person who left early and paid what they owe before doing so.


        that flawed logic though

    • +15 votes

      Easy two options:

      1. Whoever is paying for the order, give them your share straight up when you order (assuming it's takeout, harder to do in a restaurant)

      2. Wait to see what everyone else orders, then order something more expensive than they do. Either they'll get the message or you'll get subsidised takeout

      Bodybuilder options:

            3. Bring your own prepared chicken and rice to eat at the restaurant because that's all your diet allows.

            4. Don't go out to dinner with people because friends come and go but 200 lb is always 200 lb.

      The Austrian Oak should know these!

      • +20 votes

        Professional options:

              5. Pretend to answer your phone and respond to an emergency, gathering your belongings and leaving hastily without paying.

              6. Arrange for a confederate to steal your bag after the meal. You won't have to pay, and your friends will give you some cash for a taxi home.

    • +1 vote

      No. 1 is fixing the symptom, not the cause. Id go no.2. Test the 'friendship'. Id go troppo on surf'n'turf's and prawn cocktails or anything else that would raise eyebrows. Gauge the response, gauge the friendship. Live on your feet, not on your knees.

      Yeh it sucks bein ripped off by 'friends', take my word for it.

  • +7 votes

    Really depends.

    With my group of friends we usually split evenly just because it's quicker and easier and it would even out over the many dinners…

    If a portion of the group is drinking a lot, then they split between them and the non drinkers split the food. It's not that hard.

    If you are always the person paying extra, then I would speak up and say you choose not to split evenly. If they were reasonable people they would understand how unfair on you it is and not hold it against you.

    How have they not noticed? Surely they would notice, feel guilty, try to make it up to you in other ways (eg buy you drinks after or something?). If not then they are either completely inconsiderate or taking advantage of you. Not a good group of people to hang around with.

    • +6 votes

      With my group of friends we usually split evenly just because it's quicker and easier and it would even out over the many dinners…

      Are all the friends in the group OzBargainers?

      It would be very rare for any group of friends to have exactly the same spending preferences. All the friends who have lower spending preferences than the group average are overpaying.

      Surely they would notice, feel guilty, try to make it up to you in other ways (eg buy you drinks after or something?). If not then they are either completely inconsiderate or taking advantage of you.

      Or they could be oblivious, ignorant or imprudent…

      Not a good group of people to hang around with.

      No one is entirely good or entirely bad. People with negative qualities may have positive qualities which others appreciate.


        Valid points!

        My post was long enough, so extra explanation would make it gigantic.

        Maybe I should have just left it as "really depends"!



      I think it would be socially acceptable to say "I'm trying to save for -something-, so I will be eating less today/night/each time). Otherwise, yea agree, change friends.

  • +7 votes

    Order last and most.

  • +1 vote

    Thanks for the replies guys, food for thought! ;)


    Ask for a separate bill when ordering?

  • +5 votes

    Passive aggressive move might be to bring a good assortment of notes and change and place the exact amount of your order on the table early on.

  • -2 votes

    Why pay when you can eat free and watch your friends go wtf haha lol eat my shit /s /s /s

  • +7 votes

    I feel your pain. Order what everyone else is ordering and go with it.

    Otherwise just politely say you won't split you're on a tight budget the next few months, saving for a trip, car, shares, gold.

  • +26 votes

    find new friends

  • +21 votes

    This is a tough one but i feel like you should say something,or subtly change your behavior re paying. If it was only the rare occasion, I'd let it be but it seems to happen a lot.

    I personally feel it's a matter of respect that everyone should kind of pay attention to what's being ordered..not to the dollar but if everyone is in the same price range,then splitting equally works. But,and I'm usually watching out for the benefit of other ppl, if someone's meal was clearly much cheaper, it's not fair on them. I'd never make a non-drinker cover any alcohol and if there's like shared plates but someone's a vego and can't eat most the dishes, i always separate their bill.

    Sometimes we split, sometimes we each pay our own. Sometimes someone grabs it this time, and it's reciprocated the next time. Often I'll pay the bill and ppl will transfer me their meal which makes the transaction quick and everyone pays their way.

    Really depends on the ppl I'm with.

    I've come to learn that one of my friends is cheap and will take me/others for a ride with money. It's so against my nature, but I've had to train myself to be really "stingy" with her. All the $5,$10, $20 etc that I'm out of pocket all added up and it was never ever reciprocated..which was the ultimate issue. I could not bring myself to ask for $5 so now i just avoid putting myself in that situation.

    Then there's another friend and I'm telling her off for transferring me money after a night of taking rounds cos I'm sure she spent more than me and she's convinced i did. Neither of us are bothered really cos we know that we'll both spend on eachother.

    Point is, your approach with money and friends depends on their behaviour and the group dynamic. And you use different approaches for different ppl. But if you think you're being taken for a ride, you probably are.

    Next time just be like "oh hey i only got one plate, here's $15" and if they're mature ppl,they'll understand it's only fair.

    • +3 votes

      Same as me, different friends need different treatment. When I go out with friends who drink a lot, while I don't, then I will order more sides and desserts. I still end up paying more, but at least I still get extra stuffs to eat.

      However, when I order more, and my friends only order 1 thing, then I'd say to her, I ordered an extra drink, so here's the extra.

      One time I went out with a bunch of friends and we ordered a lot of alcohol. Some people didn't drink at all, some drank like it was the last time they could drink, and some were just being social. So this girl grabbed the bill, split the food evenly, and then said, ok, you 2 didn't drink at all, just pay for the food. You 3 drank a little, pay $20 extra. And the rest of you, pay $40 extra each. It was very fair and good on her. Everybody was happy.

  • +4 votes

    Use to have this problem with my ex's family. Some of them would drink and eat the more expensive meals and I would end up subsidizing it.
    I used to then make sure I would eat a more expensive meal and dessert.
    I remember my ex saying one night after dinner how cheap the meal was as he had a main dessert and a couple of beers.
    I politely told him that it was cheap for him as others at the table didn't drink and only had a main.

    • +39 votes

      Amazing how some people can be completely oblivious, isn't it?

    • +2 votes

      I used to then make sure I would eat a more expensive meal and dessert.

      It's no wonder restaurants have "No split bills" policies. It's a profitable culture for them!

      • -3 votes

        how? the restaurant still needs to give out the change. the payer pockets it

        • +4 votes

          Because it incentivises customers to order more so as to extract more value from their share of an equally split bill.


          We definitely need a Gonski…


          @Scrooge McDuck: I always thought it was to avoid drama and involvement of the business. Also, when paying by card, multiple splits probably means multiple surcharges, which would add up quickly.


          @no not me: depends. Isn't the EFTPOS charge generally around 20c. And Mastercard or Visa is generally charged at a %, So 10 payments of $10 could cost the company the same as 1 payment of $100.

          And really, by saying you can't pay for only your meal, would the restaurant turn away diners that would want to eat by themselves?


    Usually with my friends if we do a banquet or something where everyone's bill is a similar account we split because it's easiest. But if everyone is having something different we pay our own. I have been out with people who do what your friends do and it pissed me off. Luckily they weren't my main friends as I would have to say something.

  • +5 votes

    I won't/don't subsidise others when out…I only pay for my own unless its my shout or I am with close family.

  • +1 vote

    Hill of Grace or Grange? lol

  • +17 votes

    I go out with a group of 4-10 of us (depending on who can make it) and when we get the bill, we go around one by one and put in cash. Usually everyone* rounds up a bit ($13 order would pt $15 down), so whoever ends up paying on card makes some money, but we are all adults and all trust each other and ourselves to put a fair amount down.

    *tho if a $2 coin is sitting there and I paid $13 and put down $15, I would take it. But similarly, if I saw someone put $15 down when they owed $13, and the $2 coin was there, id tell them to take it.

    They kind of let me oversee the bill too. My friends all know I'm stingy and tbh, I don't care. They know I'm stingy for everyone, and therefore fair, and they trust that I won't let anyone rip anyone else off (though I don't think any of us want to rip the others off…)

    • +6 votes

      i wanna be your friend


      im stingy myself however whats different is I hate myself for being stingy. I want to be like "CheapskateQueen" above. I want that personality. However personalities are innate so its hard to change. sad face.

  • +4 votes

    Pretty confident everyone on this forum will side with you. You don't really join if you like paying more for stuff. Or paying for other people in your case.

    • +1 vote

      This. It seems like a lot of ozbargainers are more concerned about money and value they get with the cost than going out and having fun with friends.

      • +12 votes

        Are you saying you would be happy to constantly pay 100%+ more for your dinner and put the extra cost down to the premium you must part with to spend time with "friends"?

        Hand in your ozbargain login immediately!

      • +3 votes

        Nah not true.

        Think the consensus here is that if in general it balances out over time, it's fine to be down sometimes and up sometimes and cater your behaviour to different group dynamics.

        We're not the stingy ones. What we're saying is be careful of the actual stingy ones, or the selfishly oblivious ones "who don't realise" they're constantly getting a free ride.

        It also goes hand in hand with being mindful of different budgets that ppl have when deciding where to go/what to do. Some ppl I'll spend $100 on an event, and another we tend to just catch up for a walk and coffee cos we wanna catch up and it's better for her that it's on the cheap. I think it's a matter of being an adult and respecting people.

      • +3 votes

        It seems like a lot of ozbargainers are more concerned about money and value they get with the cost than going out and having fun with friends.

        Why would you want to go out when you can spend every night on your computer browsing deals with all your cool friends on OzBargain??


        get off your high horse

      • +2 votes

        Or we don't have to pay people to be our friends…

  • +7 votes

    Don't go out with them.
    I have faced this issue with mates where I don't drink alcohol and they would order 4 rounds each costing approx. $40 each person.
    Gave up with them.

  • +5 votes

    offer to pay the entire bill on your credit card and earn points… and only put in the amount that you ordered and ask everyone else for their share.

    take control

  • +1 vote

    I have on occasion,

    asked the restaurant to run a separate drink tab at the bar,

    once dinner is over the drink bill will be split amongst those that drank. it's easy to say you didn't drink in that respect and not contribute.

    as most have said. it's not really the about the process of splitting bills but rather the friends you are splitting the bills with.

  • +6 votes

    I find it sorta depends who I'm with and the event.

    Some groups of friends, we just pay for what we ordered. Usually i find this is dependent on a) closeness to the people in the entire group and b) their occupations…

    …Because with the other friends, who all have essentially the same jobs (i.e income), we literally just split the cost evenly

    Feel you pain though - i've been stung by this once. We all went out for a birthday dinner, I had simple/thirfty dinner (i used to order a 2-person share plate for myself as it was the most cost effective item on the menu but delicious) and 1 drink because the drinks were unnecessarily expensive and I knew we would also go for beers afterwards. Whereas other people ordered starters, cocktails, etc and then these same others agreed to split the bill evenly and also pay for the birthday boy. I was extremely unimpressed (with the 1st part), as I ended up paying >2x what I'd actually ordered. I couldn't even voice my complaint because I was the odd one out in not having ordered heaps. Hence my comment that you need to judge the event

    • +2 votes

      Also got stung (I'm not a sucker haha) when we had a HUGE group of people and then people paid separately. I went to the bathroom and ended up being the last person to pay, and got lumped with an extra $40 I hadn't ordered because we had outstanding drinks on the tab. You can't even track down who they belonged to because we were in a group of 20 people.

      So the opposite pay-for-what-you-order can also be dangerous!

  • +5 votes

    So, are they your "mates" or your mates?

    I guess you choose to continue to hang around with them for a reason. If that reason doesn't outweigh the extra cost for your dinner, then stop hanging out with them.

    I say to myself that with a group of close mates, everything evens out in the end - plus or minus a few bucks here and there which doesn't really bother me or any of them at all. And it may or may not simply be that I do have a close group of great friends, because I can honestly say that it does even out.


    We had a friend who was weird at gatherings or dinners. At bring-a-plate events he would bring a bag of kettle chips or a roast chicken, be reluctant to share it, but still eat other foods.

    At dinner there was one time we decided beforehand we would split the bill evenly, so he got a $70+ sushi boat for 2, he did share some, but at the majority of it.

    At a wedding, he gave $50 to the wishing well, when it would have cost at least $150 a head (but perhaps he didn't realise).

    I think he's changed a bit now because he has a good job, back then he was a povo uni student.

    • +8 votes

      Being on a tight budget is not a reason to deliberately rip other people off.


      Weird neg. I wasn't condoning the behaviour, just explaining why I think he did it.

      We don't even go out with him anymore (partly) because of it.

    • +2 votes

      Are people really expected to cover their costs at a wedding? Given I consider most of the cost to be a complete waste of money, I kinda agree with them on this (not the rest of their behaviour though!).

  • +8 votes

    Personally, I don't see why you wouldn't say something. I get it that some people are uncomfortable "causing a scene" but seriously, if they are your friends it shouldn't be a problem. Don't make a big deal of it, just say "hey, I ordered a $13 dish so here is $15 for my share". This is assuming you didn't actually share in all the dishes and just ate your own. And especially when it comes to drinkers/non-drinkers it's a no-brainer. "Guys, I didn't have any drinks so here is $15 for my share of the food." You need to be matter-of-fact about it like it's obvious that this is the way to do it (which it is IMO).

  • +1 vote

    It might also be worth a shot, mixing things up. Next time you're with a group, maybe try not eating with them. Just say, yeah nah I'm fine. Not hungry today. They'll likely notice the difference in price. And soon realize, that they've overlooked something (That something, being you and your meal.)

    It's just a passive aggressive way to get their attention tbh.

    Try it !

    • +2 votes

      Trust me. People are dense.

      Someone did that I'd think exactly what they've said - they aren't hungry.

      I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday let alone a bill that was split with friends 6+ months ago.

      It's better to be up front and say exactly what you mean and provide a solution.

      Hey guys, I'll just get my own drinks from the bar. I'm on a fitness kick, driving, have an early start and don't want to get into shouts. Do you guys mind if I just order my main separately to you guys tonight. On a diet, not that hungry. On a budget. Basically - name your phrase.

  • +5 votes

    Best thing to do is ask for the cheque yourself - have a quick look and see what you ordered ($13) add your $2 for the tip and put it on the plate, pass the bill on to the next person to do the same. Basically from the start, set the expectation to the table that everyone is paying for what they consumed. Don't let someone else take charge and do their own math. If they question it, speak up and say "sorry guys - I just don't eat and drink as much as the rest of you! Trying to watch my weight, you know!" (or some other sort of joke to lighten the mood, you're doing the right thing).

  • +1 vote

    It really depends. Best to decide and make it clear at the beginning of the meal if you're having your own thing or sharing.

  • +1 vote

    No its rude of your friends not to notice and adjust for the ones eating/ordering less.

    Where the values are close, yeah just do it. But when its vastly different, adjustments need to be made.

    There are drinkers out there who go out to team/friends dinners/meals while everyone else does not drink or drink a bit… don't speak up at the end and offer to pay more. Those guys are highly ignorant or just selfish

  • +2 votes

    Yeah this definitely pisses me off because I don't drink at all and when I go out if its a big group some people might order 2 alcholic drinks ($30) and then their meal plus dessert ($30) and if all I ordered was a single dish ($15) (profanity) off if I pay for your drink. If it's shared meals all round then I'd be like we'll split the food (because it was shared) but if you ordered drinks pay for your own drink. Majority of the time this works out fine. Its not fair for you to pay that much and you should just be upfront about it. If they're really your friends they won't begrudge you.

  • +1 vote

    Order two lobsters and a bottle of dom

  • +19 votes

    If your friends are Asian and are really good friends, you'll all be fighting to pay the whole amount.

  1. greenpossum on 17/05/2017 - 22:27
  2. Ughhh on 17/05/2017 - 22:28
  3. iforgotmysocks on 18/05/2017 - 08:21
  4. ThithLord on 18/05/2017 - 07:39
  5. John Kimble on 17/05/2017 - 23:09