Awkward money moments

It's happened to us all. We get ourselves into awkward money moments. It's easy to do. It’s how you skillfully get out of them that saves you face and money.
We all know this one:  You are part of a big group dinner. And everyone wants to equally divide the check, but you ate at home to save money.  Then, there is the out-of-town expensive wedding of a good friend that you simply can't afford. Or, how about this - you feel pressure at work to chip in on a group gift that - again - you can't afford it.
OK, how do you get out of these? Let's start with the group gift because this is the easiest. You simply say you're getting your own gift. It's that easy. You don't have to explain why. And if you can't afford one, then you get a card or send a personal message. It's OK. Don't stress.

This one is trickier, but there are some easy ways out. Be up front before a big group dinner where the ticket will be split. Say, ‘I don't really eat much at dinner. I'll get a separate check’. Or, this is what my friend and I do: She doesn't drink alcohol and, as you know, drinks are expensive. So, if I have wine, we split the check and I pay the whole tip.
Now the toughest one here is a good friend's out-of-town, expensive wedding.  First let this survey from American Express on wedding costs to the guests sink in.
If you're in the wedding party, survey says, it'll cost you more than $500 for tux rental, bridal showers, that sort of thing. If you're simply a guest? Not much of a break there. Expect to spend $539 - that's up 59 percent just in the last few
If you can't afford to make the trip, then be upfront with the bride or groom early in the process. You can't go into debt over someone else's wedding. Maybe you can plan a less expensive girls' get-away weekend after the wedding. But, don't back out after they've spent money on you as a guest. That's not fair.
If you really want to go, cut costs. Don't buy a new expensive outfit. Honestly, it's the bride's day. All eyes are on her. Hotel costs - split a room. Lots of folks just like you want to save money. Or try something like AirBnB (LINK 1) where you can rent at a discounted rate someone's home who might be out of town that same weekend.

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