Skinflint. Money-grubber. Modern-day George Costanza
. Scrooge McDuck
. If you've ever been out with a friend who skips out on the bill, doesn't pay her share of the bar tab, or has never even offered to split cab fare with you, you know good and well these are all just different ways of saying "cheapskate."
To be clear: The cheapskate is not your friend who just got laid off and suddenly finds herself without the funds to go out for a round of drinks. If you're not willing to help a sister out who's in that situation, perhaps it is time to look at your own inner miser to find out why.
Rather, the cheapskate is the friend who, while being gainfully employed, kind to both the elderly and animals and willing to listen to your boyfriend sob stories at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday, simply cannot bring herself to pay for her fair share of anything when the two of you (or the group of you) hit the town.
You've been there: You're out for a group dinner with the members of your urban knitting squad. You've got $12 on you, so you order the breadsticks. Meanwhile, girlfriend orders an appetizer, four beers, the surf n' turf and a couple of desserts and then suggests you all split the bill evenly. Not only that, she only throws in for the cost of the food, conveniently forgetting tax and tip. Arrugh!
What to do when confronted with this frustrating and potentially friendship-busting behavior? You want to keep the friendship, but you don't want to seethe with resentment or go without your monthly manicure to compensate for your tightwad friend. In addition, you don't want to appear cheap yourself by bringing it up.
Alanna Kalb, author of "Stuff Every Woman Should Know
," advises that there are several ways to approach the issue. "If you're comfortable calling a friend out on stingy behavior, go for it (but don't be surprised if she's offended or defensive)," she says.
Otherwise, try cutting her off at the pass and not even giving her an opportunity to shirk her share. "When ordering at a restaurant, tell the waiter right away that you'll need separate checks," Kalb suggests. "If it's a large group, suggest at the beginning of the meal that everyone split the bill evenly. When the check arrives, don't even let her near it. Divide it up and tell her what she owes."