Monday, January 16, 2012

Who Is Paying For the Meal?

It is great to hang out and eat out with your friends once in a while. It not only helps to relax by recalling many fond memories but also you could discuss many of the favorite topics with them. Once you get together in a nice restaurant and enjoy a lovely meal in one of these exotic settings, the question arises who is responsible for the check? I know it seems lowly and cheap to even discuss this issue. But I think someone should dare to break down this social taboo to make things simpler and understandable for everyone. 

There are instances in which it is quite obvious who should be responsible for the bill. Sometimes, who invites everybody for a specific reason, like a birthday or any other purpose, will take the lead. Also, in our culture the most senior person, either in a title or a position, will take the responsibility. However, when you are with friends and all of you are on equal social footing and all, doesn’t it seem odd that once everybody has eaten and savored their meal, some people are hoping that someone else will pay the bill? Yea, yea, yea, I know people would say, “What kind of a person would do that?” But deep inside ask yourself this question, “Did I or didn’t I?”

In some cases, someone becomes more responsible than others. This means, he would pay much more than others. This also means that if everybody else pays more, someone would also go scot free; means pay nothing for his meal. And in some instances, when the bill comes, some people would find an excuse to visit the rest room or get the most important phone call on their cell. Also, if nobody knows who would be footing the bill and how much, when the check arrives, someone would seem concerned for paying the bill and asking everybody else to chip in and some would even seem oblivious to who would be paying, after enjoying such a great meal. Also, in some cases, it seems that the same person is paying for everybody’s meal all the time. That is just not reasonable. 

So that is exactly that I would like to discuss, that there should be some ground rules for all these get togethers. Everybody should know who would be paying for the meal. I think for these general outings, it should be the Dutch system. That everybody pays for their orders. That way people should be responsible for what they eat. And do not order more than they would eat. The second option could be that everybody in the group should take turn. This could be a little unjust, but still better than not paying or paying for everyone’s food all the time. 

I know some people would say that who cares for these things among friends. That is a pretty valid question. But I know if these small things are not considered early on, they would result in bigger problems and people would become disillusioned and stay away from these friendly get together. Everybody should be made aware of the situation. That way, if they can afford to eat in that restaurant and be part of the group, they would come and if they can’t, they wouldn’t, without hurting anybody’s feelings.

Getting Out of the Debt (i)

In my previous articles, I have gone over explaining the benefits of living debt free. Here, I‘ll try to go over how to get out of the debt, if someone has any. As mentioned earlier, it is quite easy to get into the debt. However, it is awfully difficult to get out of one. 

These days, credit cards are being used quite frequently for purchases ranging from everyday use to the luxury items. Sometimes, people walk into the store and something catches their eye. They may not have the cash on hand but they want that item so bad that they can’t wait to have it. And then comes out the credit card. 

Now, the above situation could be taken in two instances. One, that the individual has the money but does not have access to it until a later time, but has the ability to pay back the credit card. And one, who does not have the money, but hopes that he, would get the money from somewhere to pay for the credit card at a later time. These are two extremely different situations. 

Credit cards should not be used for ‘instant gratification’. They should be used for extreme emergencies. Don’t use credit cards if you cannot pay for the purchases 100 percent. Extreme care should be taken while making purchases with the credit cards. The interest rates on credit cards are huge. Once you have made a purchase with a credit card, and tried to pay back in installments, you would have paid back many times over for that single purchase to the credit card company. 

Let’s say that someone has got into the ‘guilty pleasure’ of making a luxury item purchase with a credit card. Well, for once, stop every other purchase and make priority of paying back to the credit card company as fast as you can. It would seem like you have fallen behind in your life for paying but if you didn’t pay the credit card quickly, the suffering of paying in installments would continue. So be prudent and wise and think through in spending the credit card money. Believe me, it is not ‘free money’, as some would suggest. 

Once you have taken the debt out from a credit card company, make a plan of paying back the money. And stick to that plan. And once you have fulfilled the commitment of paying back, don’t make the mistake of getting in, just for the sake of it. Even in these modern times, cash is still the king. Try staying within your ‘means’. Life will be simpler and easy-going. There will no running around, getting worried regarding monthly credit card payments. 

If you do have the money, and are living large, that is great and enjoy your life. But if you don’t have the money but are trying to live large, don’t worry ‘bout it. Nobody has the right to judge you based on what you are wearing, driving and what not. So don’t over-burden yourself and spend the money which you don’t have. Just take your time; everything will come your way sooner or later, if it is meant to be.  Be thankful for what you have and always believe in yourself.