How to Avoid Financial Arguments with Friends and Family

The saying is a debt paid is a saved friend, so RelayRides blogger Amanda L.Grossman shares her tips to better save money, reimburse people and split costs.

When it comes to money, everyone has different values, priorities, and resources. Add transactions into your relationships, and you can see the potential for money to cause financial friction. There are a few different types of arguments that can creep up when friends and family members make shared transactions and attempt to exchange cash, such as: who will ‘pick up the tab’, how to split a bill between different participants, and getting everyone comfortable with the actual cost of items or services being exchanged. Some people don’t even carry cash anymore (finger pointing to self), which can make these types of situations even trickier. Though it may not be as popular or as widely used as cash, there are several options available in order to fairly exchange money between family and friends that should smooth the process over and avoid any hurt feelings. Let’s take a look at what’s out there:


This super simple app enables you to send money in a click to your friends who are registered. Signing up takes five minutes, and users can hold money in their Venmo account, or choose to “cash out” to their registered synchronized checking account with changes reflected overnight. As soon as one person pays another user, the latter gets a text message, notifying him/her of the transaction. No fees, no minimum amount.


This is a service that works with your bank account to allow you to send money by email and/or text. Your recipient just needs to open the email/text message to find directions for how to get the money into their bank account. In case their bank does not work with PopMoney, they can still get the funds by other means through the website. Picking up money is free, and sending payments is $0.95. There’s also a free PopMoney App


This is a money transferring service that is free for transactions of less than $10, and $0.25 otherwise. Interestingly in this service, the recipient pays the cost instead of the person sending the money (though you have the choice to change this and pay the fee instead). Two things to keep in mind are that the recipient must have a Dwolla account in order to receive the funds, and there is no option to pay via credit card or debit card (it is based on bank accounts only). You can send money to email addresses, phone numbers, LinkedIn connections, Twitter followers, and any business that accepts Dwolla. There’s also a free Dwolla App


If you are regularly splitting up payments between people, then this free app is another option. Basically you set up groups for sharing expenses (such as monthly bills for roommates), and then add people who will be responsible for these bills on an ongoing basis. You then use this app to split and track bills, lend and borrow money, and send out regular reminders (sure beats having to nag).

Apps to Help Split the Bill

There are several free apps out there that can help you to quickly split up a bill when dining out at a restaurant in a group, or perhaps if you went in with a group to purchase a large gift for someone. Tip Calculator is a free app specifically for restaurants, and will even include the tip in the calculation. If you are trying to split up the costs of a trip taken with a group, then your go-to app can be the Trip Splitter ($0.99…but could save a lot of headaches!).

The final way that you can stop financial arguments or tension before it happens is by making sure you get the cost of the service/product that is being divvied up to be as low as possible. You can use services such as to purchase discounted gift certificates for the restaurant you are all going to and take the discount off of the entire bill. If you are splitting the cost of a rental car, then definitely check out RelayRides where prices are 40% cheaper across the board from traditional rental agencies. Also, check out this article for ways to cut down on the cost of trips.