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How good are your money manners?

Money can often decide the equation between people, so it’s important to tread carefully when dealing with it. Thankfully, we’ve got some handy rules that can help unwrinkle tricky situations.

Money isn’t just a financial tool, but also a cultural one. How we speak about it, spend it, and share it says a lot about us. Money talks, as they say, so here’s how one can master the language.

Splitting the bill

Who knew that paying for a meal could be so complex? Should you split the amount equally, pay only for what you’ve had, or offer to pay the entire bill? If it’s a professional meeting and you’ve invited someone to dine with you, you should ideally pick up the tab. This is particularly true if the person is your junior at work. 

If it’s a group dinner, decide how the bill should be split in advance. If you’d rather just pay for what you eat, mention it politely and in advance to the person who has planned the event. It’s also advisable to carry cash, which makes divvying up the bill easier. 

Lending and borrowing

Remember that saying ‘Neither lender nor borrower is?’ While it seems rather strict, it’s true that money complicates relationships. If you must borrow, be sure to pay it back as and when promised. If you must lend, loan only what you can afford and be very clear about the terms of repayment. Come to an agreement about when the loan will be repaid, whether it will be returned in parts or in full, and so on. It might feel like an uncomfortable conversation, but you’d rather have it now than let a relationship go sour later. 


Given the slew of taxes and charges at the end of any bill, one can be forgiven for pursuing one’s lips as tightly as one’s purse strings. Yet, here’s something to bear in mind – the service charge and tip aren’t the same things. While the first is (ideally) distributed among the entire staff, a tip is something you can leave behind for your server as a show of appreciation for the service rendered. 

In India, the ideal tip hovers between 7-10% of the bill, but bear in mind that this varies from one country to another.

The amount that ought to be left as a tip varies depending on the country you’re in. 

Finances with your partner

From paying on the first date to splitting household expenses, love and money often make an awkward pair. At Basis, we believe that there’s no reason a woman shouldn’t take the initiative or pick up the cheque. When it comes to managing the household, here’s what we recommend – maintain a joint account for mutual expenses like the rent and EMIs, and individual investments for your personal interests and needs, such as a retirement fund. We always advise clients to create financial plans for two entities – their families and themselves. 

Talking about money

In a country where the concept of privacy doesn’t exist, chances are that money is a frequent topic of discussion. However, not everyone feels comfortable talking numbers. So, while it’s fine to casually ask acquaintances how much they spent on a dress or a holiday, avoid bringing up questions about income and property unless it’s with someone who is part of your inner circle. 

Here’s another rule worth sticking by – neither brag about money nor complain about it. Remember, your audience might just be better or worse off than you are. Wealth expresses itself in many ways, and attitude is one of the most visible ones. Master your approach to money, and you’ll be all the richer for it.