The Only 2 Apps You Need to Avoid Awkwardness When the Bill Arrives

Over the holidays, eight friends and I rented a cabin for the weekend. Everyone brought different things to contribute for snacks, drinks, and all the other good stuff you need for a weekend away. We also went out to eat a few times at places where we couldn’t split the check. Instead of worrying about who owed what, we left it up to a couple of apps to simplify everything. And wow, did it make a difference! There were no uncomfortable conversations about money and we were left to enjoy the weekend.


1. Splitwise


To save someone from feeling like they spent more or having any kind of awkward encounters, we all entered everything we’d bought for the weekend into Splitwise, a free app that made splitting all our expenses so much easier.


It calculated how much each person owed another and simplified the entire process. The best part is that each person ended up only paying one or two other people, as opposed to eight or nine, and there was no math involved!


Splitwise Dashboard


How it works: You create a group based on who you’ll be splitting things with and each person adds their expenses, or doesn’t if they don’t have anything to add. Once all expenses are added, you click “Settle Up,” and the amount you owe and the person you owe it to pops up. From there, you can choose to pay them through Venmo, Paypal, or record a cash transaction. And that’s it.


The pros: Splitwise’s tagline “IOUs made easy” rings true. There’s no math involved! Just enter how much you spent, settle up, and you’ll know exactly how much you owe or are owed. You’re also able to select just how many people to split things between as well, in case not everyone needs to contribute.


The cons: You can’t pay within the app. You have to use another app to transfer money or pay them in cash.


2. Venmo


Venmo’s a lifesaver for those of us who perpetually never carry any cash, which is problematic when paying back a friend for getting takeout or contributing to the cost of gas on a long roadtrip. It takes away the need to remember to pay someone back next time you see them, which inevitably many of us forget to do.


What is Venmo?


How it works: Select a contact, choose how much to send them, list what you’re paying them for, and click send. Your money will be securely transferred to them and they can choose to “cash out” and have the money deposited in their account.


The pros: It’s a quick way to pay someone back when you forget cash or don’t have exact change. You’re also able to include a note about what you’re paying for, though many use this feature to include funny inside jokes or emojis.


The cons: The other person must have the app in order to transfer money to them. The homepage of the Venmo app is similar to a Facebook feed, which allows any of your contacts to see who you’re paying and what you’re paying them for, and has gained Venmo the title of being the “ultimate social network for voyeurs and gossips.”