We’ve all been through it during our life, those unpleasant money moments that cause you to feel less than two inches tall. In the event you haven’t ever been humiliated over having a penny too short.—- feel blessed! The ultimate worst money moment I’ve experienced (and it has occurred more than once) is cashing out groceries and not having enough funds to pay for the bill. This generally takes place when there is a line of people impatiently waiting behind me looking to flee the store and I’m keeping them from arriving at their important date. Being required to ask the cashier to take off a few products so I can manage to pay for the rest of the groceries is an extremely humbling experience!
I thought it might be fun to discuss a recent survey taken by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin revealing the most awkward money moments. Evidently, having a credit card declined ranks #1 on the list. The study was conducted online within the United States from June 4th – 6th, 2012, among 2,415 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
While getting a credit card declined is the most awkward money moment for 40 percent of U.S. adults, a variety of other sticky money situations made the list as well including:
- Feeling pressured to donate to a charity on behalf of a co-worker, family member or friend – 34 percent
- Saying no to giving money to a panhandler or beggar – 30 percent
- Feeling pressured to chip in on a group gift at work, like for a baby shower or wedding shower – 26 percent
- Sharing salary/wage amounts with co-workers – 25 percent
- Splitting a dinner bill or check with a large group of people – 17 percent
- Figuring out a gift to get a partner for special occasions, like a first anniversary or a first birthday together – 13 percent
I can surely sympathize with all those awkward moments above, particularly the one feeling pressured to donate to a charity on behalf of a co-worker, family member or friend. However, yet another incident not making the list is turning down a colleague who asked you to purchase something on behalf of their child out of those school fundraising pamphlets. It tends to make you feel like a cheapskate and you’ve got to work with that individual on a daily basis! It’s far better applying for a second mortgage to get the extra cash and just buying anything from the brochure in lieu of saying NO!
Nonetheless, Jackie Warrick, President and Chief Savings Officer at CouponCabin.com, has got some excellent advice when it comes to sensitive money matters. “It’s inevitable that some financial situations can be tinged with tension, but honesty is always the best policy, ” Warrick additionally says “Respect your budget and trust your gut to make the right decision. Don’t feel pressured to spend money on something or share something you’d rather not, and expect others to do the same.” Apparently, Jackie hasn’t worked with some of the individuals I have in the past and received the wrath of unpleasantry cheapskate stare downs!
Keeping yourself open is vital to defusing uncomfortable money moments, but they’re likely to still occur in some social situations. When asked to identify their specific most awkward money moments, U.S. adults from a random sample mentioned the following:
- I participated in a Christmas gift exchange at my job, but I was the only one who didn’t receive a gift because we had an odd number of employees.
- Knowing someone owes me money, but not being sure how to go about reminding him or her.
- Having a $100.00 bill and not being able to purchase anything because the store didn’t have change.
- I reached a tollbooth and realized that I didn’t have any cash to pay the toll.
- Attempted to pay for a company dinner and my credit card was declined.
- Anytime I am tasked at work for collecting for gifts for people that no one likes or knows.
- Attending a jewelry party at a friend’s house and having the company host pressure me to purchase things so my friend could get more free stuff.
- One of my kids borrowed money from another parent and they did not tell me. Then the parent asked me for money and it was very awkward.
- Receiving wedding or graduation invitations for people we hardly know or their children, which are obviously just for the gift.
- Splitting a dinner bill when I only had a salad and water while the other party had filet mignon, a large appetizer and wine.
What was your most awkward money moment and how did you stay cool under pressure?