GETTING together with friends, family or colleagues for a meal is one of the things we love most about eating out. Sharing and enjoying delicious food and wine is a great mood booster, but when it’s time for the bill, things can be a little less fun.MAKE THE INVITATION VERY CLEARWhen arranging a meal out, use very clear language to indicate how the meal will be paid for. Phrases such as “Can I buy you dinner” or “Let’s share some sushi on Friday night” are good indicators to your guest about the bill situation.BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS’ FINANCIAL SITUATIONThere are times for all of us when eating in a nice restaurant is an expense we can’t really afford. Think about your friends and colleagues before choosing a very fancy meal — some may be students, or saving for a new car.It can be helpful to say: “It would be great to go out for a meal sometime soon, our favourite pizza restaurant has a great special on Tuesday nights.”DECIDE ON THE TERMS BEFORE ARRIVING AT THE RESTAURANTThere are a few common ways to share the bill:• Share the bill in equal parts. Four friends each pay 25% plus tip. This is great if you all had similar amounts of wine and food.• Share the food amount in equal parts while each guest pays for their own drinks. This is ideal if some friends don’t drink alcohol, or some drink beer while others drink wine.• Each person pays for exactly what they ordered. This can be a pain, but it is also the most fair, and sometimes the best in a group of six or more friends.• Take turns to pay the bill. If you and your bestie go out together, why not take turns to pay the bill. This way, every second meal is a “free” one, while you can give your friend a nice treat on all the alternate meals.TIME TO PAY• Always add 10-12% tip to your portion of the bill. It is easy to forget about the waiter when doing all the maths.• Don’t ask the waiter for split bills. It’s not the waiter’s responsibility to sort out which way the bill is split.• Never fight over the bill. It is more common for people to fight over who IS paying for the bill, rather than who ISN’T paying. Either way, it’s embarrassing for everyone involved. — Food24.