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July 16, 2021

When it comes time to pay the bill, who gets to use the coupon?

Presh Talwalkar, the mind behind the site Mind Your Decisions likes to use game theory to back up everday decision-making.

AdFor instance, it's Friday night and you’re out for dinner with a few friends. When it comes time to split the bill, out comes that coupon that's been burning a hole in your pocket.

Here's the question: Should the $$ offered reduce the entire group bill, or only how much you pay individually?

Does it make any difference if it's a gift card; a Groupon-like voucher that you purchased; or a discount from a previous visit?

Here's his take, practical as always. What's yours?

–If you have a gift card or free appetizer, just get a separate tab and use the coupon for yourself. It will avoid any awkwardness of people who want to start arguments.

–If you have a “buy one, get one free,” then talk to someone in advance about getting a separate tab. Split the savings roughly evenly.

–If you have a $10 off a $50 bill, or similar coupon, then it depends on your order. If you can manage with just one other person, then get a separate tab and use the coupon. Otherwise, just let the coupon reduce the total bill for everyone.

What are your thoughts on coupons when it comes to splitting dining costs? Or do you just use them on family outings where there's no issue?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...