The Moneyologist: Is my golfing buddy the cheapest guy in America? He asked me to Venmo him $1.50
Our local public golf course charges a fee of $ 3 for advance reservations. I agreed to play with an acquaintance who made the reservation. When we arrived to play on Saturday, the pro shop charged us both the regular fee for 18 holes of golf (around $ 45 each), but charged only my partner the $ 3 reservation fee. They did not charge me the $ 3 fee, but we only discovered this later.
After the golf was finished and we had gone our separate ways, he texted to tell me that I had forgotten to pay him my half of his reservation fee, since I never paid my own $ 3. I apologized and said that I would pay him $ 1.50 the next time we played. He said he was going on vacation and persisted. He asked if I used Venmo. I said, “No, what is Venmo?” He said, “Ask your kids. My friends and I use it to settle up when we buy tickets.”
I registered for Venmo and sent him $ 1.50, but I felt like the request was rude and small-minded. Am I being too sensitive? Should I play with him again?
Avid golfer and onetime Venmo User
This was his $ 3 fee to pay, not yours. You can pay your $ 3 the next time you play golf there.
When we socialize with friends we sign up to a social contract. We are polite, we ask how they are, we don’t ask each other intrusive questions, we respect each other’s personal boundaries and we show up when we say we will. In terms of finance, we remember to repay money we owe each other, we offer to pay a little more if we had a dessert or a glass of wine and our friend didn’t (if they say, “Let’s split it 50/50,” we demure) and we try not to borrow large sums of money, or get antsy over a tiny sum. Navigating money and friendship is complex.
Also see: Can I use a coupon-for-two during a double date?
My MarketWatch colleague Jillian Berman previously looked at this penchant for stinginess among some users of Venmo, a mobile payment service similar to PayPal that allows you to transfer money to your friends. She wrote that cheapskate-itis is more than just a fear of not ever having enough. (Hillary Clinton grew up with very little and some have posited that her post-Secretary of State side career earning millions of dollars giving Wall Street speeches could have been fueled by this formative experience.) Did your golf buddy’s father or grandfather grow up in the Great Depression? Even if he did, the Moneyologist isn’t buying this as an excuse.
Apps don’t nickel and dime people. People nickel and dime people. Venmo is great for settling debts. Forget your wallet, but not your phone? Boom! Here’s half the check sent to you before we even leave the restaurant. No small bills? Boom! I’ll Venmo it rather than telling you that I’ll give it to you later when (as often happens) we will both forget who owed who what. But insisting on a $ 1.50 payment after playing 18 holes of a golf, which wouldn’t cover the tip on a bar tab afterwards, is downright curmudgeonly. They didn’t charge you the $ 3, but now you have to pay half of his?
Read: My husband’s credit rating is ruining our marriage
Find another golfing partner. Someone who nitpicks over this fee might also nitpick you to death over a missed putt or dispute your golf handicap: $ 1.50 is a small price to pay to avoid that.
Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyologist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).
Would you like to sign up to an email alert when a new Moneyologist column has been published? If so, click on this link.