Eating out with the group - how do you break up the bill?
So, it dosen't happen often, but my husband and I occasionally go out with friends for someone's birthday party or some other special event. Usually, it's a invitation through facebook, a "come join me at such and such a place for my birthday." Since not of us are rich, you often start out with the assumption that everybody is going to be footing the bill, instead of one person hosting the party. My husband and I are pretty frugal when we go out to eat. No alcohol, no drinks, no appetizers and no dessert. My husband is also a vegetarian. When we eat out I usually order a sandwich or something - no more then $15 meal. The problem with these group things is that everyone is ordering everything under the sun. They order drinks, they order a bunch of appetizers and sometimes they order expensive dinners. Then the bill comes. Some people only have a credit card. Some people overpay and then you have those that underpay. Plus, it's customary to pay for the meal of the person whose birthday it is. Well, we have situations everytime where we come up short. We had one birthday party where the bday boy looked at the table and said "we are this much short". Meanwhile, the people ordered a bunch of appetizers that were meat filled, which mean my husband couldn't have them. People ordered drinks that we didn't have. We wound up putting in another $50. I hate the akward moment at the end of the meal when everyone is trying to add up what they owe. I don't want to seem cheap either. However, I thought about asking for a seperate check just to make calcultions easier. What do you do when you go out with a group?