We asked TheStreet.com (opens in new tab) financial guru Farnoosh Torabi, author of You're So Money, how to navigate a few sticky predicaments.
Q: Can I turn down a request to sponsor my officemate's breast-cancer run-walk without sounding like Scrooge?
A: Gently decline by complimenting the cause, then explaining, "I wish I could, but I've already used up my annual charity budget. Otherwise, I'd go broke giving to every cool nonprofit." Finish the letdown by promising you'll help spread the word and that you'll consider her cause in the new year.
Q: I'm a lightweight, so I dread group outings where people inevitably order rounds of cocktails, then split the bill. How do I gracefully wiggle out of bankrolling somebody else's buzz?
A: Take control of the situation by schmoozing your server, then quietly requesting a separate check for your order. If anyone asks why you're keeping your own tab, explain that you're trying to get a better handle on your spending and need a receipt to keep track of your expenses.
Q: My boyfriend insists on footing our dinner bills — but he always stiffs the help. Should I slip them extra cash or confront my man about his tightwad tips?
A: Teach by example. Next time your guy attempts to tip with a wrinkly five-spot on a $50 dinner, insist that you'd like to leave the tip since he generously paid for the meal. As you lay down $10 (make sure he watches), respond to his raised brow by telling him you paid your way through college by busing tables and have a soft spot for the waitstaff. This way, you've started a conversation, not a confrontation.
Q: My supervisor gave me a really nice (read: expensive) birthday gift. Can I return the favor without becoming a brownnoser?
A: Heed the old cubicle adage "Never gift up" — meaning, shower gifts only on those who rank below you. However, if you and your boss are close, go with the always-appreciated gag gift — a Meat of the Month Club membership for the aging-frat-boy boss, for example. He'll walk away amused, with you to thank for it.
Q: I'm uncomfortable when coworkers talk bonuses. Is there a polite way to tell someone to butt out, or am I being too sensitive?
A: Money isn't as taboo as it once was, but you've still got every right to keep it confidential. Deflect the question by offering a cool brush-off like, "It's now bonus money for a clerk at Saks." If your friend is an earthling, she'll get the hint.
Click here for more from the MONEY CONFESSIONS PACKAGE (opens in new tab)
Real-Life Money Confessions (opens in new tab)
5 Secrets of the Highest-Paid Women (opens in new tab)
The Purse Diaries: What Women Spend (opens in new tab)
Nick Jonas Addressed How He Will "Embarrass" Daughter Malti When She's a Teenager
Thankfully, he has hard proof he's actually "Cool."
By Iris Goldsztajn
Rupert Grint Revealed His Daughter Has Her Own Harry Potter Robes: "Gryffindor, Obviously"
Stop, so cute.
By Iris Goldsztajn
The Foreo Bear Gave Me a Legit Jawline for the First Time in My Life
Prepare to be snatched and sculpted.
By Samantha Holender
Peloton’s Selena Samuela on Turning Tragedy Into Strength
Before becoming a powerhouse cycling instructor, Selena Samuela was an immigrant trying to adjust to new environments and new versions of herself.
By Emily Tisch Sussman
This Mutual Fund Firm Is Helping to Create a More Sustainable Future
Amy Domini and her firm, Domini Impact Investments LLC, are inspiring a greater and greener world—one investor at a time.
Power Players Build on Success
"The New Normal" left some brands stronger than ever. We asked then what lies ahead.
By Maria Ricapito
Don't Stress! You Can Get in Good Shape Money-wise
Yes, maybe you eat paleo and have mastered crow pose, but do you practice financial wellness?
By Sallie Krawcheck
The Book Club Revolution
Lots of women are voracious readers. Other women are capitalizing on that.
By Lily Herman
The Future of Women and Work
The pandemic has completely upended how we do our jobs. This is Marie Claire's guide to navigating your career in a COVID-19 world.
By Megan DiTrolio
Black-Owned Coworking Spaces Are Providing a Safe Haven for POC
For people of color, many of whom prefer to WFH, inclusive coworking spaces don't just offer a place to work—they cultivate community.
By Megan DiTrolio
Where Did All My Work Friends Go?
The pandemic has forced our work friendships to evolve. Will they ever be the same?
By Rachel Epstein