The Moneyist: My married friends only paid me one contribution for gas money after a road trip. Is this the cheapest couple in America?

United States

Dear Quentin,

This past weekend I went on a road trip with three friends. I am single. Another single friend and a married couple joined us. I offered to drive and agreed to split the cost of gas. We needed to fill up the tank four times. The couple calculated the total gas costs, but instead of splitting it four ways, they split it three ways. This doesn’t seem fair to me, but we didn’t discuss how the split would work before the trip. Should I say something?


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Dear Adrian,

Yes. Or, should I say, yes please.

It’s nice that they regard themselves as a team. But do not put up with this opportunistic-couple economics. Two backsides equal two contributions. In fact, even if they’re sitting on each other’s laps, they would still be required to split this trip four ways rather than three.

Several years ago I decided to contribute to a painting as a gift for a friend’s wedding. The painting was from a gallery owned by one of the giftees, who made a healthy markup on the price. But a married couple jointly made the same contribution as the other single people.

I don’t care if it’s $ 10 or $ 100 each — single people journey through life with a single supplement for everything from hotel rooms to cruise cabins, and likely spend more money on items from wedding lists, while couples choose the same items and share the cost.

People sometimes ask me if I am ever shocked by letters, given that I have written this column for several years. Not often. But there is one thing that never ceases to shock me: how far people will go to save a few bucks. I offer you this $ 3 golf-fee saga as Exhibit A.

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