Photo by: Alper Cugun

Talking to anyone about your finances feels like sharing extremely personal information, but it can be necessary to get tips to improve your finances as well help improve theirs.

Here’s the why, when, and how of talking about finances with others.

Don’t wait until you arrive at an expensive restaurant to tell a friend you can’t afford to split the bill.

Especially, when money’s tight, not looking at menus before going out can cause sticker shock. Before you go out with friends, pick a restaurant you know will be reasonably priced for both you. Most menus appear online or through review sites such Yelp. When at the restaurant, give yourself room to order a dessert or appetizer in your budget. As with dieting, depriving yourself completely just leads to binge spending.

Be careful sharing your salary with friends who you suspect make less than you.

Divulging your salary to friends who make less than you do should only be done upon request. If they’re the same age as you and on a similar career path, they may feel bad when you tell them. However, don’t be afraid to tell them if they ask, and don’t be afraid to ask if they’d like to have the discussion. Knowing what others make in your field for similar work may help either you or the other person support asking for a raise. Do be careful telling coworkers at your workplace your salary. You may end up hurting yourself if you negotiated for a better salary and HR doesn’t like that you repeated the number. It may cost you a raise next time.

Do share financial numbers from your basic budget.

Talking about what you spend on your cellphone may inspire the other person to call and get better deal or vice versa. There’s no harm that can come from this at all. But be sure not to call out friends or family members on expensive purchases such as a fancy coat or a car. You’ll more than likely offend them. If you’d really like to inspire them budgeting-wise, share information on how you budget. Let them see your monthly spending and they may get the hint to change theirs.