That Was Awkward: Our Most Embarrassing Money Moments Revealed

Larry David
There's a classic Larry David moment on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" when he realizes he only has big bills and won't be able to tip the valet parking attendant at a hotel. He swears he'll pay when he has a smaller bill, but clearly the guy doesn't believe him.

The moment resonates with many people -- probably because something like it has happened to them.

It turns out that nearly everyone has had cringe-worthy moments when it comes to cash, and they happen in all manner of interactions -- between strangers, friends, co-workers and even family members, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

Nearly half of the survey's respondents (48 percent) said they have avoided someone or a particular situation that involved money because they knew it would be uncomfortable.

Painful Plastic Problems

The number one "most awkward money moment," according to the survey, was having a credit card declined. Forty-one percent of respondents said that it was the most unpleasant money-related experience of all. Even worse, it's a tough one to avoid unless you know that you're near your credit limit and check on your credit card's availability before you use it.

Other situations that people said made them squirm:
  • Feeling pressured to donate to a charity on behalf of a co-worker, family member, or friend. (Mentioned by 34 percent of respondents.)
  • Saying no to giving money to a panhandler or beggar. (29 percent)
  • Feeling pressured to chip in on a group gift at work, like for a baby shower or wedding shower. (25 percent)
  • Sharing salary/wage amounts with co-workers. (25 percent)
  • Splitting a dinner bill or check with a large group of people. (17 percent)
  • Figuring out a gift to get a partner for special occasions, like a first anniversary or a first birthday together. (14 percent)
Some of the embarrassing moments recounted by survey respondents include:

'Fess Up: What Money Situations Made You Cringe?

Whether you're on the winning or losing side in a money moment, it can be equally awkward. What's your most embarrassing money moment?

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Had one of those happen to a friend yesterday. Had a computer on hold, went to pay for it and her card was denied. Fortunately, her bank was only two blocks away, we get there and there are two more people sitting there with her - cards had been compromised. They have to issue new cards and had to get cash to get that computer, but it was the last one and she had to go back to get it immediately. Shook her up so bad she went home and took a nerve pill.

May 04 2013 at 11:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great story and so true to all. I remember someone collecting for a gift for someone I worked with that I really didn\'t want to donate to. And so I tried to donate a smaller amount and then the collector informed me that everyone else was giving like $10 each, much more than I wanted to give. But I stuck to my guns and only gave what I wanted to ( or actually didn\'t want to!) As to dividing a dinner check when eating with a large group, I have never had to endure that. At least where I live the servers are always willing to make separate checks for all involved with no questions asked.

May 02 2013 at 10:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff W.

Thanks for the great laugh and interesting article .. sharing!

May 02 2013 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply