Personal finance is a touchy topic. Some people are comfortable discussing all things financial while others would rather avoid the topic altogether. So I wasn’t surprised to see that there was a survey about consumers’ most awkward money moments. commissioned the online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, asking consumers what their most awkward money moment was. 

1. Having a credit card declined – 41 percent

More than two out of five respondents said that having a credit card declined was the most awkward money moment, and I have to agree. I’ve been in line at the grocery store with a full cart of bagged groceries and I’ve had the cashier tell me, “It’s been declined.” 

I immediately flushed and got flustered. How could my debit card be declined? I have cash in the account! It turned out that in this specific case, there was a problem with this merchant and the bank and running it as a debit instead of a credit fixed the issue. For those few minutes though, I was dealing with a bit of internalized panic.

2. Feeling pressured to donate to a charity – 34 percent

Years ago I always felt awkward when presented with a charity donation request, but today this is less of an issue for me. It seems that everywhere I go there is a charity donation opportunity; at the drug store, the pet store, etc. I am now desensitized to the sting of saying, ‘No, I don’t want to donate.’  

This doesn’t mean I don’t donate to charity; that’s definitely not the case. Instead of donating $1 here or $5 there, my family chooses several charitable organizations to support and we make a donation directly to the organization.  

3. Saying no to giving money to a panhandler – 29 percent

I haven’t ran into a panhandler, face-to-face, in years but I do see them at stoplights and along freeway exits here in the metro-Phoenix area. It is easier to avoid the situation while in my car, but I still feel weird that I don’t offer up a $1 or $2. I admit that I’m a bit jaded, though. When I was in my early 20s, I gave a guy $5 and he went into the convenience store and bought a few beers — while I was still there pumping my gas.  

4. Feeling pressured to chip in on a group gift at work – 25 percent

I haven’t worked in an office in more than a decade, but I can see the awkwardness of this situation, especially for those on a tight budget. I think that this process should be more anonymous — leave out a donation jar on someone’s desk and those who can donate will and those who can’t donate won’t feel uncomfortable. Everyone can then sign the card, regardless of a financial donation.

5. Sharing salary/wage amounts with co-workers – 25 percent

Is this really anyone else’s business? I never knew what my co-workers made when I worked in an office, and if they knew what I made, they didn’t hear it from me. As long as I felt I was earning what I deserved, I didn’t care about anyone else’s salary.

6. Splitting a dinner bill or check with a large group of people – 17 percent

The number one reason I hate large dinner parties is that someone is going to get the shaft if the bill isn’t split. Thankfully, most of the places I go willingly split the check for us. Everyone in attendance usually tips a bit more for the extra effort it takes the server to split up the bill.

7. Figuring out a gift to get a partner for special occasions – 14 percent

Again, this is another awkward money moment that I don’t understand. I know what to get my husband for his birthday and holidays and I have since we started dating. Is buying a gift for your significant other that hard? Maybe this is a "guy" thing?

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