All of us have either lent or borrowed a small sum of money at point. You leave your wallet at home, the burger costs a couple more dollars than you have, all you have is your credit card, you name it. In common speak, we call these “IOUs,” as in I-Owe-You-Money.
Personally, I borrow money from my friends and family fairly often. In the moment, it’s convenient and I always have the intention of paying back the lender as soon as possible. But often, I forget, and the money never really gets rightfully returned to its owner. Here are some ideas on How To Keep IOUs Straight.
It’s happened the other way as well. I let a friend borrow a couple bucks, knowing they’ll pay me back later, and they end up forgetting until no one even really remembers how much was lent or for what.
Most of my friends and family borrow and lend money at least once a month, if not more. These mistakes are natural and happen to everyone. However, there are some tips to keep all of your IOUs squared away.
1. Don’t let time slip away
The more time passes with the IOU not being repaid, the more likely both sides will forget. Make it a point to to take action as quickly as possible. “If you’re good about paying back a small sum of money,” my friend says, “the more likely that person would help you with bigger favors in the future.”
2. Put a sticky note on your wallet
A great way to keep track of IOUs is simply putting a sticky note with your IOUs written on it on or inside your wallet. That way, every time you go to pay for something you’ll have a little reminder.
3. Keep a list in the notes on your phone
Every time you lend or borrow money, keep track of it in the notes on your phone. Then you won’t be stuck a week later trying to remember the exact amount of money.
4. Have confidence
When someone asks to borrow money, it’s okay to say no. There’s no shame in wanting to hang on to your money. As long as you respectfully explain why to your friend, they should be okay with it. And if you do decide to say yes, make sure that it is clear that you need your money back. On the flip side, if you’re the one borrowing money, it’s a good idea to clarify with your friend if there is a certain time they need their money back by.
As my friend says, “The most important part of exchanging money is communication, so that people can continue to foster trust in a relationship.” This is so true! So, the next time you use an IOU, just remember these easy tips so it doesn’t go from an I-Owe-You to a Wait, I-Owe-You-What?