Imagine this: someone owes you money. It happens all the time! You lend money out as a favour or a loan but they forget to pay you back and you're too scared to ask etc.. How should you ask them then? Here are some tips to get that precious money back.
Asking people for owed money is -more often than not- a rather awkward conversation to have, especially with friends or family. Despite this, it's important to get it done right away, or else you'll be stuck in the never-ending “I'll do it tomorrow.” This is, of course, until you realise that you've left it too long and the person will have definitely forgotten about it or think you're strange for now wanting it. As a result, both of you might just leave it, yet that means it's you losing out.
Can they afford to repay?
If you have found yourself answering no to this question then it might be worth considering delaying the awkward conversation for a while. You don't want to add additional stress, especially if they're in a financial hardship. If you believe the answer to this question is yes though then it's worth kindly bringing it up to them. This tip is completely person-dependent though, a judgement only you can make – based on your own financial situation, the amount of money loaned, and your relationship with the person.
This seems so simple but honestly, being blunt is sometimes good. If your friend has forgotten to repay you (rather than just avoiding it) or you find it too difficult to hint at, then just ask them directly for the money: face-to-face, by text or even email if it's more of a professional relationship.
“You get this one”
If you’re not comfortable asking for the money directly, you should learn to love the phrase “You get this one!” This phrase is great for using for smaller purchases like a coffee, cinema ticket or even a meal out. If you simply just remind the person that you paid last time, they would probably be more than willing to pay for this one, especially as you avoid the awkward conversation, money doesn't change your hands but at least you get it “back” in some sense. If you’re worried that this will put them on the spot whilst queuing to pay, then you can mention it while making the plan.
Set a time limit
If you have a big event coming up; be it a holiday, Christmas, birthday, bill etc. then just ask for the payment directly. It gives you a justification for asking and you do actually need it! And it ever so slightly makes the outright demand for money less awkward as well as you don't just seem demanding. It reminds your friend that the money given was a loan, and it gives you both expectations. In case your friend can’t afford to pay the entire amount by the set date, you can always set up a repayment agreement or time limit between yourselves. (See the next tip).
Set up a repayment agreement
Paying back a large amount of money in one go can be extremely stressful. It can leave a large hole in their budget or make times hard, so it's worth considering a repayment plan. Similar to actual loan companies, try and agree on an amount that your friend can pay back realistically but that also means you get your money within an acceptable time frame. By that I mean if they owe you £100, £1 a week isn't really cutting it, £10 a week is already a huge improvement.
The key to success is to link together opportunities where you can make progress towards getting your money back and to then just take action.
If you have any great tips and ideas on how to get your owed money back or have had experience with this in the past then leave a comment below!