Mind Your Money Manners

dw_phoneCaroline Tiger is an etiquette expert and the author of "How to Behave" and other books.

This rocky economy requires a quick review of basic money etiquette. Here, a few financial faux pas to avoid in 2010.

Le Gaffe: Constantly mentioning the amount you paid for things.Le Fixe: Price-dropping isn't a giant offense, but it's annoying. No one needs to know what you spent—unless it's somehow useful to them (or they asked). If you've been there, bought that, then obviously you can afford it, dahling.

Le Gaffe: Forgetting what friends can afford.

Le Fixe: If a pal seems reluctant to paint the town red—e.g. drinks at a swank hotel bar, a Saturday mani-pedi—put on some green-colored glasses. One gal's weekly treat is another's once-a-month luxury. Put out financial feelers before you plan, friends will appreciate your money manners.

Le Gaffe: Giving to charity in someone else's name, instead of a gift.

Le Fixe: It sounds high-minded, but giving to a cause in the name of a friend or relative isn't a gift for them. It's a donation by you. Before going philanthropic, inquire whether there’s something the person really wants—or needs.

Le Gaffe: You invite people to a party at a restaurant, then pass the check at evening’s end.

Le Fix: Be courteous by clarifying special payment arrangements beforehand—and give people the option to bow out. On the invite, say something breezy but clear: “I’m thrilled to celebrate with you, but given the recent collapse of my hedge fund, I can't pay for everyone!” Then, let guests off the gift hook by requesting, “No presents, please.”

Caroline Tiger is an etiquette expert and the author of "How to Behave" and other books.

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