"Nik, how do I deal with my cheap friend?"
Easy answer, YOU DON'T.
I have to be honest, nothing is worse than being in the company of a "Can we get an itemized receipt please?" NO ONE. The same people that ask for itemized receipts should be grouped with the same people who "don't watch TV" or say stupid shit like "I'm eating" after you start talking about something gross at the dinner table.
We all have budgets, money is tight and yes the pandemic has been hard on a lot of people, BUT this wasn't an issue of being cheap when you waxed that mustache or splurged on that handbag. The truth of the matter is, you're not cheap- just selective with your money, and hey, that's okay- but let me know before I order the appetizer you ate almost entirely after saying "I'll only have a few bites."
We see you. We get it.
Now, if you are reading this and you've done some of the things being mentioned, YOU are that person. Your friends love you, but there is a reason why at the beginning of anything they do with you the bill is already figured out, discussed and not further discussed. You just too damn cheap to see, so here is your sign. I'm not saying "be less cheap" or "stop". I'm just saying don't be surprised when you get one of those $6 lotion sets from Walmart or Target for you birthday. No one expects nothing from you. Going forward, if you continuously have this issue with a friend, make the decision to only do free things with that friend, like going to a park or a museum with no food court or gift shop.
Please note: Never have the conversation about the cheap ways, this shit is inherently in them. They will make excuses, offend you and leave the conversation unchanged- it's not worth it. Just learn the characteristics and adapt.
Cheap people are the worst, and sometimes the people we love the most. Take heed, and make a decision to love them at a cost. A conversation is free, just not over happy hour. Yes, they will circle the items what they had and no, they will not tip. So, suck it up buttercup, tip your waitress 20% and apologize privately after. Someone has to be the adult, haha.
Need advice and want to laugh? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org