Splitting the Check Shouldn’t Feel Like Rocket Science

When you’re young, supported by your parents, and probably shouldn’t be eating out in the first place, it becomes that much trickier. As an undergraduate student at a university where dining money is used at restaurants, I’ve picked up three few painless methods that work for my peers and me.

Where Have All the Ice Cream Trucks Gone?

It’s 2 p.m. and my parents kick my sister and me out of the house.

“Go play outside like normal kids,” they say. Erica and I sit in the driveway, coloring with chalk — always avoiding physical exertion, even outdoors. But a faint jingly song has us running for the front door.

“Please, let us back in!” we shout. “The ice cream truck is coming, can we have three dollars?”

If mom answers the door, bargaining is in store (we dread actually doing chores) but eventually we get the money.

The real challenge is getting to the truck in time: Sometimes my sister flags down the driver, buying us a few minutes to grab some dollar bills. Occasionally, my dad races outside, heroically trying to catch the speeding ice cream truck. Why do they go so fast? Nothing was worse than missing out on a Choco Taco.

A Tradition of Lucky Money

My mom is superstitious: knock wood, don’t jinx it, pick up lucky money. Like many people she learned the superstitions from her mother and has passed down to me a vague uneasiness about violating them.