Backing Out of a Financial Commitment
Problem: You committed to a weekend with friends, but the cost is over your budget.
Solution: Anytime you're going to split the cost of something with friends, be clear about expectations from the outset: "I can afford economy airline seats but not first class." Or "Can we agree to keep the room under $100 per person per night?" suggests Charles Purdy, author of Urban Etiquette: Marvelous Manners for the Modern Metropolis ($15, amazon.com). If a friend makes expensive reservations before you've discussed it, be up-front. Say, "I misunderstood how much you were planning to spend. I can't afford a trip like that right now." If you agreed initially and are backing out, you could offer to pay a portion of the cost, such as the room-cancellation fee. "That's cheaper than paying for an entire trip you can't afford," says Purdy. But what if she says she'll lend you the money and you can pay her later? "Don't do it," says Dickinson. "That's how ex-friends end up confronting each other on the Judge Judy show."