DEAR HARRIETTE: My friends stay at my apartment a couple of nights during the week. It's a nice apartment and convenient to where they work, plus they live far away. They could at least help out with paying for the toilet paper or groceries, but I don't know how to get that point across, especially since they are on budgets. They see me as privileged and think I don't need help financially. What should I say? -- Feeling Unappreciated, New York City
DEAR FEELING UNAPPRECIATED: There is a simple solution to your problem: You must establish house rules with your friends. This starts with your acknowledging that you, too, have a budget. Honestly, everyone should, regardless of how much money you have.
Sit your friends down and tell them that now that you have established a pattern with them where they live at your apartment on a weekly basis, you want to review what is important to you for them to do. Point out that now that you have more people in the house, provisions run out much more quickly. Tell them that you would like for them to contribute to the weekly budget for toiletries, including toilet paper, and food. You can come up with a weekly number that feels right, or ask them to purchase certain items on a regular basis so that they can be active participants in keeping the household going.
I doubt that they will mention your "privilege," but if they do, point out to them that everyone has a budget, including you. You are attempting to be responsible as far as managing your household, and you ask them to honor that while they are staying with you.