DEAR HARRIETTE: Over the years, I have always been the poor one in my family. My siblings have made a lot more money than me, and they have supported me in all kinds of ways. Of course, I appreciate their generosity, but I want to pull my weight, too. The other day I had lunch with my brother at a local restaurant, and the meal was quite affordable, so when the check came, I immediately reached to pay for it. My brother shrugged me off and paid the tab. I tried to tell him that I wanted to take care of it, but he wouldn't listen. Should I leave well enough alone or follow up and let him know that I am making an effort to contribute more now that I am earning a little more money? -- Not Totally Broke, Los Angeles
DEAR NOT TOTALLY BROKE: There is no need to go to your siblings to complain about not being allowed to foot the tab for a meal. They have become accustomed to paying for your tab and expect that they will handle it. Since you are not in a position to pay regularly for whatever may come up, don't protest this. Instead, do little things that show your appreciation to your family members. You can write them notes expressing your gratitude. You can send or give them small gifts that you believe they would like that show your love. And next time you go to an affordable restaurant, you can announce in advance that you will be picking up the check.