DEAR HARRIETTE: I belong to a civic organization that is a lot of fun but very expensive. The dues are high, and the activities cost extra money. I have scraped together the funds over the years, but I am beginning to feel stressed out about it. I’m wondering whether it makes sense for me to continue to be a member. I am getting close to retirement, and I really can’t afford it. I’m already friends with a number of the women, so I know I will continue to stay close to them. It’s hard to part ways, though. What do you think? -- Out of My Budget
DEAR OUT OF MY BUDGET: Stand back and assess the situation from a sober vantage point. Review your monthly budget, and take note of how you spend every dollar. How much disposable income do you have left when you extract this organization’s dues and the costs of additional club activities? Do you see a significant savings when you take away those amounts? If so, it should be clearer to you what you should do.
When you look at the big picture, you can see what makes sense for you. As hard as it may seem at first to walk away from the organization, it may be worth it, especially if you can remain actively close to the few members you consider to be true friends.