A reader writes:Hello Lindsay, My friends and I try to go on an annual girls’ trip and this year we decided a relaxing long weekend was in order. The organizer, I’ll call her Patrice, planned a luxurious getaway—including a huge rental home, a private yoga class, and a fancy dinner out. We’re a mixed group of middle- and high-income earners, and while I’m okay financially (I’m a vice principal at an elementary school), the vacation ended up being way out of my budget. Patrice shared the estimated per-person cost in the e-vite and I just can’t swing it this year. It’s been so long since we’ve all been able to get away, though, and I’d love to go, but I know I shouldn’t put this expense on my credit card. How do I politely decline the invitation without sounding cheap?Signed,Go broke or go home?First, let me say, what a beautiful invitation! A curated staycation with good friends sounds lovely. The older we get, the harder it can be to carve out time to nurture our relationships with friends, but it’s so important. Some studies have found that maintaining friendships can help lower anxiety levels, decrease stress, and give your immune system a boost. So not only does a weekend like this sound like a lot of fun, but it’s also probably good for your health. That said, financial stress can also affect your physical and mental well-being, and this is a tricky spot to be in. But it’s not all bad news! Here are some potential solutions to consider as you work through this (very common) issue:See if you can find a compromise. For many people navigating the costs of a trip with friends, their biggest fear is bringing up the finances. If someone gets a bigger room at the rental home, should they pay more? If someone with a food allergy brings their own food, do they have to split the grocery bill equally? While discussing personal finances can be awkward, it sounds like the organizer of this trip, Patrice, has made it clear she’s comfortable talking about money, since she spelled out the expected costs in her invitation. When you review the itinerary, are there any activities you can safely afford (in other words, is there an expense you wouldn’t have to finance on a credit card)? If so, you could let Patrice know you can’t join for the entire weekend, say, and see if it’d work out for you to join for dinner and/or yoga. You also shared that not everyone in your friend group is all high roller. If you’re feeling a little nervous about the trip’s cost, can you check in with a couple of the others who might be more wallet-conscious? A few of you could chat through some potential financial compromises. If you think a 3-star getaway instead of a 5-star one is a possibility, you could try saying something like, “I know a few of us are on a budget. If you’re open to it, I found a couple of rental homes in the area that are more affordable!” Another option would be to see if you can help dial down the extra expenses by busting out your best Top Chef skills and cooking a meal together instead of the fancy dinner out, and/or streaming a yoga class instead of hiring a private teacher. If you can’t go this time, be honest about the reason.If this year’s trip is out of your price range, make sure you’re explicit about wanting to join next time. You could say, “My budget’s a bit tight right now, but I plan on saving up for next year’s event, so make sure to send me an invite!” A problem I see happen a lot in friend groups with varied incomes is that the person who isn’t able to pay for extravagant trips, restaurants, and shopping sprees quietly ghosts or makes up an excuse instead of just saying, “I’d love to, but it’s out of my price range.” After several unanswered invitations, the host might assume you aren’t interested, and those texts and calls could stop coming. Instead, be really clear that you’d love to celebrate with them and your other friends but you just can’t swing the cost.