Dear Dave: I'm one of five sisters, and our parents' 50th wedding anniversary is just around the corner. My two oldest sisters made plans for a party without consulting the rest of us. Now, they want everyone to chip in $1,000 to help pay for things. I'm trying hard to get out of debt, and I just don't have that kind of money right now. How can I be fair about this?
A $5,000 party is pretty big stuff. Since you weren't asked about this ahead of time and had no say in anything, fair would be for you not to pay a dime. That kind of planning without consulting the people involved and helping pay for the event is way out of line.
Don't let your big sisters lay a guilt trip on you, either. This has nothing to do with how much you love your parents. It has everything to do with communication and consideration, or in this case, a lack of these things on their part.
Just let them know, in a firm but loving way, what your situation is right now. Tell them you'd be happy to chip in what you can, but it won't be anything close to $1,000.
And tell them next time to check with their little sisters before hatching up an expensive plan like this.