Monday, July 7, 2008

$30 Surprise

There is an old saying that says something to the effect of "Don't lend anything you expect back".

I know that this is true but still I waver, bend and do it anyways. I've been burned many times in the past with possessions that are very important to me which is always disappointing. I have also learned that its very true with money. It seems the last year I've been suckered way to much into helping people and then getting screwed over. It burns!

In January we celebrated my mothers birthday and I thought it would be a great idea for my siblings and I to pitch in on a weekend away in Tofino. I brought it up to my siblings who agreed it was great. I broke down the cost according to who could afford what because the four of us have very different financial situations.

I spent two days looking for a place that we could afford on our limited budget and finally found one that was spectacular. Right on the beach and a perfect getaway for our mom. Growing up we never had a dime to spare and I don't remember my mother ever having the chance to go somewhere and relax for a weekend. It was really important to me to give her this opportunity to kick back and enjoy herself. She's a single mom and I like to give back to her when I can.

Everyone quickly pitched in the dough except for one of my brothers, who promised to pay me quickly and I agreed that was alright. A few weeks later I was at my brothers house for a quick minute to change my clothes after being in the rumble of my grandfathers burned out house and I asked him if I could take him for dinner since it was his birthday the week before. He said he would love that but asked for some cash instead. Our father was in the Philippines where they suspected he may have contracted typhoid fever and he was short for food and transportation money until pay day. I opted to lend him the money and take him for dinner anyway. That night we both went out for dinner with our mom and brother and it was a great time.

Soon the months dragged on and on and it really got on my nerves. I was having to put my portion and his in to cover the trip and I really could not afford it. Excuse after excuse was the only response I got. Here we are in July and he was dodging me every chance he got.

Last night there was a birthday party for my nephew and my brother wasn't there. I pulled our other brother aside to make sure it wasn't because of the money. He quickly reached in his pocket and said he had been asked to give something to me. It was $30. Not what he owes me but I'll take anything so I quite pleased. I'm going to send him a thank you note for sending it to me. My other brother was a bit pissed as I found he is owed quite a bit more by the same brother and found it irritating that I got money and he didn't but we laughed it off.

I was really happy to get the money as times are tough right now. I know he's not strapped for cash so paying me back should not have been a problem but I have learned my lesson. It's my third time burned by this brother and I won't make the mistake again. It's hard though sometimes to say no, especially under the circumstances.

Let me state that I have never tried to make my brother feel bad about the money he owes. Hell, he's been to my house for steak since owing me the money and I haven't said a word. It's not something I would do, to make him feel uncomfortable at family gatherings. It's just not worth it because family is family and is more important that money.


Fabulously Broke said...

But money has a way of destroying familial relationships and friendships

Good call. I never expect money I spend or give to come back

Nathaniel said...

It's really hard to not help family out when they need it. When I'm in a position to lend money to family I do it without the expectation that I'll get it back. Not because they won't pay it back but because the situation can become uncomfortable and nasty. I hate when money pollutes friendships. You're such a kind, giving and generous person by nature. It's not in your wiring to say no to people who need help. But it sounds like you're at a place right now where you are thinking about the kinds of help you can and can't provide given your financial constraints.