DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: About six months ago my younger brother borrowed $500 to buy an impact driver so he could work on his sunroom he is building for his family. We had no problem loaning him the money, because he has always paid us back in the past, usually with interest we never ask for.
This time, though, he decided to pay us back not in cash, but by getting my husband and me tickets from Raleigh, NC to Burlington, VT, where he and his family live. We were planning to drive there this summer, which is how we usually get there, but he thought it would be nice for us to not have to do the 14 to 15-hour trip.
It is a nice gift, but my husband and I agree we don’t mind the driving, even with the cost of gas, because we make it a mini-road trip. It also struck us as odd that he decided how to repay the loan without consulting with us first. He said he figured out what our gas, tolls, and hotel (if we do it in two days) would cost, and it was almost the same amount, and by flying, we get to spend more time with him and his family.
We do look forward to this trip, which we make every couple of years, but doesn’t it seem like he should have given us the option to decide how to be repaid? How did he know we don’t need the cash more than the airline tickets? --- LOOKS LIKE WE’RE FLYING
DEAR LOOKS LIKE WE’RE FLYING: It does seem a little unusual, but it also appears that your brother is trying to give you what he considers is something of a treat. He may not realize you and your husband enjoy the time on the road, especially if he’s not inclined to travel that way.
Given the rising cost of fuel and the expenses of at least one overnight trip in food and lodging, he might easily be saving you more than $500, which certainly makes it a generous, if somewhat unorthodox payback.