Updates and Favorites – 1/8/2011

What’s “Normal”

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! Here in the Midwest, we’re in the middle of the winter cold. Which I’m cool with, as it’s totally seasonal and not bitterly cold. This time of year, it can get below zero around here, so temps in the 30’s seem just fine for now. Those of you in warmer climates probably think that people in the Midwest, North, or East are all a bit nuts, which may be partially true. It’s just something you get used to.

We all get used to our situations, and it becomes our own version of  “normal”. 30 degrees in January is normal here in Chicago, but it’s crazy for someone in Los Angeles.  I have known some folks that have lived much of their lives in cold weather, then went to warm weather climates, and couldn’t imagine going back. Their version of normal had changed.

Well, even though I’m not moving, I can see the lesson here. With respect to personal finance, our version of normal is often based on what we know and have experienced.  If what you have done to date has not resulted in the kind of financial situation that you are wanting, then it’s time to rethink what “normal” should mean. For some, normal means living paycheck to paycheck and not prioritizing savings. For others, normal might mean saving 30% of income.

As the new year has started, I’m thinking about this topic a bit more.  Sometimes it takes doing things that might not seem normal (there’s that word again!), in order to accomplish things that you haven’t been able to do before. 

  • Is normal working at a 9-5 job, saving 10% of income, and hoping for social security – or is it focusing on obtaining multiple streams of income and saving more?
  • Is normal taking out a 30-year mortgage for a home, as many people do, or is it minimizing the mortgage you take on, paying as much as you can in cash, and focusing on being debt-free and financially independent?

Things to ponder as we’re starting a new year…..

Thank You!

I would like to thank everyone for being a part of Squirrelers!  The blog started back in March 2010, but has grown quite a bit in the last 10 months. Hard to imagine that we haven’t even been around for a year yet! As I type this, this is the 141st post, and we’re almost at 1,800 comments.

Anyway, just wanted to say thank you to everyone – whether you’re a subscriber (if not, please do!), commenter, or lurker. We’re only beginning here, and I’m excited to continue discussions with you about personal finance topics in 2011, including some tips as well as good money-related stories which can inform, maybe entertain, and help you squirrel away your money to grow your wealth and live well!

Blog Carnivals

This week, the Squirrelers article 5 Ways to Save Money at Airports was included in the Festival of Frugality, at PTMoney.

Also, I want to pass on that there are two new carnivals that are being launched, both from the Yakezie Network of fantastic blogs:

Check out these two sites to learn more about the new carnivals that are about to launch. I’m looking forward to seeing them both!

Recommended Reading from the Personal Finance Blogosphere

This year has started out really strong, with a lot of really good articles. Here are 12 that I recommend reading:


    • Squirrelers says

      Shawn – you are welcome. It’s certainly not warm here in Chicago. If you’re above 32 degrees elsewhere, you’re not freezing:)

  1. says

    I went out to play tennis this morning in freezing 43 degree weather! It took half an hour to warm up, it was nuts. Maybe it warmed up to 50 degrees.

    Yes, I could not imagine living in 30 degree weather. California does that to you.

    Have a grea 2011!

    • Squirrelers says

      Samurai – Now, if you’re playing tennis in 43 degree weather, you’re playing in Chicago weather! Except just a bit warmer:) You have a great 2011 as well.

  2. says

    What a well written analogy. I think it’s both incredibly freeing and incredibly scary when you take the constraints away from what you define as “normal.”

    What does one do if you’ve paid off all your debt and can rethink your career and the hours you work. When the world is your oyster and you have an infinite amount of choices of where it can lead, it can often be overwhelming. I like the idea though and I personally find it more freeing than scary at the idea of being able to mold my life to my liking. It’s a luxury most don’t ever get to have.

    • Squirrelers says

      First Gen – I have to say, the prospect of this is much, much more freeing than scary. Not even close:) This is the long-term goal.

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