The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Family Surprise Edition

Life turns out in very unexpected ways, if you give it a chance.

After finishing my manuscript late last week, my wife and I celebrated by going on a short trip with our kids. We stayed with a cousin of mine who’s about eight years older than I am – in fact, she used to babysit me when I was really little. I had basically fallen out of touch with her over the years. Once upon a time, she lived next door to me growing up, but she moved away when I was fairly young and found her own career path. On the rare occasions over the last ten or fifteen years or so when I did see her, it was usually at large family events where I felt fairly awkward anyway, being pretty introverted and surrounded with extended family and people I didn’t know really well. So we just fell out of touch.

For some reason, we just decided to go visit her. I really don’t know why – it just fell into place for some reason. But it was one of the best things I’ve done in a long time.

Every once in a while, you discover that a person that you really didn’t know well at all has so much in common with you that it almost blows your mind. There are so many aspects of my cousin’s life that overlap my own that it’s almost incredible. We’re the youngest of a group of siblings, with two brothers several years older (she has a pair of sisters even older than her brothers). We both are fairly introverted. We both have two children, just a couple of years apart. We both “made it out” – going to college and finding a good, mentally challenging job far away from where we grew up. We’ve both made countless lifestyle choices that have taken us even further away from how we grew up. We both feel somewhat awkward going back to our hometown to visit people. We both value living cheap.

When I first arrived, I felt uncomfortable and awkward. When I left, I didn’t want to leave and practically wished she lived down the block. Visiting her and getting to know her a bit again as an adult was one of the best things I’ve done lately, and I’m going to make a strong effort to ensure we don’t fall out of touch again.

Anyway, here are some good posts from the past week or so.

Are You Financially Healthy? The 5 Stages This is an excellent post, visually illustrating the five stages of financial health. (I actually think there’s at least seven, but this one’s a good start.) (@ moolanomy)

Young Entrepreneurs: Encouraging Children With Kid-Sized Businesses There’s a kid down the block from us who is apparently going to sell tomatoes door to door. I think it’s brilliant, and I may write a post about it soon. (@ get rich slowly)

Everything I Learned About Personal Finance I Learned From WALL-E My wife and I are animation fans, so this one particularly struck home around here. (@ watch my money maker)

An Example of How to Turn a Hobby into an Income I think this is the key to being happy – turning what you enjoy doing anyway into an income stream. Do it well enough and you can spend all day following your hobbies and doing whatever you want. (@ free money finance)

Winning the Daily Cash Flow Battle In my eyes, this is the biggest battle to overcome in getting your financial life straight. (@ frugal dad)

Sometimes It’s Just Better to Pay Someone I usually try to tackle anything that comes up, but there are times where it would have been more cost effective to just hire someone from the get-go. (@ gather little by little)

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