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Abundance Consciousness

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for Febuary, 2001 -- Vol. 4, No.10

Money is ultimately only a means to an end. When you have enough money, you can buy at least some of the things you'd like to have (though not, generally, the things that really matter--happiness, love, a better world, health).

There has been much talk the last ten years or so about "prosperity consciousness." I see it a lot in New Age and former hippie circles, in particular. Other sectors don't have to put a name on it--they simply know they want to strive for moneymoneymoney even if it means 80-hour weeks.

I've decided that one of my life missions is to see "prosperity consciousness" replaced by the concept of "abundance consciousness." I didn't have these words for it when I wrote my book about how to live an abundant lifestyle without large amounts of money, in fact, it's only been in the last year or two that I've started using that phrase. Abundance has nothing to do with how much money you make; it has to do with how many blessings you have.

By the standards of many of you on this list, I probably have a low to moderate income. By the standards of friends who are still in the New York rat race, living on our income is inconceivable. (Of course, by the standards of people in most developing countries, I'm rich almost beyond measure--as is almost every person receiving this.)

Yet I have a beautiful antique country home with amazing, wonderful neighbors--models for how to age--see more live music/theater, dine out more, and travel for pleasure more than many of my friends. They are jammed into tiny apartments, contend with the noise and the dirt and the rush hour squeeze.

My wife and I have a wonderful relationship that's still going strong after 21 years, and I have two healthy, talented, beautiful, creative kids. Last spring, we took a week's vacation in Greece. Including airfare, 6 nights' lodging, meals, admissions, local transportation, and souvenirs, our total costs were under $400. That is not prosperity; it is abundance.

Every day, I look around and feel blessed. I have created a culture of abundance in my own mind, and it has become my reality.

I'll say it again. Money is a means to a happier life, not a final goal. I wrote a press release for a client, with this headline: Whoever Dies with the Most Toys--Is Just as Dead" I have a fair number of "toys" but I don't let them control me, and I'm aware that if I lost all my material possessions tomorrow, I would still have a fortunate life--and I could start over again.

History's headlines are full of people killing themselves and others after economic trouble. I have been dirt-poor--that's when I did some of the "living research" for HEDONIST--and I have nothing but pity for those who think money is so important as to be worth dying over when it fails. Much harder would be the loss of my intellectual property--the tens of thousands of files on my computer that I created not with the sweat of my brow, but with the strokes of my fingers: my life's work as a writer. And even if I lost all of this, I would survive. And start over again. And probably thrive. Because I know what the really important things are in life: my beloved family and friends, my commitment to improving the world in whatever small ways I can, my happiness (all those abundant blessings I talked of a moment ago).

None of that depends on money!

Resources for abundant living:

  • Art of Abundance (free e-newsletter--subscribe at
  • Create Your Own Luck (free e-newsletter--
  • The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook--my classic book on having a great life *without* a great income
  • Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (widely available in bookstores)

    Coming in March: Modular Cooking: How to Be A Gourmet and Still Have Your Kids Enjoy Dinner

    Return to the Frugal Fun Tips Archives
    Preview Shel Horowitz's Penny Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook a 280-page e-book that shows you how to save a big pile of money on travel, dining, entertainment, recreation, and all sorts of other fun.
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