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Special Issue -- Reader Responses

Special Issue -- Responses to Shel's Article on Abundance vs. Prosperity

My article on Abundance vs. Prosperity obviously struck a chord. I got several interesting responses, and I've gotten permission to share some of them with you. I also heard from several of you who wanted to know how we did our super-bargain trip to Greece.

So between those two things, a special issue--and AD-FREE, TOO (not counting whatever Topica throws on the beginning and end). Because of the subject matter, i'm not even going to plug my book this time:

From Amy Spreeman:

Shel, I enjoy your newsletters, and always wish they were longer! I wanted to drop you a note to let you know this month's letter was the very best reminder of what life is all about: blessings. I may just have to buy your book!

My husband and I are trying to keep our finances in perspective and enjoy our lives without going crazy over the "toys." It's tough to change a mindset, but it can be done.

I noticed at the bottom of your column the writing services you offer. I have been a freelance corporate writer for ten years, and enjoy it very much.

Good luck to you, and continue enjoying your blessings.

From Harriet Witmer:

Hi there Shel,

I read your monthly newsletters, and you always have such good stuff in them. Not often am I provoked to actually send the author a reaction to his work, but this time is different.

When you talk about material wealth and nonmaterial wealth, I agree with you completely. SO many people are driven by possessions. Now, I am only 27 years old, but I have learned a lot in my short life. I have never been a materialistic person, but when I was 19 years old, something incredible happened. When I was 19, I was married ( still am) and at the time of this occurrence I had a 2 month old baby boy ( he is now 8 years old). The occurrence I am talking about is hurricane Andrew. We lived in Homestead Florida at the time, and were right smack in the middle of the worst of it. We came out of it with the shirts on our backs, and most importantly, our lives. It never was more apparent to me and the other folks around me, that, when you have no material possessions, the world DOES go on, and guess what? You can still have a great time even without a roof over your head! I am very grateful to those people that were kind enough to help us out of this sticky situation, and every chance I get, I try to return the favor in some fashion. Today, I sit here in front of my computer writing emails to the winning bidders of my auctions that I have on Ebay, wondering why they want the things I sell, and why they lose control and pay crazy prices for things. I think it all comes down to the possession thing again. Of course in some cases it may be an item someone needs, and they can actually save money buying it from me. Wonderful.

Being a frugal person myself and having to turn water into wine on many occasions, I have been known to scour thrift stores all day long. This is what led me to Ebay, I find things people collect, or brand names they must have, get it for next to nothing, and then resell it. This enables me not to have to pay for day care for my 2 year old, and I LOVE to comb thrift stores ,flea markets, etc in search of the next item. Besides, I prefer working for myself, not some company that pays me a tiny percentage of what they earn. Being frugal is a good thing!

I'm sorry if this email is lengthy,I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your newsletter this month, keep sendin' em!


From radio personality Greg Ryan:

This particular newsletter hit home. Thanks for the lift to my spirit.

From K. Jensen:

how refreshing, thank you for putting it into words that inspire and support real living. i used to feel like a slave to work, to money, to aquisition. my family and i have plenty of stuff and we are trying to focus on most of the other important and satisfying priorities. family, time, giving of ourselves....we are living, blessed are we to avoid getting caught up in it, and seeing now what living should be. it feels better, here`s to more who will, get it.

From arts promoter Eileen Gallagher


I really enjoyed what you wrote about abundant living. And I was more than impressed with your trip to Greece-reminds me so much of my mom and I travelling in Europe on $5 dollars a day...

Thanks for listening and thank you for the opportunity to read your newsletter. I have forwarded it to more than 10 contacts.

You might be interested in this book by Ivan Scheier, Making Dreams Come True without Money, Might,Miracles. I haven't seen it myself, but it is being touted as excellent by the Director's of Volunteers (DOVA).

From Anita Baer

What a blessing this newsletter was to me. I suffer with severe chronic pain and have been pretty low lately. You helped bring things back into perspective for me. Many thanks, Shel, and God Bless! This was my FIRST NEWSLETTER, too!

As for the trip to Greece...

Airfare was free--we had credit from being bumped. In fact, for the four of us getting bumped, we were able to get not only the two of us to Greece, but all four of us to Minneapolis, half of my fare to Chicago for a business trip, and some portion of our family flight to Denver the following summer. They *reallly* wanted people off that airplane, and were giving $600 vouchers. so we had $2400 to spend!

We paid $50 for a night in an Athens hotel, $20/night for three nights on Poros, booked last-minute through a travel agency in front of the ferry terminal in Piraeus (Athens seaport). Spent two nights with a homestay host. The rest was food, admission, souvenirs and local transit.

Since sending out the tipsheet, I've totaled out my expenses for that trip (tax deductible, after all). Here are the actual numbers, two people, six nights:

  • Lodging: $110
  • Transportation $119.25 ($66 of which was a full-day van tour of the Peloponesse; the rest was ferries, local buses, taxis, Athens subway, etc.)
  • Admission, mostly to various historic sites: $33.35
  • Food was somewhere between $90-$120; the way the US tax laws are written, it's better for me not to keep exact records and take the per-diem.
  • and we spent about $50 (non-deductible) buying keepsakes for family members

    See you in early March--and thanks so much for your support! I feel blessed to have such wonderful, thoughtful responses (more than I shared here, and all positive).
    Shel Horowitz,, 413-586-2388
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