Sunday, October 12, 2008

Some of the Most Beautiful Finds are Free

I found a tattered, page yellowed copy of the paperback book The Millionaire Next Door at the Florence Library Book Sale a few weeks ago. It’s a book I intended to read when I worked as a fund raising consultant but never had time to read. Back then, I would have been looking in the text for clues that would help me find those potential donors whose philanthropic gifts would advance a capital campaign toward the goal. Today, as I read this somewhat dated book, the economy faces the challenges of plunging values in the housing market and on Wall Street. Now, a different message rises from the content of the book. It’s a message regarding consumption, in other words spending. And, my intent here is to take a very narrow view about spending in regard to travel and entertainment.

If it’s not expensive, if it’s not miles away, if it’s not high end, it merits no value or bragging rights of been there, done that. I propose that some of the best things going are available for little cost or free. I am currently in Oregon so I use it as an example.

I can watch the sea lions lounge on the coastal rocks. I can find agates in the gravel beds of creeks that cross the beach. I can follow trails past bright wildflowers and colorful mushrooms. I can watch the Pacific surf pound the beaches. All of this can be done without a dime in my pocket.

So as we all begin to more carefully monitor our spending, I believe it is not necessary to do this at the expense of seeing new things or sacrifice of having a bit of fun. You might find that there are wonderful places you have overlooked nearby, many of which can be free. Who knows, if you curb your spending, you may be the new millionaire next door.

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