When I see personal finance blogs writing about abundance, they’re usually talking about abundance in the context of “There’s a huge abundance of money in the world!! Go out there and start a side hustle to capture some of that abundance!”
Which is completely preposterous when you think about it — money is simply a method of transferring value. Managing the money supply is one of the primary jobs of the Federal Reserve (and they do a darn good job of it). For our economy to function properly, there should be neither too much money, nor too little. Too much money causes inflation (which can be a very bad thing ), and too little causes deflation (also a bad thing).
When most people talk about abundance, what they’re actually trying to say is, “Here’s how you can create additional value!” which can then be converted into cash. There’s nothing wrong with side-hustling for a little extra cash of course… but frankly, that topic’s been done to death by other blogs.
This view of the world is also very limited. This view of wealth is very limited. If all you know is trading time for money, you’re going to miss out on much of the great abundance life has to offer. Today I want to talk about a different kind of abundance… one that doesn’t involve dollars and cents…
I know what your thinking — you’re thinking “What abundance? There’s no abundance in my life?!? Money is scarce! I have to work my a$$ off for every little thing!” But you’d be wrong.
In each of our lives there exists both abundance AND scarcity amongst the myriad of resources available to us. Some resources will be scarce and dear, while others will be plentiful, cheap, and abundant. It’s simply up to you to identify and utilize what’s abundant and available to you.
Great in theory right? I find that giving real-world examples for these things always works best…
My parents happen to be great examples of this kind of abundance. They live a life of complete abundance without having a ton of money. Even though they’re not multi-millionaires, they’re blessed with very abundant lives.
Their home has near perfect conditions for gardening in the summer. And garden they do — They grow a whole range of vegetables: kale, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, berries, zucchini, pumpkins, and many more.
Their garden is so productive, every year it produces way more than they could possibly eat (when veggies are in season). This a very common problem among gardeners I’m told. Rather than throw out the excess, they’ve developed a method of turning what’s abundance for them, into other things that are usually scarce.
For example, a neighbor down the road raises chickens. My parents regularly trade some of their excess veggies for some of the neighbor’s abundant and fresh chicken eggs. Sounds like a great deal for a few excess garden vegetables, right?
Another neighbor has a yard full of apple trees… which are pressed into apple juice or apple cider. Every year they happily trade this apple juice for their extra garden vegetables.
Yet another neighbor is a bee keeper… And, you guessed it, this means fresh honey traded for garden vegetables.
It is truly a “social network” of shared abundance. Each neighbor has something abundant for themselves, but scarce for the others. By sharing this wonderful abundance together, they all prosper.
What I find fascinating in this situation is that no money changes hands, and no one keeps score… yet everyone prospers. It’s simply goodwill between a community of neighbors, sharing what’s abundant in each of their lives.
Abundance Is Everywhere
While it’s easy to take the negative stance and stay that the world’s population of 7.8 billion will fight over precious resources, creating greater scarcity and ever greater need. The fact of the matter is, people have been turning lemons into lemonade since the drink was invented around 1000 years ago.
We’ve always managed to find a way to survive through droughts, plagues, natural disasters, and even famine. You can either see that glass of lemonade as half full, or half empty.
Abundance is everywhere for those of us with an eye to see it. It’s mainly a matter of mindset, and having an open mind about what ‘abundance’ truly constitutes.
Maybe it’s simply a job perk you have access to. Many businesses have machine shops with tools that can be used by trusted employees. That is a form of abundance. Or, some businesses give their employees big discounts on the products they produce. This could also be an example of abundance.
Abundance could even mean a local business selling at cheaper prices to locals because they can avoid costly shipping fees.
Or, abundance might be a waste product from a local business that you have access to. Not far from my home are a bunch of local businesses that generate wooden pallets as a waste product. These businesses will eagerly give away pallets for free to anyone that wants them — Perfect for firewood or as free wood for the hobbyist woodworker.
Nature is often a big creator of abundance. When nature’s bounty hits full bloom, it often does so with fantastic abundance. Here in Washington State, apples are a big crop. The climate and weather are perfect for apples, and many people keep a tree or two in their back yard. When apple season finally arrives in the fall, people literal give apples away.
Even though we don’t have an apple tree in our yard, it’s as certain as ‘rain in the fall’ that a neighbor or friend comes knocking with a box full of pears or apples.
Sometimes abundance has everything to do with your local populace — Ask the resident of any college town how easy it is to find free furniture on “student move-out” day, and you’ll have a new understanding of abundance.
It doesn’t matter if you live in the Sahara desert, the Arctic, or in the middle of the mid-western United States. There is always some resource that’s in abundance.
Abundance is truly everywhere … if you know where to look.
It’s a sad fact of our modern world that most people only know to trade time for money. Furthermore, almost no-one I know would say they have an abundance of time. This view of wealth and abundance is very limiting.
These folks miss-out on all the wonderful abundance readily available in their local communities and lives.
Instead of trading cash for everything, the kind of abundance I’m talking about is something that has to be cultivated — through relationships, contacts, unique skills, and special situations not available to everyone. It takes time to develop.
While this kind of abundance might not have a regular dollar value associated with it, it absolutely has value. Naysayers might claim that “Saving $10 on your next grocery bill, or saving a few extra dollars on home repairs isn’t going to make you a millionaire”, but I beg to differ.
Millionaires are made $10 at a time.
Think of abundance like finding $10 on the sidewalk. It’s there for the taking… for anyone that bothers to pick it up. Now obviously picking up a lone $10 bill isn’t going to have a huge impact on your overall wealth, but imagine you could pick up a $10 bill every single day for the rest of your life!
Over time that will begin to have a big impact. Abundance is like that… only you’ll never actually see those $10 bills. What you will see is the smiles of friends, family, and neighbors, as you share in life’s wonderful abundance.