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Try a coin mini-vacation

A recent Time magazine cover story lamented the demise of the American vacation. It pointed out that Americans were leaving over $52 billion worth of vacation time unused and therefore making a gift of that amount to their employers.

I cannot change the economic pressures of today’s work life, but I can point out that individuals who collect coins are in effect taking mini-mental vacations when they think about numismatics.

You might not be able to escape for a week to a beach in Florida or Costa Rica, but you can escape for a couple of hours to a favored numismatic destination, both mental and physical.

When I was a kid, I would look at the empty holes in my coin albums and daydream about the time that would come when they would be filled.

As time went by, many of the holes were indeed filled. Some, of course, remained empty and do so to this day because I lost interest.

However, before you dismiss this as kid stuff, remember that when adults think about filling holes in their collections, the process is called planning.

When kids do this, they might not consider what they are doing as planning nor use other terms adults would use. In their own way they usually know where the money comes from and what trade-offs need to be made to be able to spend it on coins, but most importantly, they have not lost the sense of fun they are having doing this.

I had a paper route. I knew what the cost of a new bike was, or a movie, or a Coke. The sums were not as large as an adult would handle, but the principle is the same.

I thought I was having fun allocating my $10 a week in newspaper income when in fact I was learning budgeting.

Add it up: mental escape while learning budgeting and planning. It sounds like something you might pay for, but you don’t have to, at least not directly.

Spend time at the numismatic “spa.” It is fun. It is almost as good as a vacation.

To really double down on this concept, check out the show listings in Numismatic News and attend a nearby event over the weekend.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."