With great excitement I recently received my first book from booksneeze: Lorilee Craker’s ‘Money Secrets of the Amish – finding the abundance in Simplicity, Sharing and Saving’.
What I discovered, while reading this book, wasn’t any secrets, but good common sense and principles of living we need to be reminded of in a world driven by consumption.
Lorilee Craker is a descendant of the Amish. Just like the rest of us she was feeling the pinch from the financial fallout of 2008. Her freelance journalism didn’t bring in what it used too & what it did bring in didn’t go that far anymore. Then, inspired by a news segment covering her people, the Amish, and how they emerged from the economic crisis unscathed, she realized it was time to get back to her roots and learn a thing or two about their time-tested approach to personal finances. While the middle-class was wringing its hands over the family budget and the wealthy were weeping over their slashed portfolios, the Amish were content as always, spared from the cares of the world and worldliness. They not only had financial health to support their lives, they exuded a wholeness that eludes so many when the financial bottom drops out.
In Money Secrets of the Amish, readers go on an “Amish money makeover,” learning the choices, secrets, and disciplines that safeguarded the contentment and the coffers of America’s favorite plain folk by spending less, saving more, and getting happier doing it.
Reading Money Secrets of the Amish I thought to myself: I must have some Amish blood flowing through my own veins. The approach is simple, don’t spend it if you don’t have it. And: don’t tie your happiness to what you own (or do not really own, but are paying off monthly incurring massive interest & emotional stress).
The Amish it seems are ‘so far behind, they’re ahead’.
They repurpose, recycle and reuse.
They shop secondhand.
They save, learning to delay gratification.
They trade each other & they find happiness in the stuff that is for free: each other, time together, family, friendship and games.
Our Landy has been paid for, for the better part of six years. It is showing some rust & needs more regular maintenance, but it is much cheaper than a R4000 a month car-payment.
If our kids want something, we don’t just buy it for them. We help them devise plans on how to earn the money themselves. How to make or collect and sell stuff. Often, by the time they’ve saved enough money, their desire might have changed. Then they save for the next thing.
Money Secrets of the Amish is filled with practical advise like this. How to approach Christmas & gift-giving differently. How to renovate & decorate without spending a cent, or perhaps very little.
It effectively taps into the frugality of the Amish people and attempts to transfer it to urban living in a different world.
I’d hoped for less practicality & more spirituality, tapping into the philosophy behind the way of doing things. And I walked away from this book, wondering too if the Amish gave stuff away, like we do. Or if they just share amongst themselves and in that way succeed at ‘keeping it in the family’?
Having said that – this was a good read. Anyone curious about the Amish & hoping to be challenged about money & finances, how we think about it, how we spend it & how we raise our children, would enjoy it.
If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy my books available from Amazon’s Kindle-store.
Just click this link to take a look: Theunis Pienaar in Amzaon.