Sunday, September 15, 2013

Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker

Occasionally I listen to an internet radio program called Amish Wisdom.  Usually it is the podcast version since I never remember to tune in at the correct time.  Well a few weeks ago, I noticed that the interview was going to be with Lorilee Craker, author of Money Secrets of the Amish.  Unfortunately when I checked back to find the archived podcast, there wasn't one.  Never have found out why, but my curiosity was peaked enough that I searched out a copy of the book.  Lucky for me it was an audio copy because I don't really want to spend time READING about finances.

The author herself narrates this short but interesting book.  Since I live in a rural community that has hundreds of Amish families, I really didn't expect to learn much new from what is clear from my own observations, and to be truthful, I didn't.  Still it was worthwhile to hear the reasons behind their frugality.  It was also fun to hear how Craker herself took the Amish tips and applied them to her own suburban lifestyle.

Here are the main points covered in a nutshell version:
Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without
Rethink your gift giving
Repurpose, recycle, and reuse
Eat like royalty for a peasant's pittance

I must admit that I've wasted money over the years - made impulsive buys, feed my cookbook hobby, and built my quilting stash, but mainly I try to be conservative with money.  My husband is definitely of the "wear it out" mindset when it comes to clothes.  We have 6 grandchildren, 4 of them girls, and it is great to see the plastic storage crates of little girl clothes go back and forth among the three families.  Now that I'm retired and have a little more leisure time, I've found that thrift stores are fun places to shop.  When we built our cabin up north, I delighted in furnishing with repurposed and used items.  The towel rack, display shelves, and medicine cabinet in the bathroom were repurposed and unified by painting them white. I especially love the curtains and shower curtain which I made out of Walmart sheet and some "camping bear" fabric from my stash.  In fact, all the curtains were made from either remnants or garage sale finds. One bedroom sports a wardrobe, which in its previous life was an ugly fake wood laminate.  Now it has been painted green, had molding added to the doors, and has an antique glaze over it.  Its color is a perfect match for the greens and browns of this north woodsy cabin.  These little treasures make me smile more than any upscale Up North decor I could have bought.

I sewed while listening to this book and had to smile over Craker's chapter on eating like royalty.
As she praised the Amish for their large gardens, their canning and such, I thought about the apple cake I had baking in the oven, made with apples from my son's trees and also the huge peppers from my garden ready for stuffing.  While I don't think I'll ever be wealthy because of my gardening, thrift store and garage sale shopping, I do think these are good habits to continue.  And I certainly applaud any family that defies the culture's push to buy everything their kids want.

What are your money secrets?  I will share one more of mine.  As I've said, I've collected cookbooks since my college days and I still can't resist a good church cookbook.  It is my indulgence for not smoking, getting tattoos (lol), or being a fashionista.  But this is how I save. Despite reading over 100 books each year, I probably spend under $50 on books and that money is usually from gift cards.  I get my books from the library!!  Actually, before I got my Nook, I usually spent $0 on books.

I just found Lorilee Craker's blog Shoefly Pie where she continues her tales of repurposing, thrifting, and good plain cooking.  Check it out for some fun.

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