Money Secrets of the Amish, by Lorilee Craker is jam-packed with practical, down-to-earth wisdom from the Plain People. Probably most of us want to stop being slaves to money and start living the good life. The Amish have a reputation for living well on less, consequently, it might help to find out how they do it.
A “worldly” woman with a Mennonite background, Lorilee Craker is in a unique position to connect with the Amish. She introduces us to Amish farmers, housewives and church leaders, coaxing their secrets from them while sharing homemade artisan cheese and fresh garden veggies. As a result, she is able to provide insight for us into how this group of people thrives without credit cards, enormous mortgages, or six-figure incomes.
With amusing anecdotes and real-life stories, the author and her friends go from over-extended to simple and satisfied, all while making it look like common sense.
My grandma and mom endured the Great Depression, so my childhood abounded in these tried and true methods of acheiving abundance with very little. These suggestions have also helped me get back on track when I have foolishly overextended myself.
de-spoiling the kids
how the best things in life really are free
Amish style gift giving
what to and not to buy in bulk
the next best thing to growing your own food
how to barter
Lorilee ends each chapter with her own Amish Money Makeover tips, especially relevant for practical application in a non-Amish life. Money Secrets of the Amish is a great resource, first for rebooting your attitude and outlook on money and possessions. In addition, it provides simple, sensible instructions for putting that reboot into practice. A useful reference for every home library, with links to helpful websites, also.
I bought the Kindle version from Amazon. No compensation was received for this review.
Published by Thomas Nelson
Available on Amazon $11.34 paperback, $7.99 Kindle
At the Amish Auction, there are many, well, Amish people. Dressed in Amish clothes, believe it or not. As a modest dress fashionista – is that possible? I am fascinated with examining the Amish costume. I admire the talent these women possess, to sew clothes for their entire families.
Many are color coordinated, obviously sewn from an entire bolt of the same cloth. The colors are muted, but beautiful. The styling is loose and flowing, full coverage and yet pleasing to the eye. The prayer kapps are pure white or black and stiffly starched. Straw hats for nearly all the men, though one or two winter black hats are in evidence. I marvel at the women and children who can walk and run around on these sticker and gravel strewn fields bare footed. I remember as a child walking around on hot asphalt and cement, barefoot, all summer. We even had contests to see who could tolerate the hot black asphalt on their bare feet the longest. I guess we must have had some pretty tough soles back then. I have tried going barefoot at the Homestead – much the same landscape with stickers and gravel and rocks – but do not seem to have the stamina, or desire to toughen up my feet these days. Some of the women and children are wearing shoes and hose, but most are barefoot. This goes a long way toward conserving the shoes and stockings for the colder months.
Another Amish event here, which is open to the community, are their benefit dinners. The Amish do not participate in government programs such as social security or medicare and now, mandatory insurance. But they do pay their taxes and they help their own with medical bills. Several times a summer, the Amish community will hold benefit dinners, with homemade Amish food, to help raise funds to pay medical bills for one of their members who may be having a hard time. There is no suggested donation, so it is left to each one’s heart to help out as they can. I don’t think anyone is refused a meal, yet there always seem to be a good amount of funds raised. These dinners are followed by a quilt auction. Frequently including the other same small items as the community auction – hand woven rugs, kitchen sets and handmade baskets. There are also usually baked goods for sale.
If you go to the Amish auction or benefit dinner, bring cash. The auction may take credit cards for auction items, I don’t know, call and check. But the Amish, themselves, only take cash (maybe checks but I bring cash just to be safe). You’ll get some great tasting, homemade food and quality, handmade goods and you will also be helping out some hard working folks who believe in sustainable, off grid living and community.
One of the things I enjoy most in Southern Colorado, is going to the local Amish auctions. There are several during the summer months. They are actually consignment auctions, open to the entire community, like one big garage sale. You can bring your stuff and they will auction it off for a commission. A professional auctioneer is hired, but the event is held at an Amish owned business and run by the Amish. These auctions are fundraisers for the Amish community. They use the monies raised to support their schools and to help one another pay their medical bills, as they do not participate in federal programs.
Outside you can find tools, parts, equipment, hay, appliances including woodstoves, wood cook stoves and old fashioned washing machines. Under the tent is usually Amish made furniture and tack, new tools, a few young chickens and rabbits, fire arms, and miscellaneous items. Inside the warehouse is my favorite. Donuts, pies, breads, sticky buns and fry pies homemade and sold by Amish women. Also a variety of sandwiches, chicken, drinks and homemade ice cream.
Then there is the quilt auction. Amish quilts have a very well deserved reputation for being of high quality and quite beautiful. I have examined the stitching and found it to be, indeed, hand done. At least the quilting part. There are also many smaller items being auctioned off – potholder and kitchen towel sets, handmade baskets, woven rugs. Quilts are not just available from the local Amish communities. A few are also sent down from communities in Canada and other parts of the midwest.
This location has a pond out back and the horses and buggies are usually parked by the pond. The horses stand patiently, tied to the fence and seemingly having their own social hour or gossip session. If it is possible that Amish horses gossip. The buggies are simple, black and well maintained. Clean, if not for the blowing dust of the parking area. On this particular day, a small wagon filled with small Amish boys and pulled by a small pony is making its rounds of the outdoor yard sale area. One boy holds up a sign – perhaps this pony and cart are also going on the block? It looks like they are having a great time, anyway.
Those of us who are not Amish also enjoy the social aspect of the auction. Friends and neighbors stop to visit and see what everyone has to offer. Even here in Small Town America, sometimes we get too busy to catch up with each other until we find ourselves at an event such as this. Fortunately, many of the small towns in the area have goings-on during the summer, so that one could be busy, virtually every weekend until fall. There are rodeos, founders/pioneer days, county fairs, classic car shows, farmers markets and music and art festivals. Also many outdoor concerts. Sometimes they get rained out, but here in the San Luis Valley, the precipitation is rather low, so there is usually something to do nearly every weekend.
Handmade Soaps and Lotions; Simple Living, Slow Travel; Homeschooling, Roadschooling