Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving [NOOK Book]

Overview

Take one thoroughly modern gal with a recessionary income problem, mix with the practices of a culture that has proved to be recession-proof, and what have you got?

A financial planner in a straw hat.

When writer Lorilee Craker learned that the Amish are not just surviving but thriving in the economic downturn, she decided to find out why. What she found was about a dozen tried and true financial habits the ...

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Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving

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Overview

Take one thoroughly modern gal with a recessionary income problem, mix with the practices of a culture that has proved to be recession-proof, and what have you got?

A financial planner in a straw hat.

When writer Lorilee Craker learned that the Amish are not just surviving but thriving in the economic downturn, she decided to find out why. What she found was about a dozen tried and true financial habits the Amish have employed for generations that will make your cash last longer and help you build wealth. Craker provides tips to...

  • 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

Endorsements:

Packed with practical, simple, and smart money saving ideas and teeming with great insight into the sensible Amish ways, Money Secrets of the Amishwill entertain you with stories and retrain your brain to be the savvy money saver you always dreamed you could be. --Beth Wiseman, best-selling author of Plain Promise and Seek Me With All Your Heart

Sometimes touching, sometimes humorous and always helpful, author Lorilee Craker pulls us into the family rooms of the Amish and shows us how they make ends meet. Story after story illustrates savvy money management: trading for goods and services, shopping for bargains, living with less, avoiding debt, curbing the desire to impress others. And Craker’s journalistic bent provides plenty of takeaway value for the non-Amish. A very worthwhile read whether your bank account is bursting or busting. --Suzanne Woods Fisher, author of Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World and Lancaster County Secrets (Revell)

This book is like an Amish basement shelf loaded with Mason jars full of Plain money wisdom.  Self-confessed “Fancy” gal Lorilee Craker rolls up her sleeves and cracks them open one-by-one, figuring out how to fit Amish principles to a non-Amish life.  She succeeds, and so can you—read Money Secrets of the Amish and add weight to your wallet. --Erik Wesner, amishamerica.com; author ofSuccess Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive

Money Secrets of the Amish is a practical, doable guide, and it's such fun to read. Lorilee's voice is as engaging and lively as ever, and the wisdom she shares from the Amish community is both inspiring and instructive. I just finished the last page, and my mind is buzzing with all sorts of ways to waste less, want less, and spend less. --Shauna Niequist, author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet

Lorilee inspires and impacts your everyday life with this marvelous little read. From buttons to bakery you suddenly realize this conversation is not about just pinching a few pennies but about transforming how we view our everyday lives. I applaud Lorilee for asking the hard questions and pressing in to find honest answers. Forget the mall, kick back and soak up the delicious wisdom of a life well lived. Thank you Lorilee for shaping my everyday! --Tracey Bianchi, author of Green Mama

Money Secrets of the Amish isn’t so much about making money; it’s about family, discipline, and redefining what wealthy means. This is a great read that helps us all to see more clearly what’s really valuable in our lives. --Jeff McMahon, award-nominated musician and national director/runner with the Team McGraw endurance program

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Craker (Through the Storm) interviews lots of thrifty Amish people to understand better their financial habits and choices. Each chapter covers a different aspect of financial behavior (pay bills on time, don't overindulge the children) and ends with "money makeover" advice. A lot of the advice is common sense, but money is a subject that needs all the common sense people can bring to it. The book is driven by the writer's distinctive voice; response to it will be a matter of taste. Some will find it friendly and encouraging; others may find it more flippant than good-humored. Lots of debt-ridden Americans could use this book, though whether they'll take it to heart is another matter. (June)
From the Publisher
"Packed with practical, simple, and smart money saving ideas and teeming with great insight into the sensible Amish ways, Money Secrets of the Amish will entertain you with stories and retrain your brain to be the savvy money saver you always dreamed you could be."
--Beth Wiseman, best-selling author of Plain Promise and Seek Me With All Your Heart

“A very worthwhile read whether your bank account is bursting or busting.” 
—Suzanne Woods Fisher, author of Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World and Lancaster County Secrets

“Everyone should take a course in Amish frugality before graduation, but since there isn’t one, Craker’s book fits the bill.” —James “JY” Young, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and cofounder of the rock band Styx

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595554017
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/14/2011
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 194,043
  • File size: 453 KB

Meet the Author

Lorilee Craker is the author of11 books, including the New York Times best seller Through the Storm with Lynne Spears. When not shuttling her three children to hockey, gymnastics, and everywhere in between,Lorileemoonlights asan entertainment and features writer for the Grand Rapids Press in Grand Rapids,MI,and has written for magazines such as Parents and Parent and Child.

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Read an Excerpt

MONEY SECRETS OF THE AMISH

Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving
By LORILEE CRAKER

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Lorilee Craker
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-401-7

Contents

Introduction....................ix
1. Upside Down....................1
2. UWMW: Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make Do, or Do Without....................9
3. Don't Eat the Marshmallow: Learning Delayed Gratification....................31
4. Pay on Time....................47
5. Rethinking Gifts....................55
6. Saving....................75
7. Operation De-spoil the Kids....................91
8. Repurpose, Recycle, and Reuse....................105
9. Dead Horses Smell Bad, but Debt Smells Even Worse....................121
10. Shopping Secondhand....................133
11. To Bulk or Not to Bulk?....................159
12. Amish Foodies or Frugal Feinschmeckers....................175
13. Bartering: I'll Trade You This Cow for a Bunch of Rugs....................195
14. The Best Things in Life Are Free....................211
Acknowledgments....................221
About the Author....................224

Chapter One

UPSIDE DOWN

Bishop Eli King is a formidable character.

Renowned in Lancaster County as one of the most conservative, by-the-book bishops in the area, Bishop Eli gives off the air of someone who rules a small dictatorship, and not just sixty or so families in his two districts.

For one, he looks just like Abraham Lincoln with his canny-looking, deep-set eyes, prominent chin, and antique beard and clothes. Abe Lincoln with a bowl cut, that is. Rumor has it that Eli will put the Bann (excommunication) on you for putting one toe over the Ordnung, the written and unwritten rules of the Amish.

I'm a little scared of him already, and we've only just begun our chat. It doesn't help that I'm perched delicately on the rim of a bathtub, in the middle of a construction site where Eli works.

The only way he would agree to meet with me is if I questioned him during his lunch hour, as he didn't want to take time away from his employer. Coated with carpentry dust, munching an egg salad sandwich, he accepted my thanks for making time during his lunch break. "Being taught to love work makes all the difference," he said, taking another bite. "There's not much spare time when the budget is tight."

The truth is, the budget has been tight for Eli and his People. Even though overall the Amish have hunkered down and weathered the economic hailstorm of the past couple of years much better than the rest of us, they haven't been completely insulated.

According to Amish expert Erik Wesner, author of Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive, the People have felt the decreased demand that comes in a downturn. "A decline in business can trickle down through the community and even affect those businesses that are strictly 'Amish-oriented,'" he said. "So for example, instead of buying a new buggy for your soon-to-be-sixteen-year-old son for a few thousand dollars from the local Amish carriage shop, you might be more inclined to pick one up at the auction for half that."

Adapting to shaky financial times is something the Amish do extremely well. Instead of buying new buggies, they'll buy used. Jake the Builder will remodel old homes instead of constructing new ones. One Plain housewife I spoke to said that when times are tight, she'll substitute maple syrup (tapped from her own trees, of course) for sugar in her baking and cooking. Wesner tells of a sawmill owner who switched to vegetable oil—acquired free as a throwaway product from local restaurants—to substitute for diesel, amounting to a thousand-dollar monthly savings.

The Amish are resourceful, to be sure, but there's much more to their money success than that.

Why have they managed to do so well, even in the midst of the recession? Eli offered some insights:

"We scrape the bottom of the barrel more than most," Bishop Eli told me, with an Amishman's gift for understatement, and a rather un-Amish, zealous grin.

"When I grew up," he continued, "my parents didn't have more than the necessities. We were taught that when we go away from the plate, it is empty. Today, there is so much wasted food.

"Waste not, want not," he concluded, polishing off the last morsel of his sandwich.

On debt, he had this to say: "Ya gotta make up what you don't have; don't borrow it."

On eating out: "We frown upon eating at restaurants." (Many Amish eat out occasionally, but apparently not under Eli's oversight.)

On the Amish work ethic: "We work with our hands so we can help the poor; the Bible says to."

Eli expressed concern about the immoderate spending habits now creeping into Plain life and community. "Money is our biggest danger," he said, stabbing a finger in the air. "Too much leads to foolish spending, fancy foods."

By the time we were ready to wrap up our chat, I felt that Eli had warmed up to me, and I to him. Sure, he's kind of extreme, but I feel that he's a nice man, despite his severe pronouncements.

"I see you're wearing buttons there, Eli," I teased. "I thought buttons were verboten."

He grinned—a wide and blazing grin—and yanked open the top part of his shirt. I nearly fell into the bathtub.

The underside of his shirt revealed Velcro inserts. "I fooled ya, didn't I?"

The Amish, I was to learn, are full of surprises.


Four Hundred Thousand Dollars!

Amos certainly surprised me. The forty-five-year-old farmer had saved four hundred thousand dollars over the course of twenty years, while renting a farm and raising fourteen children. When I visited Amos and his wife, Fern, and their beautiful family, I looked for signs of stinginess, of a wife and children suffering somehow under the regime of a tight-fisted, straw-hatted Scrooge.

No one seems deprived; in fact, just the opposite. Amos and Fern's adorable children have a calmness and peace that I find striking and appealing. The Millers are a happy, thriving family, and Amos is a kind, loving father, who smiled fondly at his little ones as they climbed on and off his lap during our interviews. Fern told me that she's been checking out the fliers, looking for a sale on trampolines; this summer the little Millers are going to be bouncing and flipping to their hearts' content.

I tried every journalistic trick in the book to get Amos to impart pearls of wisdom, but it finally came down to this: "As far as our 'money secrets,' these are values handed down for generations—we can't take credit," he said.

And he's partly right. Thrift, common sense, wise money management, delayed gratification, etc., are taught from the time wee Moses and Mary are knee-high to a grasshopper. Amos can't boast about being thrifty any more than a child born into an Amish home could brag about knowing how to speak Pennsylvania Dutch. Money lessons are learned from the start of life.

Though he won't accept credit, Amos is definitely doing something right, and has been doing it—with Fern's help—for the last two decades.

Basically, Amos doesn't really know what he's done that's so remarkable. (The Plain humility is one more way the Amish are radically countercultural.)

"I've been around them a long time," said Banker Bill, "and the main thing that sets them apart, money-wise, is their values. They are upside down."

Kind of like the topsy-turvy English translation of some Dietsch sentences, like: "Jakie, throw Grampop down the stairs his hat." Or, "Ida, outten the light and make the door shut." And one more: "Buzzy, did you come over the hill down?"

It makes you wonder, just as we get the visual of poor Grampop lying on his head at the bottom of the stairs, just which culture has things wrong side up?

When compared to our Englisher money bungles, the Amish way of wealth is a whole inverted lifestyle of thrift, self-control, carefulness, sharing, and community. It's a curious prosperity—a rootedness, simplicity, and a step back to "quaint" money values—that goes way beyond debt-free living.

My peek at the Amish and their upside-down ways convinced me: they turn us Fancy folk on our excessive, over-leveraged heads.

So how do we get turned right side up again?

The Amish can't teach us one golden piece of money wisdom that will help us live happy, contented lives while slowly but surely amassing gobs of cash like Amos did. On the contrary, there are about a dozen financial habits—money secrets—that we can pick up from folks like Amos (and Bishop Eli, Ephraim, Sadie, Naomi, et al.), spokes in a wheel that has been turning smoothly for centuries.

Hanging out with Amish folk such as Amos, I finally learned to pay attention to their habits and practices more than their words.

There was the old shovel, perfectly usable, with a piece of steel welded onto the handle, lying in the front flower bed ("You and I would have bought a new shovel a long time ago," Banker Bill pointed out). "We try and repair what we can," Amos said with a shrug.

Fern buys flour and sugar and other staples in fifty-pound bags from the Amish bulk food store, eliminating the middleman and saving scads over the years.

And as cherished as Lizzie, Eli, Katie, Sadie, and the rest are to their parents, Amos and Fern do not spoil them with a lot of extras. "We don't buy them whatever they want," Amos said.

When the work is done and the cows are milked, the Millers have fun together, playing badminton and making soft pretzels and homemade ice cream. The gentle tempo of their simple lifestyle seemed like soothing music to me.

Amos, you may not be willing to give yourself a pat on the back, but I give you all the credit in the world. Now all we have to do is figure out how to apply your tips (or "non-tips," as it were) to our own lives, and we'll be on our way to standing financially upright once again.

Chapter Two

UWMW: USE IT UP, WEAR IT OUT, MAKE DO, OR DO WITHOUT

It took creativity, duct tape, and some stuffing of shame, but our bashed-in, totaled minivan looks pretty good.

It's my best example of "making do," one of the Amish community's most fantastic ways of saving money.

"Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without," said Andy, the Amish boat cover maker, with a big smile. He's not the first guy to spout that maxim, but the Plain folk really take it to heart, and so they save big.

The Amish are keen menders, going to great lengths to fix what is broken, patch what is torn, and repair what is repairable.

I like the dictionary definition of mend: "to restore something to satisfactory condition," or "to improve something or make it more acceptable." But that's not the American way.

We ladies and gentlemen of the World often think nothing of chucking our less-than-fabulous cars/clothes/ furniture/you name it and replacing them with new cars/ clothes/furniture at the first sign of wear and tear. We like our things to be new and shiny, because most people are essentially like birds. (Yes, birds, flapping our wings excitedly whenever we spy something glossy and gleaming.) And after watching the Amish, and seeing their patched pants, darned socks, refurbished equipment, and even mended fences, I realized I was being a bit of a birdbrain myself by not "making do" much more often.

I can't sew on a button (though I learned to thread a needle in Pioneer Girls years ago), and I'm about as handy as the cast of The Real Housewives of New York City. But I did find out that I was pretty darn dexterous with a roll of tape.

Besides, making do is more of a mental exercise anyway. Can I emotionally deal with a wood-paneled microwave, a camera that's been dropped one too many times, or the world's ugliest tray tables? That was the real question.

So I took stock, listing things in my home that had more "wear" left in them, and committed to making them last. But it wasn't long before my main revamp project became abundantly clear. One morning, on my way to the bank, I was rear-ended by a genius in a conversion van, yapping away on his cell phone. Well, he rear-ended a guy in an SUV—with tow hooks poking out the front—and that guy rear-ended me.

Boom! Crunch! Ugh.

Other than a little whiplash and a seriously shaken psyche (I have a little PTSD from previous, serious car accidents), I was okay. But the van, a 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette, was definitely on the bubble. It was never going to win a beauty contest anyway, but now the vehicle was uglier than sin, pockmarked with two twin holes in the back bumper, where the SUV driver's tow hooks had punctured them.

Surprisingly, it was still drivable, and I drove off to the banker anyway.

Soon we learned that our trusty white van was totaled. I immediately thought this meant that we were going to have to take out a loan for a "new" used van, since our savings were scraping, as Bishop Eli said, the bottom of the barrel because we were moving. Truth be told, I was tempted to get another van, even if it meant a car loan we couldn't afford. Though I had never been "car proud," as they say (once I had to be told what "detailing" was because I had no idea), it's one thing to drive an older-model car with tinges of rust, and another to drive the Unsightlymobile.

And if I can be very shallow for a moment here, it didn't help matters that our son plays hockey in the city's wealthiest area (not because we live there, but because it's close-ish and has a great hockey program). It was hard for me not to feel self-conscious about driving into that parking lot six times a week and parking that dreadful-looking, aged, smashed-in clunker beside thirty-five-thousand- dollar SUVs.

This is where I needed to just suck it up and try to rise above it.

The Amish, with their upside-down values, would probably look at my van and think highly of me, although this was small comfort to me when I parked by a friend's sparkling new Volvo. "We admire someone with a new car or a new house," said Banker Bill. "But the Amish look at this completely differently. They look favorably on someone who is not living ostentatiously, but is instead living a modest and simple life. If someone is living high off the hog, the Amish would look at him and think he was abandoning their faith."

Unsightly though it may be, we drove that car another seven months before we finally figured out a cheap way to give it a little makeover. Doyle, my husband, helped a friend of ours—a body-shop guy—replace the crumpled van door with a new door. The brilliant "Grandpa George" also artfully covered the four-inch holes with white duct tape to match the van. Our cost? For parts, $120, a whopping savings of $3,880, as we would have spent around $4,000 on a comparable used van. Oh, the tape is visible to the naked eye, but just barely. I love it!

Like I said, that was the major "make do" project in our lives, but there were definitely more where that came from.


Fancy Doin's

Andy's business making and repairing boat covers and reupholstering boat seats turned out to be one of those enterprises that prospers during a national money pinch. "You can't sell a boat for its value these days," he said. "People are hanging on to their boats because they can't sell them. Instead, they are fixing their boats up, repairing their canvases and having the seats reupholstered."

In short, people are making do with their old boats, so Andy's business dovetails perfectly with his Amish ideals.

In a recession, though, even us Fancy folk are finding ways to "make it work," as Project Runway's fashion design mentor, Tim Gunn, likes to tell his designer contestants.

Continues...


Excerpted from MONEY SECRETS OF THE AMISH by LORILEE CRAKER Copyright © 2011 by Lorilee Craker. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 Upside Down 1

2 UWMW: Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make Do, or Do Without 9

3 Don't Eat the Marshmallow: Learning Delayed Gratification 31

4 Pay on Time 47

5 Rethinking Gifts 55

6 Saving 75

7 Operation De-spoil the Kids 91

8 Repurpose, Recycle, and Reuse 105

9 Dead Horses Smell Bad, but Debt Smells Even Worse 121

10 Shopping Secondhand 133

11 To Bulk or Not to Bulk? 159

12 Amish Foodies or Frugal Feinschmeckers 175

13 Bartering: I'll Trade You This Cow for a Bunch of Rugs 195

14 The Best Things in Life Are Free 211

Acknowledgments 221

About the Author 224

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 11, 2011

    Solid Advice for Stupid Times

    A great read for folks trying to be smart with their money. Proof that good financial habits are built on common sense. A necessary read in our current economic state, especially for younger people trying to get started in life.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2011

    Money Secrets of the Amish

    In a world so focused on consumerism and debt the basic things are labelled as "secrets", when I think of the title "Money secrets of..." I can't help but thinking "how sad that we now regard it as secrets", definitely some years ago it would have been regarded as just simple common sense.

    There is no "money secrets" in Lorilee Craker's book, just some basic common sense that from time to time we should be reminded of. Nowadays we seem to have our priorities in the wrong place and in these economic times is now, more important than ever to have well set our priorities. In the Amish world this seems to be simplicity, family, and among "their secrets", avoid debt, live with less, shop second hand, buy what you really need, be self-sufficient in whatever you can, trade for goods and services, save more and be as resourceful as you can. I have to say, that most of all the "tips and tricks" were already known and practised in my household, however the book left me completely inspired to continue the same lifestyle and even try a couple of new things.

    The narrative style with nice touches of humour make this book a page turner. If you are on the frugal side of life and you value the simple and basic things in life this book will not disappoint you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Money Secrets of the Amish

    While the stories and characters mentioned in this book are unique, the tips most certainly are not. Frugal advice such as recycling, saving, avoiding debt, and thrifting are not new concepts. Still, Craker writes with a unmistakable voice. Her work as an editor makes the words flow across the pages; and her work as a journalist makes you feel as if you are getting some sort of inside scoop. All that being said, this book is best as a reference book but reads lightning fast as if it were a letter from a parsimonious friend. The Amish values are told with much respect, and readers get a taste of the culture.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2012

    Save your money...don't buy the book!

    The advice given in this book is extremely basic and repetitive. It might benefit someone who is absorbed in debt and completely unaware of any budgeting techniques. Same info we should already know...be frugal, no loans, reuse.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    Highly recommend

    loved this book. Already tried some of the reciepes and they where great.

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Belittling of the Amish Community

    I know very little about the Amish, but the one thing I do know is they are frugal and never wasteful. That is exactly what I strive to be everyday, so the title of Lorilee Craker's book Money Secrets of the Amish really caught my eye. A mother and a journalist, Craker interviews an Amish community to get to the heart of their secrets. She takes the lessons which the "plain" people live by and turns them around to fit our fast-paced, often wasteful society.

    As a journalist, Craker tends to interject quite a bit of her own opinions about the Amish "secrets;" some opinions actually appearing condescending and belittling to their community. Written like a conversation with a teenager, she seems to skew some of the Amish philosophies to the point that the philosophy no longer fits a money-saving lifestyle, particularly the section on "delayed gratification" in which she even miscalculates a money-saving formula, costing her some credibility about economics (p. 40). The author makes quite a few assumptions about her reader which I felt, in my case, were not accurate assumptions, making it very difficult for me to relate to her points.

    In general, I felt that the "secrets" of the Amish that she lays out in this book are not secrets at all, but rather common sense practices of saving money. I suppose, if you are quite a spender and have had little exposure to the world of money-saving, this book may be of some interest to you. Otherwise, I would highly recommend purchasing a book from someone with an economic background, such as Dave Ramsey, whom she credits several times throughout her book.

    Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze for the purpose of an unbiased review. I received no other compensation for this review.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    thrifty advice...

    Money has become harder to come by in recent years and a book that promises to teach us ways to make ends meet somehow is definitely a must read. And who better to lecture us than the Amish people who uphold the simplicity of life in everything they do.

    Instead of delineating tips and tricks to help us save more, this book actually challenges us to examine our own spending habits and what we can change about it to make it work for us during this time of crisis. It helps us choose what we really need and what can be put off for later, or put off for good. It's all about re-discovering the bare essentials of life and sticking to what matters, instead of what looks good to our eyes.

    It also shows the contrast between Amish children and the more worldly ones we encounter everyday, perpetually glued to the television and listing down fancy stuffs they want to have. More than anything, this book will teach us the value of returning to a much simpler way of life, where the simplest of things can turn us into the happiest lot. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

    I got an ARC of this book through Booksneeze.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    Engaging

    With the economy the way it is it's no wonder that more and more people are looking towards other means to live frugally. I've always been intrigued by the Amish and this just put another layer on that. It's amazing how strict they live but still indulge (within reason) in things that they enjoy just to keep themselves in check. If you want a quick interesting peek into the lives of the Amish financially then this is for you. It's a very down to earth book with touches of humor and insight into how they handle Christmas to simple ways to stretch food.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    A 'rich' alternative in good and bad times ...

    The last week I studied on an economical issue. Now economical issues are so 'not me', don't ask for my report marks ... so this was quite a step for me. I read Lorilee Craker's book: Money secrets of the Amish - finding true abundance in simplicity, sharing and saving. The title sounded promising and my curiosity was aroused when spotting this book.

    I think it's good to tell you here that I am a Dutch woman, happily married and mother of three teen-agers, housewife but also working 3 days p/w. We don't sit on heaps of money and that's quite an understatement. I bet you can understand why I was attracted to this book, apart from my interest for the Amish in general.

    Now this book really was a good read. As a Dutch woman I must confess I had to skip the American names of shops, supermarkets, things like garage sales etc. There is a difference in culture and shopping system, that's for sure. The main search of the author however was something I completely recognize. Add the humour of the author's comments from time to time and I bet you will be hooked too. It's nice to have a laugh at yourself and to face the mirror the Amish are so kind to hold up for us ...

    The big lesson the Amish teach us is to be VERY much aware of your lifestyle, in all its aspects. In daily life, whatever you do, money is quickly involved ... how to deal with this in a good way? How do you cope with the coins and credit cards in your hand, what about eventual debts, how do you spend your money and why like this? Can you step back and live more soberly if needed?

    The Amish show us a 'rich' alternative, I'm convinced of that. On money but on much more. There are many 'inside views' of that in the book. Like UWMW: Use it Up, Wear It Out, Make Do or Do Without. Be frugal with the gifts of Mother Nature, don't throw everything 'just' away because it's out of fashion or whatever. Recycle, reuse.
    Another good one: think about the distinction between I want and I need. When you really face this, your way of spending money may change. Your whole lifestyle may change.

    In short: this book is a nice challenge to see your own lifestyle compared to that of the Amish way of living. It's worthwhile to reflect on that. And for me it was a big relief to see this way of life articulated. To be able to share the value of what is called 'common sense'. Because that's what it is all about.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    Great Money Saving Tips!

    I've never considered myself to have much in common with the Amish. In fact, I didn't quite understand how they lived, other than something reminiscent to "Little House on the Prairie".
    But I must say, I was a bit intrigued by the opportunity to review a book called Money Secrets of The Amish, by Lorilee Craker. And since
    Lorilee Craker decide to find out how the Amish were not only surviving but thriving in this economic downturn. She set out to pick the mind of an Amish man named Bishop Jake, and here's what she found.
    The Amish people scrape from the bottom of the barrel more than others. Their mentality is this. Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without. Let's say you brake something or your refrigerator stops running. When others would simply just go buy another one, the Amish will get it fixed saving hundreds of dollars. They basically will use what they have and continue to fix it.
    Another point is to rethink your gift giving. The book stated that one of his children got a coloring book for her birthday. Now I must say, this one is a bit hard to digest. I get the point, but my kids would NEVER go for a coloring book! However, it does make a little sense. Keep gifts small and simply. Don't go into foreclosure behind the latest and greatest gadget or game system. Kids don't always need that stuff anyway.
    Lorilee mentioned how she did some thrift shopping for some one's birthday. She was able to find brand named items that her niece loved for a fraction of the price. Now that's a tip that I'm willing to try, as long as the items are like new.
    Here's another tip from the Amish. Pay everything on time. they feel that when you don't pay on time, your are steeling from that man, or business for how ever many days it takes to pay them back. I know that sounds extreme. The Amish also:

    Enjoy delayed gratification
    Are habitual recyclers
    Shop second hand
    Buy bulk
    Barter, barter, barter
    Grown their own food and shop at Farmer's Markets
    Realize that the best things in life are free!

    I really liked this book. There are a lot of common sense, easy to do tips inside. Some are a bit extreme because of the Amish religious beliefs, but you can still learn a thing or two. In fact, you may already being doing some of these things to save money.
    I would recommend this book to anyone who is tired of being broke and is open to a whole new approach to being frugal.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    Highly recommended- very interesting book

    I just finished reading "Money Secrets of the Amish". This is another book I received free from "BookSneeze" just for writing this review. This book was really out of my circle for normal reading material. I have never read a book on money and how to be smart with it. I found that it drew me in with the little tips and quirks about the Amish and how they live. All the information is easy is understand and almost obvious. I gained a hole new respect for the Amish people and there way of life. Don't get me wrong I 'm not going to stop using buttons and start riding in a horse and buggy. I will however be using quite a few of the tips and ideas that I found it this book. This book really made me look closely at the money problems in our house hold. It even sparked a three hour conversation between my husband and I about where we could be cutting corners. Overall I found this book to be four stars out of five. If I knew a friend that was looking for books on money then I would definitely recommend this book to them.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Money Saving Secrets

    Book Review

    Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving, Craker, Lorilee, Thomas Nelson, 2011

    I live in the most densely-populated portion of the United States. One hour east of Philadelphia, two hours south of New York City, and three hours north of our Capital. Less than two hours west is Lancaster County, PA, homestead of one of our nation's largest Amish communities. If ever one was trapped in between irrational exhuberance and old-world abundance, that would be me. You can read the same thrifty tips in the stuffy Wall Street Journal as Craker wrote in her humorous book. But Craker's take is personal. And that's what makes the difference. You can live nearby, read all about it, and truly believe these are great ideas - for someone else. Or, like Craker, you can take the time to become a true doer by taking a short drive across the river and spending some time with the Amish, getting to know them personally, blending into their community, and thereby coming away with a trans-cultural union that will yield the simplicity, sharing, and saving that Craker knows and writes about. It's not just about the money and Craker gets the point across in fun, personal, and enticing ways. Enticing enough to make this densely populated reader encourage his family and other readers to give up and give in to a lifestyle not driven by driving, bugged by plodding buggies, or longing for good schmeck instead of show.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    Less is More

    In today's economy, books on spending less have become popular. Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker is one of those books. In this book, Craker interviews the Amish to find out how they are thriving in the financial downturn of America.

    There wasn't a whole lot in here that was out of the ordinary for people who are already living simply: the three R's, curbing wants, practicing delayed gratification, de-spoiling the kids. BUT, I did really enjoy Craker's chapter on giving different kinds of gifts (homemade, those from consignment stores, etc.) and her chapter on bartering. Creative for sure!

    While the book does offer some good ideas about saving money, I feel like Craker doesn't really want to be more simplistic. And that put up a barrier between me and what she was trying to say. I'm not convinced Craker wanted to be like the Amish; she just wanted to free up some extra money. I think what threw me off was the title's subtitle: "Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving." She just didn't convince me that she thought the Amish's lifestyle was true abundance.

    Do I recommend it? Not really, unless you are at the very very beginning of this journey.

    Let's share ideas: How have you adjusted your life to be more simple? What's worked? What hasn't?

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    How to Live with less stress and debt

    Money Secrets of the Amish
    Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing and Saving
    Lorilee Craker © 2011
    Thomas Nelson Publishers
    ISBN 978-1-59555-341-6
    220 pp. (alk. paper)

    A typical Amish farmer in twenty years, while raising fourteen children on a rented farm, saved forty thousand dollars to buy his own farm. That's one thing Lorilee Craker learned when she investigated how these people could do so well during the present recession. Her many discoveries can help anyone better manage finances.
    She learned the Amish money policies not only allow them to save and spend wisely, but also to find peace and contentment in their lives. They understand delayed gratification (no impulse buying!) for one thing, and always pay on time, or preferably never borrow or use credit cards. The Amish, exceptionally hard workers, also know that the best things in life are free.
    Craker's writing style is delightful, breezy and conversational, which contributes to a good read.

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    Money Secrets of the Amish

    An easy to read book about finding abundance in a simple life. I've seen quite a few Amish communities since moving to Michigan and has always been intrigue by their way of life. Which is the reason why I picked this book from the choices available at "Booksneeze" for free. You get to see a glimpse of their way of thinking when it comes to spending and saving money.
    .
    The writer "Lorilee Cracker" spends some time with an Amish community to learn their secrets in living a frugal life. I gave this book 3 stars because most of her tips are pretty obvious practical way of spending money, recycling things and sharing. There are times when she enumerates too many examples on a certain tip that it becomes too dragging. She also shared ideas from her frugal "Englisher" friends.


    If you are trying to find ways of being thrifty, this book have tons of advises on how to save. Some advises will be too difficult to follow through in this magazines and commercials influenced buying world.


    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Makes you rethink your own life

    I enjoyed reading Money Secrets of the Amish as it reminded me of how I used to think. Before I got married, I had great credit, I was very frugal and didn't spend as frivolous and think about wanting things as I do now. In the last few years, I have really had to rethink my purchases and hold back on the impulse buys. Being unemployed, married, and having a spouse that is also unemployed, we have really had to cut back and not buy the things we want. This book made me realize that it's time to stop wanting and start saving and being frugal again! I really should stop listening to my husband teasing me about being frugal considering our financial situation.

    Lately, we were talking about getting expensive electronic toys, but in reality, we didn't absolutely need them. Thankfully we didn't follow our impulse and buy them on a whim, we instead waiting and thought about it.

    I do need to be less selfish and start thinking about our future. I prefer living a simple life, just not as simple as the Amish.

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Easy to read, lot of great tips

    Lots of great tips and this is a fun easy read!

    Some of these tips are so basic we tend to over look them or think of them as 'Old Time' and not 'In style' Or tips that were only for the Depression era such as Use it up, Wear it out, Make Do or Do With out.


    Lorilee's writing style is so easy to read and keeps you interested. She shares the facts with some humor mixed in and some ways 'Englishers' (non- Amish people) have made a go at the advise from the Amish.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Good Practical advice for tough times

    Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving by Lorilee Craker takes a look into living a simpler, "greener" (as in saving money) lifestyle.
    Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving offers 14 chapters of practical hints and tips on managing money that reminds one of our grandparents' principles. Each chapter not only lays out the thoughts of the Amish but also has several "English" friends who are willing to share their own tips. It was also inspiring to read the author's own experiences relating to each principle learned.
    While Lorilee writes about the steps many of us are already taking of being thrifty and saving some green, it is good to pick up some extra ideas. I think everyone could benefit from the principle found in chapter 2- "UWMW" (Use it up, Wear it out, Make Do or Do Without.) That, along with other suggestions for recycling, reusing and thrift store shopping helps to get the creative juices flowing on how to build the savings account. The To Do section following each chapter is a good place to start putting those lessons to good use. I found this book to not only be educational but entertaining too.
    I would recommend Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, to anyone looking to improve their financial thinking.
    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Good book for frugal newbies!

    I just finished reading "Money Secrets of the Amish" by Lorilee Craker. It is a non-fiction book chock full of money saving advice. The author visits an Amish community in hopes of gleaning some ideas for surviving the Recession. She came home with tips for saving hundreds of dollars per year!

    I was very interested in this book because I have been reading many books about the Amish in hopes of capturing some of thier simplicity in my own life.
    The authors tips are things that any frugal person can figure out on his own. The author is a upper middle class mom who had no idea how to be frugal. If the reader is new to the frugal living game, I think this book would be beneficial. On the other hand, if the reader has been living the frugal life for a while, this book is probably not a good choice.

    Thank you to Book Sneeze for offering this book free of charge!

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Money Secrets of the Amish

    I thought this book looked very interesting, mostly due to the title and it's reference to the Amish Secrets. But unfortunately it was similar to many other books that list ways to "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without". In sometimes humorous but not earth-shattering ways, the author lists ways to do things cheaper. From simple ideas of using empty margarine containers instead of investing in tupperware, or bringing a bagged lunch instead of buying lunch, I really got the feeling that there was nothing new to share from the Amish perspective. The author has distant roots to the Amish, and was brought up in a Mennonite family. I found the title actually misleading, and maybe I expected something different from this book. She talks about ways that she saved money by shopping in second hand stores, or by paying for repairs on a household appliance instead of buying new. The other thing that she stressed was the importance of paying cash for everything. This is something we all could benefit from, but far from reality in the common household. She referred several times to one particular Amish family who rented a farm, raised 14 children, but they were still able to save $400,000 to put towards purchasing their own farm. They obviously were doing something right, but I am still trying to figure out the secret. The book was interesting to a degree, but so similar to dozens of other books already in bookstores about ways to economize by making better choices.

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