Lessons from the Amish

Bill Del-Sette |

Many Capital Region residents are not aware of the large Amish population in the Mohawk Valley region of Upstate NY. If you live around the town of Esperance and need handyman work done, or perhaps a quilt or storage shed, you hire the Amish. They can be found every weekend selling their baked goods on street corners or in parking lots in Johnstown or Glen. One of the biggest risks drivers face in this area is running into a slow moving Amish buggy!

The Amish are extremely frugal, yet, do not appear unhappy living the simple life. They have purchased many of the derilect farms in the area and brought them back to life. In the book Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker, the author gives many examples of frugal Amish living. She even found one 40 year old Amish man who was able to save $400,000 in 20 years, and that’s with raising 14 kids and paying $1800 per month to rent a farm! Here are some Amish sayings on frugality:

“A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them a fortune” The Amish teach their children the value of hard work at an early age, and this does not deter the kids from staying Amish. According to one study, more than 80% of Amish kids choose to remain Amish all of their life.

“Don’t work for a dead horse.” This means don’t borrow! The only debt common to the Amish is for a home or farm, and then only after making a very large down-payment. Is it any wonder that the great recession did not harm the Amish?

“Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” — If we all heeded this advice, we would keep out TVs, computers and cars longer. The Amish are not afraid to pay for value, but they are comfortable buying at estate sales, garage sales and second hand.

In conclusion, if we all practiced a little more Amish frugality, we would probably have a lot less stress in our lives. Living within our means and helping others are values that can make sense for everyone.

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