Personal Finance Book Review: Money Secrets Of The Amish by Lorilee Craker – Use It Up, Wear It Out

In today’s cost conscious world, how much cash could you save by using things up until they’re truly worn out? Are you and your family currently engaging in such money saving practices?

Lorilee Craker is the author of the new book, “Money Secrets Of The Amish-Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing and Saving.” She examines their practices, extravagant in peace, family and community closeness. For them, thrift is a muscle that is exercised regularly.

Craker interviewed Amish folk in Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania, including an Amish banker whose clientele is 95 percent Amish. During the Great Recession in 2008, his bank had its best year ever. Amish experts and Englishers’ (Amish reference to anyone non-Amish), financial perspectives accentuate the book too. Here, the money-saving habits of using it up, wearing it out, making do or doing without are discussed.

“The Amish are keen menders, going to great lengths to fix what is broken, patch what is torn and repair what is repairable,” says Craker. Culturally, they’re thoughtful and careful about spending.

Craker notes the definition of mend, which is “to restore something to satisfactory condition,” or “to improve something or make it more acceptable.” “But that’s not the American way,” she says. Making do is more of a mental exercise.

Here are four ways to use it up and make do:

  1. Shop your own closet. First, organize your items so you can find things easily. Treat it like your own personal store. Arrange by clothing type, then color. Once organized, you can start seeing different mix and match ideas. Buy classic items first, and then start experimenting. Don’t buy anything unless it’s considerably different from items you already own.
  2. Shop your own home. Think of rearranging furniture and items in your house for new design.
  3. Grocery shop your own cupboards. Make dinner around available items in the fridge, pantry or freezer, instead of buying new groceries or ordering takeout. Get creative and save some cash. Craker says the average American household spends 42 percent of its total food budget on dining out.
  4. Fix it and forget it. Fix things yourself if you’re in the know-how, or hire a pro. Either way, you’ll save money over buying brand new.

Craker concludes with an Amish Money Makeover: list five items you’d like to replace with new but won’t, because you’re becoming a thrift seeker. Calculate the cost of replacing those items and money saved.

For simple tips, fresh ideas and great products to make your busy life brighter, Craker recommends visiting,

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