I am a reader. An avid reader. Recently, I have been really enjoying nonfiction books, primarily about homesteading but also about homemaking in general. I am not quite sure but some how I stumbled upon Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Cracker. It must have been on a site where someone reviewed the book because I didn't read the beginning i.e. Introduction prior to requesting it from the library. The back cover was enough to intrigue me and thankfully I didn't have to wait too long.
The book is quite short and that alone was one of the reasons I chose to start with it over many of the other books that came in to the library for me that day. (For those of you who don't know, I use the library a lot. Some strange workings though typically make it so I need to pick up over twenty books one week and then nothing for the next three. Perhaps someone else borrows the same books as me?)
I really enjoyed the first half of this book. It contains a lot of great thinking points and really simple ideas. They aren't revolutionary or even ground shaking but they did a good job of making me ask myself questions.
The ideas that I really walked away with were regarding use it up, wear it out, make do or without, gifts and contentment. The use it up, wear it out, make do or do without really just drove home the idea that I need to use what I have, get rid of what I don't need and make do without everything else. It was like a little reminder of my 100 Things goal. (For those of you who are interested, I have already reached the 50 things mark and we are not even halfway through October.)
The information on gifts was also a good reminder. The chapter contains lots of ideas but the main point I took away was: gifts can be great (it is he thought that counts, right?) but the need to compensate and go overboard needs to go. I love buying gifts for everyone. It is my way of showing them how much I love them. The truth is though, that I need to find other ways. Gifts, specifically objects, aren't really necessary. Experiences are good, time is better. And I don't need to give people who I love tons of things just because I love them. Do I spend lots of time shopping? No. I do however spend a lot of energy finding the perfect gift all year when perhaps a batch of their favorite cookies and a sincere handwritten note (on all the lovely stationary/cards I have amassed) would be just as well received and appreciated. It would also be less stressful. Granted, I don't stress too much over gifts but right before an event, I do get a little anxious about whether my gift is enough to express what I feel. With the holidays right around the corner, I am looking forward to making a more concentrated effort to enjoy the season and not get wrapped up (yes horrible pun, I know but it made me smile) in all the buying drama.
The final idea around contentment was also very thought provoking. The idea of teaching children to be content with what they have and to be content ourselves really hit home. The author gives a few examples of how she starts trying to teach her children and herself to be more content. While these examples don't really relate to my life personally (we don't have a television so we aren't inundated with commercials and my kids are too young to ask for "things"), the principle is the same. Eventually the boys will get old enough to want certain toys or shoes. Starting to teach them now about taking care of what they have and appreciating it is important. And of course, it is best to lead by example.
The second half of the book focused more on what could be obtained second hand or by bargain shopping. These chapters really didn't offer me much. I am already a firm believer in hand-me-downs, thrift stores, and bulk shopping. For someone who isn't completely sold on the idea though, these chapters would offer a lot of anecdotal support and tips. I still read every word of the chapters and am debating on whether to read it again (just the first half) before returning it. The whole book could be read in a day or over a few days as it is an easy read. Definitely worth picking up (if I found it used) to keep or pass on.
This article was shared on The HomeAcre Hop, The Prairie Homestead, Mostly Homemade Mom, Frugally Sustainable, My Turn for Us, The Farm Hop