I had this all typed and then it disappeared. Argh!!!
I have written about the Amish many times. I do believe I feel a definite kinship with them as I have Amish in my family lineage. They live a much simpler lifestyle than we do. It is a lot of hard work - but simpler.
There are so many lessons we can learn from them. They have a huge commitment to family and community.
I must admit - I do NOT approve of all the beliefs they have. I do not believe in shunning nor some of their religious teachings. BUT, saying that - I think there is so much we could learn and take from them.
DEBT FREE LIVING - they try to avoid debt like the plague. They save and save and pay cash for anything and everything they can. IF they have to take on debt - it is paid off quickly.
We could all learn from this. No charge cards, no home improvement loans, no buying just to be buying. Sell a home and buy down. Go smaller, different neighborhood, fixer upper. Keep that older vehicle. Fixing if most often cheaper than a car payment for years! Pay cash. We have as a society have become immune to debt. We believe it IS part of life. Granted it is harder for us English (what Amish call non Amish). We do not live as simply - we do live more in the city - we do drive. BUT we don't need all the debt we create. It just isn't necessary.
LEARN SKILLS - garden, sew, woodwork, crafting, crochet, knot, barter, gleaning. etc. Their children learn "how to" from the time they can do and learn. Heck, we don't even have home economics classes in schools any more. In my day, there was home econ., shop, auto mechanics, metal working, etc. We even had a trade school associated with our high school, that students could go part of the day and learn various trades.
Kids today don't seem to get those opportunities and even their parents can't train them in skills - as they don't have them either. We need to learn and teach older skills!!!!!!! Those skills MAY be what saves our society one day!!!!!
GROW AND PRESERVE - Amish grow huge gardens and preserve anything and everything. They have animals for meat, milk, eggs, cheese, etc. If they don't have something they need they trade or barter with a neighbor or family.
I realize that we can't all raise animals or have a huge garden. There are opportunities that we can take that will help. Grow things on patios if need be. Find area folks that provide us with fresh. Learn to glean from nature and barter with neighbors. Find wild nuts and berries. Seek out un-used fruit trees. Any fresh you get is healthy and less chemicals in your body. Fresh is best - your body and your pocketbook will thank you
COOK FROM SCRATCH
The Amish are masters of soups and casseroles. Yes, they have big families - but they get creative with what they have. They make bread, noodles, home baked good, snacks of all types. Start with simple meals. Work into making all sweet snacks (so much better than store bought), make popcorn for evening snacks. Start small and work into it. It saves ton of money and tastes so good.
SAVE - save and save more. Save for the future. Save for emergencies. Save for wants. Save for schooling. Save for whatever may come your way. SAVE!!!!!!!!!
SHOP AT HOME - look around and get creative with your cooking. Always check the pantry and freezer before going to the store for the tenth time in the month!!!!! Keep an inventory and know what you have and USE IT.
This isn't just about cooking. Use old clothes materials for quilts, pillow, children's clothes, any project. Old blankets are great liners for quilts or for making jackets or sweatshirts. Scrap wood can be turned in crafts and gifts. Home canning can be gifts. Old pallets can be turned into beautiful objects. Garbage can become compost. Look for new uses for jams, jellies, sauces. Get creative and use what you have.
Don't be envious of others and what they have - odds are they are in debt up to their eyeballs. I sure wouldn't want that. BE HAPPY for what family and friends have - no envious.
Become more of a minimalist. Remember it is isn't about WHAT you have - but LOVING and USING what you have. Contentment equals happiness in my book!
BUY BULK - The Amish do stock up on things like flour, sugar, yeast, oats - things they use everyday and will continue to use everyday. I like to have a good allotment of certain things as well. I keep TP on hand - it doesn't go to waste and will always be needed! Pet products are a big stock item for me. I have plenty of sugar on hand for canning, baking, hummingbird nectar, etc. It is wise to stock-up on things that you WILL USE when you can get a deal on them. NEVER stock things that your family won't use or eat. That is just wasteful spending. Be wise and stock up when you can on what you can. Get the best deals available.
HANG THAT LAUNDRY
No it may not save you a fortune - but it does save. Also it gets you out in the sunshine, gives you exercise, and cuts out on chemicals in your laundry and your life. Nothing like the smell of a line dried sheet! I realize many neighborhoods don't allow this in the U.S. You can get drying racks that set in the sunroom, back patio or bathtub. You could hang laundry in the basement or the garage. Get creative and enjoy the smells of fresh air and save a bit of money.
BUY QUALITY - don't buy junk just to save money. The Amish are great craftsmen and make much of their belongings. No we can't always do that - but buy wise. Make good choices. A quality piece may be more of a cash outlay - but it WILL LAST. I'd rather buy something of quality and spend a bit more, than buy junk and spend dollars over and over again.
So there you have a few lessons that we can all learn from the Amish. I think many of us already follow so many of these items every day. I try to.
A simple life isn't always the easiest life. It can be work. I do believe that a little hard work that shows us good results is so satisfying.
Get creative - work a little harder - save a little more and be the best steward you can be of this ONE LIFE you get.
BE CONTENT AND BE HAPPY