Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Common Sense - It's How to Save $

 I have mentioned before that my ancestors were Amish.  I don't know if it is possible to have daily practices and ways in our genes - but if so - I DO!  Things were obviously passed down from them to grandparents and then to Daddy and to us children.  However, none of us thought about or were told it had anything to do with being of Amish descent.  I don't know that Daddy even knew we had Amish ancestors.  I found out on my own after he passed.  How crazy is that?????

Whatever it was - we all were taught to be mindful and frugal with our dollars.  How to do the best we could with what we had.  Maybe that came from being passed down OR maybe it just came from not having much!  Either way, it has become engrained in us - as my siblings are the same way.

  • Avoid debt and charge cards if at all possible.  IF you have debt - get it paid down quickly.  We  all have had debt at some point - but it is important to pay extra and pay down quickly if there is any possible way.  The Amish loathe debt - and try to avoid it all.  If they need a business loan - their first priority to pay it off quickly.  When you owe others - your money is never yours!
  • Grow, barter, glean whatever you possibly can.  If there is any way to preserve it in some way - do it!  Not everyone can have a garden - but perhaps look for ways to get fresh goods cheaply and use those.  End of day at farm markets, road side stands, friends/family, glean, food banks, etc.
  • Be as self sufficient as possible (I am not talking off the grid).  Know how to do stuff!!!!!  Take care of your own.  The Amish can MAKE about anything - cleaning products, baking goods, cooking from scratch, gifts, making clothes, quilts, gardening, compost, great craftsmen, etc.
  • They enjoy enjoy EXPERIENCES instead of stuff.  Have a picnic, play games, go to the swimming hole, take walks, enjoy nature, etc.
  • DON'T waste - and fix everything!   Find new uses for stuff instead of putting it in the trash.  Food, peels, etc.. can be compost or animal feed.  Use leftovers in new ways.  If something breaks, figure out how to fix it.  We have become such a throw away society - it is pitiful.  Either fix something or figure out something else that will do the job!!!!  Heck if the tea pot sprouts a hole - you can heat water in a pot.  No need for a microwave - use the stove.  You get the idea!
  • Don't pay retail - and shop at second hand shops.  Look for sales and clearance whenever you can find it.  Thrift stores and yards sales can be your friend!!  Let someone else pay the high price and you get it for pennies!
  • Buy in bulk when possible.  The Amish do this a lot and they split the deals amongst family or neighbors when they can't use it all in a reasonable timeframe.  This way you get a great price and you are also helping others
  • KNOW the difference between wants and needs!!!!!  HUGE  You need basic food to live, but you want the expensive deli items.  You need shelter for your family - but you may want a home that is too large.  You need food - but you want fast food.  See - we all have weak moments.  Yes, sometimes it does the body good to get a WANT - once in a while it is fine - but don't over do it. If we always do without those wants - it is a chore and we feel discouraged - so splurge once in a great while
  • Buy quality.  Quality will last and last.  It is better to spend extra to get a nice item than to replace it over and over.
  • Stay healthy!!!  Do all that you can manage to stay healthy.  Use natural and herbal remedies if you can.  Learn about these things.  It may not be something that is realistic in your case - but knowledge is golden and can help someone you know.    I have been very fortunate as I still take no medications and only take herbs and vitamins.  I work on staying healthy - that is huge for me.  Diets, lifestyle, herbs and vitamins are big factors to staying healthy.
  • Make gifts and novelty items for others.  I love getting something homemade - many do.  It can be food, canning items, crafts, candles, you name it.  
Living the simple life as many seem to think the Amish do - is NOT simple.  Hard work and determination  is what their lives are each and every day.  It is the life they choose - but it isn't always easy.  The work ethic they seem to have, should be bottled!!!!!!!  I don't agree with a lot of things that the Amish do - but that work ethic is wonderful.  I wish more had it - we would all be better off.  So many just want to take what they can get and find shortcuts to having  things - I find that sad.  
Good old fashioned hard wok, determination, and striving to be the best you can be - is what makes it all good!  

The greatest gift we can take from our ancestors is BE GRATEFUL!  Grateful for every little thing you have and you acquire in the world.  It may be things, food, home, abilities, knowledge or the people in your life - be grateful for them.
Life offers us many gifts and we need to be more aware and more appreciative.

Use common sense and you will find you become a frugal person.
Make the MOST of what you have.


  1. I am a grandma and probably slightly younger than you. However, I NEVER fail to be inspired and learn something new from your wonderful website!! Keep up the good work. Your wisdom and love is truly appreciated!!

    1. Thank you Linda. I just want to inspire someone once in a while - then I am good!

  2. Great post Cheryl, so many of these things I do and some I need to work on.

  3. Enjoyed reading this! I live in an Amish community and my cousins are Amish. It's a great way to live life.

    1. Love it!!!! I sure wish I lived closer to an Amish community. The closest is a small area about 70-75 miles S. from here (oddly area where my Dad grew up) - then most are way north of me. It is a fascinating world!

  4. Lots of good reminders here, Cheryl. To add to this, I would encourage everyone to really look closely at their finances -- especially at the debt you may be carrying. We were "just fine" with our finances and had a plan for retirement. But, when all that came crashing down, with hubs unexpected passing, it was a rude awakening.

    For those that may not know, if your spouse receives a pension (from a pension plan, not a 401K), pension payments for the surviving spouse are often reduced to 50% of what the pensioner gets. Overnight, my household income was cut by about 40%.

    Housing, transportation, and for the most part, utilities do not change when the household decreases by 1. Nor does the other accumulated debt change. Those monthly payments remain the same; your income likely won't.

    All of the sudden, it's YOUR credit rating that's at stake. You suddenly need a new refrigerator, or the car was leased in his name and you now need to purchase a car. Your credit score will impact not only the interest rate you're charged, but it will determine even IF you can get a loan / store credit.

    If you've not been involved in your family finances, I would encourage you to GET involved. Know what debt you have and to whom, what those amounts are, and at least give some minimal thought as to how you'd cover those expenses if you lost significant income.

    It was hard work, dealing with it after-the-fact, and I knew! It took me a good 12-18 months to get my ducks back in a row. I'm now more attentive to my finances and am looking forward every day.

    1. Very good points. Absolutely everyone needs both partners involved, just for the reason you mentioned, if none other. If not, you will be in the dark if something happens to your spouse.
      I was pleased that we both knew and were in involved in what we did. Husband made provisions when he got his retirement benefits (PERF) that he took less each month to insure I keep the full benefit amount for the rest of my life. I was lucky.

      Credit scores are important. When alone - even more so. You are right the bills stay about the same - maybe food goes down - but not much else.

      Great advice and I hope someone is listening and it helps them get through what may be a difficult time and even crisis in life. Thank you!!!!!!

    2. We thought we had it all figured out and were saving a lot of money each month for retirement when my husband had a heart attack and was without oxygen to his brain for 7 minutes. Life changed overnight when Hubby was only 57. Our income is now half and I am so thankful we were debt free when it happened.

    3. Oh Lana how awful. We can plan and plan and then LIFE happens and throws a kink into the thing.
      I am so happy you were debt free - what a blessing.
      We sure never know what God has in store for us from one minute to the next - our plans can change in an instant. It seems many of us have experienced that in one way or another.
      Blessings my dear.

  5. Yup, these are the right practices.. While I don't share their religious beliefs I do believe in how they live and I try to live my life that same way...

    1. Same here. I pick and chose what I like and their frugalness and taking care of the land and each and their inventive ways I am on board with!

  6. That is so cool you have Amish ancestry! I was just talking with a friend today whose brother is going to be homesteading in your state and she mentioned there are Amish there. I didn't even know they were in Indiana!
    So sorry for what happened to the ladies above; very eye-opening.
    You do encourage your readers, Cheryl. That's why we're here :)

    1. We have quite a large community in the northern part of the state and there is a much smaller, less known about community in the southern part.
      Yes, it is so sad that there is so much hatred.
      We have such a good group here. Thank you for your sweet words.

    2. My head was thinking of the blog from the other day - sorry. I know you were talking about Lana and Lori now. Yes, life can deal us some big blows that we are never prepared for or that we could ever anticipate.

    3. Hugs!! I should have specified their names.

  7. Another excellent post and comments! My mom and dad raised three boys in the hill of Kentucky during the Depression so they knew all about being frugal and making do. After they moved to Indiana in 1939 and my dad got a job at Allison's, he finally had job security.

    My youngest daughter lived in Sarasota and she said there are Amish down there. She would frequent one of their restaurants.

    We never know what will happen in the future and that is why it is smart, even imperative, to try to remain as debt free as possible.

    1. Thank you! It is amazing how much diversity and economic hardships our ancestors went through - and survived. We need more of their ethics today!
      My FIL worked there as well and they provided good jobs.

      It is so very wise to be prepared FOR ANYTHING. There is no limit to the WHAT IF's - so being as prepared as possible is best.

  8. Definitely some great ideas and suggestions there. I think the biggest lesson is to learn to avoid what I term "bad debt". That's credit card and loans taken out to pay off another form of debt. When one purchases items for immediate consumption, it's okay to use a credit card, as long as it is paid off before any interest accrues. And certainly, never pay only the minimum payment...the only one who wins with that approach is the credit card company.

    Good debt includes a mortgage because it should, in most cases, result in a gain in value in the long term. I'm not a fan of car loans because vehicles don't hold their value. In my mind it is better to purchase a used vehicle with no or a smaller loan.

    I don't purchase in bulk, with the exception of a few non-perishable items because there is just my son and I. On the other hand, I love buying items at the thrift stores when I can. And I'm always happy to find sales and clearance items of all kinds.

    Have a great day!

    1. AGREE!!! I sometimes use a CC when purchasing everyday things (to gain points for GC's), but it is paid off every month. Never pay interest. Minimum payments will get you no where. Make a min. payment - add interest - and on and on.

      You have done great and you do what works for you. You have a wise head on your shoulders. Each person needs to work with what is best for them.

  9. Loved your post today. We are so often obsessed with buying and spending we forget to trust ourselves. I just spread coffee grounds, tea grounds, and egg shells on my blueberries that I have saved and they love it. The acid in the coffee and tea grounds makes the bushes bloom and the egg shells stable out the needed nutrients from lime. I hate to waste. And I absolutely HATE artificial fertilizers.

    I would love if you would do a future article on your natural items you use for health. While I take a couple of medications and have a chronic condition, I am always interested in knowing how others do things more naturally. I make my own soap and bake my own sweets and cook but it is always good to know what others use for their health.

    I truly enjoy your daily articles and living alone is a challenge you help me conquer.

    1. Good for you and finding new uses for things. No need to waste anything when it can be put to good in another form! Love that.
      Knock wood - I am pretty healthy. I was a sickly child and have always said I got my sickness over with then!! LOL I do take some natural items. Check out todays post for a bit on that subject. I will do more later.

      I am glad you are here and we can just encourage each other and help each other - as it should be!

  10. I did not realize you had Amish ancestors! I wonder if you or Glen told me and I forgot? Anyway, having a grateful attitude is so important. I have to work on mine, but I do know I have a lot to be thankful for. When it is bitter cold, I am always so grateful for a warm house at the flip of a switch. I am grateful for AC, but not in the same way...LOL