Friday, June 17, 2011

Simplicity, Sharing, & Saving...what a timely book!

Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker
Book Review

As soon as I read the title of this book, along with its subtitle, "Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving", I knew this was a book I was going to love reading! What a timely book-for my family as well as for most other people I know. The author, Lorilee Craker, sets about to discover some of the thrifty ways of her Mennonite ancestors by researching the frugal ways of the Amish.

The book is well-organized into chapters for each of the thrifty ways that modern families can adopt the money saving ways of the Amish people. Some of those include: buying used items instead of new, not replacing items that are still able to do what they need to do, evaluating 'needs' versus other reasons for purchasing things, gardening, canning, baking & cooking from scratch, finding low-cost or free fun activities, finding joy and fun in working together as a family, re-gifting, bartering, and so many more. These are certainly not new ideas. My family and I have been zealously frugal for many years, so there was scarcely a new idea in the book for me, BUT, I still wholeheartedly enjoyed reading this book. It is inspirational and challenging to have so many great ideas, along with the practical benefits and the author's examples of how she applied them to modern life, all gathered together in one well-organized volume. The author stresses, and illustrates with some great examples, the benefits of having a long-term financial vision, with the cumulative small sacrifices and savings providing the stepping stones to get there.

I could scarcely put this book down, and I plan to re-read it as necessary when I need a booster shot of inspiration. I have often been asked for tips on how my family gets along on one income with all needs well met. If I had the ability to write a book listing what our family practices, this would have been the book! Since that is far beyond my abilities, I am so happy to have found this book so I can recommend it to anyone who asks us our money saving methods. I *will* say that I would love to read the hypothetical 'volume two' that would contain more stringent methods that my family and I have yet to put into practice.

Beyond just the financial gains of a simpler, more thoughtful lifestyle, the author shows the benefits to self, family, and community, of choosing more interactive pastimes over the typical American leisure activities. Dining in with friends as opposed to eating out; playing games with loved ones instead of sitting passively watching a movie at a theater; finding the fun in doing meaningful work together as a family instead of needing to be entertained, are just a few examples of enriching life by choosing the simpler path.

This book is written in a folksy, conversational style. The ideas are (for the most part) practical (the art activities she recommends left me shaking my head at the cost/mess/uselessness of the 'product', but that is a very small part of the book.) and easily accomplished for any family truly desiring to save more and spend less. I highly recommend this book to all!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

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