June 27, 2014

"How to save $400,000, raise 14 children and buy a $1.3 million farm."

"Financial secrets of the Amish."
It’s this incredible bone-deep thrift, which is not really stinginess. It’s a generous frugality. They will go to great lengths to re-use, re-cycle and re-purpose. They don’t do it to be green, they do it to be thrifty.
Here's the book: "Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving."


Kelly said...

Not only Amish. My in-laws were extremely frugal. They never ate out...ever, my mother-in-law clipped coupons, made everything from scratch. My father-in-law delivered milk, than bread. When my sister-in-law took over their finances weren't we all surprised to find they had saved almost a half a million dollars. Imagine if that had been invested over the years.

Don't get me wrong, they weren't totally cheap. They always had one nice car (mil didn't drive), they drove or flew out to where ever we were stationed, including Germany. They lived in the same house for forty years. My mother-in-law shopped at Yonkers on the sales racks. They had an active life on the cheap.

Curious George said...

My favorite movie is Witness. I love the barn raising scene. Oh, and Kelly McGillis sponge bathing herself.

Bob said...

Old Amish joke:

Amish couple show up at the real estate office to buy a large farm.

"Sir, this farm costs half a million dollars. Do you really have that kind of money."

"Yes, yes. Marta, give him the coffee can."

The wife hands the real estate agent a coffee can, and he opens it, and its full of cash and gold coins. He eagerly counts it all up.

"I'm sorry, sir, this is only $400,000. The selling price is $500,000."

Amish man frowns at his wife and says, "Marta, Marta, you brought the wrong coffee can."

ngtrains said...

The largest Amish community in the US is about 90 minutes south of Cleveland. We have gotten to know two families, and they are wonderful people. But they have some lazy ones too. We purchased cherry furniture from one family of cabinet makers. I would sketch it and drop it in the mail, and they would send a postcard when it was ready. they planed their own lumber, and finished everything with out any electrical machines. A diesel engine powered the big machines and ran air compressors for the smaller drills and saws.

They had a division of labor that helped them accomplish a lot. One family made chairs, one made glued-up table tops, another made table legs. ONe would think they had an MBA in manufacturing instead of an 8th grade education.

the oldest son usually inherits the land and farm, so the younger kids took up some form of woodworking.

Honestly, we do not care for their food. Lots of heavy grease and gravies. We knew of two men who had bypass surgery. Yes, they are not obese, but they do have health problems. (and some of that comes from intermarrying in such relatively small communities.)

St. George said...

Clearly, not a book one buys. Waste of money.

Sex secrets of the Amish, yes.

14 children.

Sigivald said...

You can save lots of money by trying to save money, and by not buying lots of stuff, and by spending time instead of cash.

True facts.

Humperdink said...

I live and work with the Amish. Most of the article was spot on, excepting the obesity comment. Yes the men are not obese. The women, however, are all obese. They spend most of the time in the kitchen cooking/food tasting..

If you wonder how a woman can take care of 14 children, it's quite simple. As the children age, they are responsible for taking care of the younger ones. BTW the record here in NW Pa is 18 children.

eddie willers said...

They don’t do it to be green, they do it to be thrifty

The joys of capitalism:

I moved into a new neighborhood and while they were giving me the lowdown, they told me that garbage pick-up bags could be purchased at Kroger, Publix or City Hall. (Duluth, Ga.)

I, of course, looked at them funny and they explained that the garbage was picked up by a private company that printed thier name on purple, 30 gallon bags. ($32 a box at Kroger. About $2 a bag.)

If those bags are sitting out on the curb on pick up day, they get hauled away. No official bag, no garbage pick up.


It always used to piss me off that, as a single male, I would put out about 1 trash can every other week while my neighbor with 3 kids looked like they were having a yard sale....AND YET WE WERE PAYING THE SAME MONTHLY FEE!

Now, however, I'm at about a buck a week while they are paying thier "fair share". (and it really IS fair, lowering my blood pressure)

Now as for Green:

I have so little interest in going green that a light a car tire to celebrate Earth Day.

But as the same time I am getting my bags, I am given a recycling carton.

The recycling bin is FREE!

All of a sudden, I am the greenest (and cheapest) guy in the neighborhood. Crushing my empties to make for more room for my free garbage.

And that is how capitalism made a greenie out of me.

eddie willers said...

Amish drive by shooting:


Jason said...

The problem is, Americans think it's weird.

I recall reading a trade magazine featuring a financial planner who worked with the Amish. Good stuff.

Christy said...

Fourteen kids without cellphones, there's your $400k.

Humperdink said...

@Curious George. I actually participated in an Amish barn raising several years ago. I was a board carrier/nail pounder. It was a for a poor English (us) farmer whose barn burned down. The Amish could put a barn together in their sleep.

Another Amish astonishing feat that occurred 3-4 years ago: an Amish home burned to the ground on a Friday. The family moved back into their new home at the same location the following Tuesday morning. Their version of homeowners insurance.

ALP said...

There have always been simplicity movements of one type or another. Coming from a frugal family myself, I read Schumacher's "Small is Beautiful" as a teenager, and loved it.

What I find disturbing is that it requires drumming up the fear of total environmental meltdown, or the end of our lifestyle as we know it, to get people to think frugally and slow down to enjoy simple things. If you ask me, being moderate and frugal is good for the soul, and I'll continue to live this way even if we invent an energy source that creates unicorn farts and cotton candy as a by product.

Fernandinande said...

Inferring an AQ
Posted on February 7, 2014 by harpend

Back in December Greg and I posted a draft of a paper on assortative mating, class, and caste. We asked for input and we got a lot, for which we are grateful. In that manuscript we described a thought experiment in which the rate of boiling off of young Amish each generation might act like truncation selection in favor being Amish, whatever that might be. We suggested that one might construct an “Amish Quotient” inductively by analogy with the way that IQ was discovered and developed, purely from correlations among observable traits. Pie in the sky but all is fair with thought experiments.
Here is the result: each letter is the placement of an individual subject in the PCA space. The “a”s are young Amish men while the “n”s are young non-Amish men. There is almost a complete separation between the two groups: a Fisher discriminant analysis between the two group misclassified two of 50 subjects with its hit-miss table.d There are black circles around the two Amish men misclassified by the discriminant function.

AJ Lynch said...

One commenter claimed the Amish don't have to pay into soc security and medicare. If true, that saves them 15% right off the bat. Helps to explain how they can save 20% - perhaps it is a lesson for the country.

garage mahal said...

As long as they ain't reusing or recycling do be a libtard greenie I'm fine with it.

John said...

They don’t do it to be green, they do it to be thrifty.

I just published an article on similar lines.

Ever wonder why plastic water bottles in particular(and all plastic bottles, in general) are getting lighter and using less plastic?

The bottlers claim it is to be green and it is green. The real reason is to save money.

Each gram less plastic saves more than a kg per minute on a each bottling line. Or 500,000+ KG per year at about 75 cents a kg.

Article here:


John Henry

m stone said...

Compare the Amish way of making (saving) money to the reselling of dogs to make a buck.

Speaks volumes.

paul a'barge said...


bought the book.

Freeman Hunt said...

The tip must be: Stop buying things. But that's not a book's worth. I assume there's then a list of the things one could buy but will not if following the tip.

Smilin' Jack said...

""How to save $400,000, raise 14 children..."

They probably think Darwin was a tool of Satan. So 200 years from now, they will have no idea why they have inherited the earth.