Tuesday, September 2nd 2014

Extreme Frugality? Inspiration for Cutting Expenses and Debt.

by Mr Credit Card

Last Thursday was my 10th Year Wedding Anniversary with Mrs Credit Card. We went away to Strausburg, Lancaster County (where the Armish live) for a Spa get away. Aside from the wonderful spa treatments, we visited an Amish Village where we were given a quick tour and education about how the Amish people lived. To say it was an eye opener was an understatement.

After giving us a history of how the Amish people came to America from Europe, the tour guide then showed us how the Amish lived. Man, was this extreme frugality in action. Here are a few rules and points about their lifestyle.

1. They do not use electricity – just gas. Hence, you can see huge gas tanks by an Amish home.

2. No electricity means no televisions, no cable TVs, no internet connections.

3. They travel around in buggys (little carriages and horses). They can catch a ride in cars, but not own one!

4. They do not own any life or medical insurance. If they have an accident and the medical bills are too high, the church and community will hold fundraisers.

5. Most Amish study until a middle school equivalent and then move on to their “chosen profession”. (No worries about funding college education!)

6. We were also given a “tour” of a typical family house. One of the things that struck me was that everything in the house has to have a purpose or function. That means no decorative stuff or no ing stuff on impulse.

7. They dress simply and although there are different sets of outfits for married and single folks. No spending on extravagent clothes.

Armish Kitchen 1 Armish Kitchen 2

(Above left and right pictures) – These are pictures of an Amish kitchen. The kitchen is the only heated place during winter and is where most family activities are. Note the gas stoves and gas lights.

Armish Kitchen 3 Armish clothes

(Above Left) – blanket to keep warm during winter. (Above right) – Typical clothes of the Amish

Armish Gas Washing Machine Armish Transportation

(Above Left) – An old gas washing machine. Nobody makes them anymore. But apparantly, there are people who know where to get spare parts! (Above Right) – Transportation – No worries and debate about ing new car or used! No wasting time over getting the lowest rate for your auto loan!

Look, most of us are not simply going to live a life like that. But for those who are finding it difficult to reduce your spending and your credit card debts, there are lessons to be learnt from the Amish. Firstly, we can actually do without what many of us would consider “must have items”. Or at least, we can do without them for a short period of time. Cancelling your cable or magazine subsription is one way to cut some fat from our budget.

Another interesting thing about their house is that every thing in it has to have a purpose. How many of us simply something because of impulse purchase? Or simply to decorate the house. Look, if you have lots of cash or cash inflow, what you spend on is never an issue. But if you are looking to reduce debt, getting into the habit of not ing stuff for ing sake will go a long away to better your finances.

I hope this post is an inspiration for those looking to trim some fat from their budgets. And Oh! I forgot to ask if Armish poeple carry credit cards!

5 Responses to “Extreme Frugality? Inspiration for Cutting Expenses and Debt.”

  1. Amish America Says:

    Neat post and good points on the Amish approach to frugality.

    If you’re still curious, the Amish do use credit cards–just not all of them.

    Running a business in Amish areas, I’ve been paid on many occasions using plastic…Amish are not credit-averse, in fact many if not most purchase their homes, farms or finance construction of shops and barns with the help of a traditional bank mortgage. And when they do take out a debt, they are legendarily reliable in repaying on time, garnering high credit ratings among those that deal with them. On credit cards however, I know of some Amish that carry a balance (ouch). But you’ll never get a bad check from them.

    Credit cards depend on the church and its rules–the Amish run the range from highly conservative to progressive, so it’s mostly a local issue, depending on what the ministry and congregation decide. Credit cards are definitely out there in the Lancaster community, (especially with the amount of Amish businesses in that area) but maybe not in every household.

  2. Heather Says:

    I know for a fact that some Amish people do have credit cards! I work in a resturant, and quite a few of them pay their bill that way.

  3. fnog Says:

    I don’t think Amish people live as they do to save money, they do it as part of their belief system. You can give up electricity if you think your life will be better, or you can pay $75 a month or whatever it costs if you think it’s worth it. There comes a point in cheapness where you just make things more difficult for yourself. Living simpler isn’t necessarily living simpler. The Amish have to work damn hard to preserve what little they have. While most other Americans work hard to preserve the many things they have, so what’s the difference? Unless you have an assload of cash that you can live of off, or some other means of regular income you don’t have to do anything, you’re going to be working hard no matter what. Right now you stress about money… well if you start being super frugal, then instead of worrying about money you’ll just worry about every penny you spend, and on top you won’t even enjoy the things you used to buy, and you will resent the things you do buy. You’re just transferring stress from one level to another. I know… I am obsessive compulsive with money. And you’ll read articles about idiots who live in 100sq mobile homes to save coin….. even though they could live in a regular 700 sq foot mobile home for about the same. And you’ll read about other idiots who research endlessly, find the absolute cheapest town, and move their family across the country just so they can live as cheaply as possible. They dedicate their entire lives to being cheap. But the thing is, they’re willing to have virtually nothing and live uncomfortable just to save money! They’ll live in shit dirty, falling down houses, and have a mind set against entertainment and enjoyment just to save coin. They totally live in a prison of their own mind. They live in squalor just to avoid living in squalor. It’s ridiculous. Hell, I’d rather spend a lot of money and enjoy life than start saving money……. for what exactly? Everyone is going to die!!!!!

    If you really want to save money, how about becoming homeless? Then you won’t have to pay for a house or utilities at all. Come on people. There’s a difference between being frugal and just plain giving up EVERYTHING. Take it from someone who knows what it is like to lose everything. Once you start giving up the things you take for granted, then even simple things become an issue…. like where to go to the bathroom or where to change your clothes, or do you have somewhere to sleep that isn’t concrete and extremely uncomfortable? Losing everything isn’t that bad, it really isn’t….. but think about it people. Cause it seems to me that the reason people want to reduce their spending is so they don’t have to worry about things, and about money. If you give up enough things, then you’ll just start worrying about a bunch of other things, like where you’re going to get your basic necessities? Or where are you going to take a shit?

  4. fnog Says:

    People often criticize Americans for thinking too much about money. Could you imagine if everyone became frugal? We would think about nothing but money! Every penny. Tonnes of people would lose their jobs cause no one would buy anything, and we would have absolutely nothing to show for it. The world would be a damn boring place. We would all just work a lot harder and spend a lot less. The idea of cheapness is a self defeating principle because people save in order to be wealthy. But the wealth NEVER manifests in any form except cheapness. Cheapness manifests only as poverty.

  5. Sondra Says:

    Well actually, if everyone were frugal, we would work less, we wouldn’t be making things just for the sake of making more things – we would stop feeding the addiction of unncessary stuff – and strange as it may seem to you now – NOT buying, makes you come to terms with your creative self – something that our current culture has all but destroyed in most – creative people would cease being famous because we’d all be creative – like we used to be. What would happen is that we’d all be participating more in our actual life – less spectating and more participating. Something is very very wrong with our current way – and one way that shows this is that most people are in complete denial about it. Buying less wouldn’t mean that everyone loses their job – we’d start understand what really is important. The Amish aren’t working so hard they don’t enjoy life – they have embraced the true enjoyment of living and working. There is something so much more satisfying in building a barn for your community, or growing your own food, than there is in making duplicates of paperwork for a boss who’s idea you don’t even understand, let alone believe in. But you won’t see it – until you do. And that’s how people keep us all enslaved. And we are enslaved – welcome to the matrix.

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