The Amish as financial model?

Actually, yes.  MarketWatch has a very interesting interview titled ‘Financial secrets of the Amish:  How to save $400,000, raise 14 children and buy a $1.3 million farm‘.  Here’s an excerpt.

I met this one farmer, Amos, near Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania. He had saved $400,000 over the course of 20 years while raising 14 children and renting a farm for around $1,800 a month. He was about ready to put down $400,000 on a down payment on his own $1.3 million farm. They’re big on big down payments and being in as little debt as possible.

. . .

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.

. . .

One lady in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was making pies while I was interviewing her. She would take the gallon tins from apple butter and cut off the top and the bottom, and create ‘hotkaps’ for gardening. They’re plant protectors that would cost $15 in a store. Their mindset is, “What do I have on hand that would serve that purpose?” They never buy retail unless it’s something like toilet paper. There are always ways around it.

There’s more at the link

I’m not sure those of us living a non-Amish lifestyle could adopt all their money-saving techniques, but we can certainly learn from their dedication to important things and refusal to waste money and resources on what isn’t important.  Recommended reading.

On a similar note, congratulations to Linoge and his wife for setting an example of purposeful financial planning.  In today’s difficult economic conditions, theirs is an outstanding achievement.



  1. Their mindset is, “What do I have on hand that would serve that purpose?”

    After helping my father keep old cars running on a minimal budget in the early '50s that is also the way I think!

  2. My family has passed down advice from ancestors: "Use it up; wear it out; make it do, or do without."

    I still do.

  3. It's more than that, Peter–it's a moral imperative to not buy on credit. Credit, to the Amish, is your word and your reputation, not a financial institution.


  4. great article. one thing that i'm noticing is that frugality is cool again. people can feel something is wrong and even if they can't put their finger on it know that they should get ready for trouble.

    this article is just proof of that. link definitely going up!

  5. I live in Lancaster, PA so I do see it firsthand. I am happy with the two Amish grocery stores near my house, and one greenhouse. The prices are always very reasonable. As in, "I can fill an entire shopping cart with food for $40, with more or less food for two people for two weeks."

  6. I have no doubt at all that converting to Amish levels of reuse and recycling would be something of a challenge, but it obviously works out well for them.

    Thanks for the kind words, Peter :). It took a bit of work, but we are certainly glad it is done.

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