August 5, 2009

Even the Amish...

... have been living beyond their means.

The Amish traditionally travel by horse-drawn buggy, wear homemade clothing, and use very little electricity. But in the past few years, some of them have ditched their off-the-grid existence. And after being lured in by the wages and goods of the conventional economy, they're experiencing the same financial woes as millions of other Americans.

Apparently the society that has always emphasized simplicity and thrift saw some of its members buying vacation homes, taking taxis, and splurging for bigger weddings. But it's time to pay the piper. And now, in Amish country in Indiana, a new back-to-basics movement is starting up. You can read the full Wall Street Journal article here.

I'd say the temptations of consumerism are mighty strong if even the Amish have fallen prey to it. What do you think? Are designer clothes and iPods and "pimped out" vehicles impossible to resist? Is the lure of the mall and the power of advertising too much for us mortals? Share your thoughts and opinions in the Comments section.


tammy said...

What a shock to learn even the Amish can overspend! I thought this sect would be impervious to mortal temptations like IPODS and taxis LOL
thanks for the enlightening article link!

thriftylittleblog said...

That IS a bad sign!
I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep up the great work :).

han_ysic said...

designer clothes only if I find them at the op shop, ipod - don't have one, don't want one, car - drive an old charade for next to nothing and intend to drive it until it carks it.I try to keep my money for paying my mortgage, saving, giving to charity, good food, and great experiences - shows and travelling. Resist the stuff!

Carolyn C said...

The lure of the mall...yuck! Now that's something, along with designer duds and the newest electronic gadget that just holds no appeal for me! I spend my money a lot like han_ysic, on my adopted pets, trips to visit my grandkids and making my home reasonably enjoyable to live in!

Angela said...

Tammy- I know, I was really surprised to read this. When we lived in Ohio when we were kids, we would see the Amish riding around in their buggies and it was so fascinating to us.

thriftylittleblog- Thanks! And thanks for coming by and commenting.

han_ysic- Yes, I am much the same as far as priorities- what I spend money on tends to be much more "experience-related" than "thing-related." I drive a Camry, which to me is luxurious, but of course my 11-year-old nephew thinks it "sucks."

Carolyn- yay! An in-person (so to speak) comment! Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to comment. I hope I get to meet your adopted pets soon, especially the horse and donkey.

Al said...

Hi Angela,

I recently stumbled upon your blog, and I'm enjoying it. Keep up the good work.

If you're interested in peeking further into the "dark" side of consumerism, check out the DVD "The Century of the Self." It's hard to find, but well worth it. BBC documentarian Adam Curtis examines the rise of consumerism in the 20th century. Specifically , Curtis relates how Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud's nephew and the "father" of PR, exploits and manipulates the public's desires to speed economic growth and enhance political control of the people. I am only about 45 minutes into it (it's 4 hours long), but I find it to be remarkable.



Angela said...

Al- thanks for commenting, and for the film recommendation. I absolutely love a good documentary. I'm going to put it on my list. I still have to see Food, Inc.!
I hope you'll come back. I love the exchange of information.

Harimad said...

I spend on services rather than goods - dunno if that qualifies or not. Thoughts?

Angela said...

Harimad- As far as The Compact, you can spend as much as you like on services because it's mostly about reusing and recycling, not saving money.

As far as the Amish, I don't know if they've gotten into services like spas and landscapers. I don't remember anything like that in the article.

I'm not sure what you're asking, in terms of "qualifies for what?" Maybe you're responding to the question about the "temptations of consumerism." I still use some services like pedicures and the car wash, I just do it less often because I'm trying to live on less money. I don't think there's anything necessarily "wrong" with using them. And it's not on a scale with buying stuff you don't need, that was made in China by underpaid workers, and was shipped halfway around the world, and packaged in plastic, etc. etc. (see "the Story of Stuff"- on my sidebar is you haven't yet)

Thanks for your comment!