Have you driven through the Amish countryside and taken a good look at the homes of the Amish? If so, one thing you may notice is that some of the homes do not have curtains in the windows. Why is this? It is a practice of the Amish not to buy luxuries such as curtains before their homes are paid for, so the sight of an Amish home with curtains indicates an Amish home that is paid for, free and clear.
What can we learn from this? In today’s society it would not be appropriate to go without curtains, especially in some urban areas, but still this gives us a lesson to learn.
The Amish go without luxuries such as curtains to avoid spending on luxuries while their need of a paid-for home is not met. How many of us pursue luxuries while our debt piles up? On our credit cards, are there charges for game machines, movie nights, large-screen televisions, DVDs?
Consider a life where luxuries were forgone while one was in debt until that debt was paid off. Essentials would be provided for, but luxuries would wait until all debt was eliminated. How much extra money would your household be able to apply to its debt using this method? How soon would you be able to escape the bondage of debt knowing that once that burden was gone you would be able to relax and enjoy more pleasures in life?
The Amish do not believe in an ascetic life; they love to socialize and have fun just as much as you or I. However, they put these enjoyments in their proper place, putting essentials such as home and health first. By paying off their homes and debt as quickly as possible, they enable themselves to breathe easier in lean times when compared to those who take their income and spend it on frivolous items instead of paying their debt off quickly.
During those lean times, all they will have to concern themselves with is earning enough to pay their basic expenses, compared to the average American who has a home/rent payment, car payment, utility payments, cable/satellite payment, cell phone payment, satellite radio payment and any other types of payments that accrue in a normal American lifestyle such as furniture or tuition payments. Would you like to have the peace of mind that comes with that simpler lifestyle?
This peace of mind is a challenge for the average American to obtain. Like an addict, we are attached to the little luxuries that we take for granted, and to quit cold turkey would invite failure. Instead why not reduce spending on luxuries such as eating out, going to the movies and buying new games gradually? Instead of buying that new car, why not keep the one you have for a while after the payments end and see how long you can drive it before the wheels fall off?
Don’t be embarrassed at being frugal; the frugal ones will be left standing at the end of this economic turmoil. If someone comes up to you bragging about their new car or new furniture or new big-screen television, remind yourself (and them if you wish) that they have purchased x more years of slavery to the bill collectors, while you are slowly digging your way to freedom!
In the end, by gradually weaning yourself from various luxuries while working to pay off your debt, you will be able to enjoy your luxuries without fear of the dreaded bill collector, and possess a peace of mind worth more than all the luxuries in the world.