If you have been reading my recent blogs about the Amish you know about Amy, a young wife and mother who is part of the Amish community near me in Lancaster county, Pa. Amy has been nice enough to share some of the ways that she and others in her community live frugally.
I asked Amy if she ever goes shopping, and she laughed. “For sure!” She and her relatives and friends love to shop as well as anyone, turning the trips into social occasions. Her husband, Levi, and her brothers often come along, too.
How does Amy shop? Well, they generally don’t go to a mall or large shopping plaza, although it isn’t completely prohibited by their church. But they seldom see the need to go to such a place. For them, a fun shopping trip is to go “Goodwilling.” That is, they love to browse and shop at the GoodWill and other thrift stores.
They don’t see shopping at a thrift store as a negative or as settling because they need to, but rather as an adventure and chance to buy something “new.” For Amy, the Goodwill is the equivalent of the Target or Sears. Whenever they need or want something, the thrift store is the place to go. How many times do we spent lots of money on an item that we could easily get second hand?
If you are ever in Lancaster, ask a local for the location of the nearest thrift store. These stores are really a pleasure to browse. In addition to the normal bric a brac, you can even find beautiful hand made wooden toys and Amish clothing. There are some real treasures to be found. I picked up a tiny child’s dress for a friend that she now hangs in her home and is part of her warm county decor.
While you may not live next to an Amish community, there are plenty of treasures you can find in your own area. So the lesson here is simple. Instead of automatically heading to the mall or “megamart,” make the thrift stores your first place to shop. You’ll have fun and save money, too.
As Amy said to me, “Why buy new?”