When it comes to spending, Mennonites are a frugal bunch. Despite the fact many Mennonites have done well for themselves economically, they’re not the type to flaunt their wealth. You won’t see a Mennonite driving a Ferrari or sporting extravagant jewelry. However, there are a few exceptions. Here is a list of things that, for some reason, Mennonites are perfectly okay with wasting money on.
- Pickup Trucks – back in the day when the more liberal Mennonites gave up the horse and buggy and started using motorized transport, most of them immediately adopted the pickup truck as the preferred method of transportation. The expense can justified because it’s a farm vehicle and therefore “practical,” even though Peter’s new Ford F-150 Limited is pricier than a BMW, and he never gets it dirty.
- Private Schools – Mennonites are big on private schools. Back in the 20s, half the Mennos in Manitoba jetted off to Paraguay and Mexico because the government threatened to shut them down. These days spending a few thousand dollars in tuition money is considered good stewardship because that way your children aren’t corrupted by learning about science and stuff.
- Mennonite History Trips – You won’t find a Mennonite on the beach in Bali, but you’ll find them by the droves on the banks of the Dneiper River. Mennonites love to spend thousands of dollars to touch the spot where Conrad Grebel was baptized or see the remains of the Great Oak of Chortitza. It’s the only vacation spending they can justify to the elders. Either that or a trip to Israel.
- Chicken Chef on Sundays – Mennonites would much prefer to cook their own food at home as it’s much cheaper to feed a family of 10 growing children. However, Mennonites throw caution to the wind on Sundays after church, because it’s supposed to be a day of rest…unless you work in a restaurant. Check out any neighbourhood Chicken Chef and count the bonnets. (Discreetly).
- Barns – You’ve got to spend money to make money and that usually means building another chicken or hog barn on the back forty. Some of these Mennonite barns are pretty pimped out with all the latest gadgets. Very impressive.
- Hockey Tickets – Season tickets to the Vanapag Jets are justified because it’s a good way to get the boys out of the house during the women’s quilting/gossiping bees. Buying a $15 beer at the game is also justified because Mennonite men have to pretend they don’t know what a beer actually costs.
- Deluxe Scrabble Boards – After decades of using the regular Scrabble boards, every Mennonite grandma usually splurges on one of those fancy boards with the Lazy Susan underneath. If you’re playing 8-10 hours a day of Scrabble, you’ve got to make yourself comfortable.
- Church Expansions – This is the one unbreakable Mennonite rule: the church building must never stop expanding. Building a new gymnasium or doubling the size of the sanctuary is always in fashion among Mennos. The required funds are always generated through special offerings, with a reminder that your donation to the building fund is “up and above your regular tithe.”
(photo credit: David Hodgson/CC)