Surviving the Great Depression was a struggle for several millions of people who had to live everyday knowing they were dipping into their savings. In order to fill their piggy banks back up they had to save money using the following ten strategies.
1. Frugality Does Not Mean Cheap
Being frugal was a way of life during the Great Depression. Only the extremely wealthy could get away with being excessive. Frugality merely meant getting the most out of what you had and only buying what you really, truly needed. Frugality was such a way of life that many people of the Great Depression continued their old habits even when money was not so tight allowing them to build wealth. Learning how to be frugal could help many people learn how to live within their means.
2. Run Away From Debt Like a Gazelle Runs From a Cheetah
The Great Depression was caused, just like now, by the excessive use of credit. Many people are in the horribly financial situations they are in because they owe way too much money to creditors. Their money is not their own to live on. By allowing debt into your life you are only making your situation worse. Be a gazelle that is running for its life from a cheetah. Run from debt like your life depends on it.
3. Go Over Every Expense With A Fine Tooth Comb
One of the habits of people who survived the Great Depression was to never let an expense or purchase go by without going over every single detail with a fine tooth comb. The purchase was questioned and questioned again. Do you you need it? Do you really, truly need it? Is this a need or a want? When it is determined that the purchase is necessary barter, haggle, and shop around until the lowest price is discovered. No purchases were ever made on a whim.
4. Bundle Up or Open the Windows
In other words, save energy. When visiting your Grandma’s house how many times did your Grandma say, “Put on a sweater,” when you said you were cold? That is because she knew full well that using energy to heat or cool the house is one the biggest ways money is lost. Of course, there is a time and a place to run your A/C or heater. There comes a point when misery is not worth money saved. But, that point is way past where many of us are willing to go. Make a game out of it. See how much money you can save each month. Compete with your neighbors. Do whatever it takes to save that energy so that you can use it when the point of misery arrives.
5. Homemade is Always Better Anyway
Seriously, is store-bought chocolate chip cookies ever better than homemade cookies? Most things are so much better for you and cheaper when made at home from scratch. A Great Depression pantry was filled with whole ingredients so that all the food could be made at home. There were not nearly as many processed, packaged foods around then and even if they were around they were not the frugal option. People also did not go out to eat very often. Save tons of money by making almost all your food from scratch at home. Treat yourself to a dinner out on occasion with the money you saved staying home.
6. Grow Your Own Food
What better way to get high-quality, nutritious food than to grow your own. Many of the Great Depression Era people experienced the Victory Garden concept. Victory gardens were encouraged during World War I as a way to relieve pressure off the food supply. People felt like they were doing their part in the war effort by growing their own food and being self-sufficient. There was no war going on during the Great Depression but the people still knew the benefit found in growing a garden. Money was saved at the grocery store and at the gas pump. They just had to walk out their back doors and get the food.
7. Diversify Your Income
Create multiple streams of income. By creating multiple streams of income you decrease your chances of losing all your income if a source falls apart. Make smart investments. Get a second job. Figure out ways to make money from home. There were people during the Great Depression who did not suffer like we are often told and that is because they were smart. They diversified their income sources.
8. Do Everything Yourself
Do not pay people to do things you can do yourself. Mow your own lawn. Change your own oil. Clean your own house. Do all your handy work around the house. If you can do it yourself, save the money, and do it yourself. It is nice to have someone do all your chores for you but that costs precious money. Do everything yourself unless you can prove that you can better spend that time making money and hiring other people to do your chores frees you up to do just that.
9. Go Where the Work Is
Be willing to relocate. Do not be so attached to a certain area that you are unwilling to move where the good work is. Certain areas of the country have a greater abundance of job opportunities. If your community does not have to work: Move. People who followed the work during the Great Depression were able to make a much better living than those who stayed put. Use your mobile time to make the money, save it, and when things get better you can settle down in a more permanent place.
Most people like to day dream about how much better things could be. They dream about a wonderful paradise that seems so unachievable. Such daydreams only breed discontent and lack of motivation. However, many people during the Great Depression pretended that they were far worse than they actually were. They pretended they were on the brink of ruin and being broke even when they may not have been. Such an attitude forced them to scrutinize every purchase, grow a garden, avoid debt, etc. They did what they had to do to live within their means and survive.
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