50+ Frugal Living Tips From the Great Depression We Can Apply Today

by Simplify

Did our ancestors live more frugal and simpler lives than we do today? Christine from Frugal Fit Mom thinks there are frugal living tips from the Great Depression era that can apply to our modern lives. Here are some tips from her grandparents' era.

When it comes to food, there are always ways to save money. Some tips from the Great Depression include: growing and cooking your own food, being strategic about grocery purchases, skipping the coffee shop, using less meat, cooking in batches, eating leftovers, and using the freezer to stock up.

Christine explains that her grandmother saved money with her butchering skills. She used to find turtles in ditches, bring them home, and make turtle soup from them!

Another way to save money is to upskill for self-reliance; there are always chances to learn new things. Christine’s grandparents could change their own oil, wallpaper their home, darn their own socks, and mow their own lawn (her grandmother did it at 80 years old!). They even used the lawn clippings for mulch.

During the Great Depression, people used their possessions to the fullest. They upcycled or thrifted items. They re-wore clothing. They reused containers, water bottles (no single-use throwaway bottles), and other things; they replaced their possessions with used, or new items, only as a last resort. They even reused trash, by composting.

They reused their homes, by renting out extra rooms. They used both sides of the paper, and combined and pooled resources with friends, neighbors, and family, to make a little go a long way.

A handy Great Depression survival tip was to be thrifty about spending. There are always ways to cut back on spending, like keeping your house a little cooler, trimming the cable or subscription TV bill, limiting dishwasher loads, going to the library for books and movies, and borrowing, instead of buying.

Photo from the Great Depression era

Christine’s grandparents didn’t have a showerhead, because washing from the tap helped them cut down on water usage. One tip for cutting back is scaling back travel. Another tip is that you don’t need to upgrade technology all the time. Walking and other free forms of exercise can save on gym costs.

Consolidating your errands, by doing them all at once instead of in disparate trips, saves gas and time. If possible, downsizing your home can save a ton on utilities, rent or property tax, furniture, and cleaning costs.

The number one way to curb spending is to cut back on emotional impulse spending and stop shopping for “fun.” Christine remembers her grandmother being intentional with spending. Try to think twice before purchasing, or make a rule, like waiting 48 hours before pressing the “buy” button. Stay away from credit, and build in savings and emergency funds, as much as possible.

Frugal living tips from the great depression

The most important money-saving tip is to be content with what you have, and not compare yourself with others. Which frugal living tip from the Great Depression is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

For more money-saving advice, discover 10 of grandma's best frugal living tips from the Great Depression or how to save up to 50% on your grocery bill at Aldi.

To see more videos, check out the Frugal Fit Mom YouTube channel.

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