Frugal Living Tips From the Great Depression To Save You Money Now

Robyn | A Dime Saved
by Robyn | A Dime Saved

How frugal were people during the Great Depression? It was a time of hardship and uncertainty.

Many families lost their homes or had to live with relatives that could afford to take them in as they struggled to find work. Here are some frugal living tips from the great depression so you can save money now and avoid going broke!

First, let’s talk about some background about the Great Depression and why so many of our frugal living tips come from that era.

How the Great Depression Impacted America

During the Great Depression, American families made do with much less than we do now! Families often lived out of their cars as they moved from place to place in search of a job.

When frugality was necessary because there wasn’t much money around, it became ingrained into the culture of the American people. A lot of these frugal ways still exist today, and you can use them to save money too.

What Was Life Like During the Great Depression?

Life during the Great Depression was difficult. Families often didn’t have enough money to buy food, clothes, or shelter.

Many people were forced to live in poverty, and unemployment was high. Some families even had to sell their possessions to survive.

However, many Americans also found ways to be frugal and make do with less. They frugally reused and recycled their old items, grew their own food in gardens or fruit trees, bought used clothing and furniture instead of new ones they couldn’t afford anyway, and even found ways to entertain themselves without spending money.

Many frugal living tips from the Great Depression continue to be used today. They have been passed down through generations and are still in use because they work.

Just like during the great depression, frugality is necessary for people who can’t afford a lot of things or don’t get paid enough to make ends meet. Many families live frugally without realizing it, and there are many ways to do so.

How To Make Your Own Clothes and Save Money on Material


One frugal way to save money during the Great Depression was by making your own clothes. This not only saved you money on clothing but also allowed you to have unique and stylish clothes that nobody else had.

To make your own clothes, you’ll need some basic supplies like scissors, needles, thread, fabric, measuring tape, and pins. You can find fabric at your local fabric store or online.

Once you have your supplies, you can start making clothes. There are many different tutorials online that can show you how to make specific types of clothes. Or, you can just use your imagination and create your own designs.

You can also save money on material costs by making clothes out of old clothes you don’t wear anymore. Instead of throwing them away, use an article of clothing as a pattern and cut around it to make new pieces or even an entire outfit.

Frugal Recipes From the Great Depression That Are Easy To Recreate Today

During the Great Depression, people had to get creative with their cooking in order to make do with less. They came up with frugal recipes that were easy to recreate and didn’t require a lot of ingredients or money.

Here are a few frugal recipes from the 1930s that you can try today:

Potato soup: This frugal recipe is made with potatoes, onions, celery, and chicken broth. It can be served as a side dish or it can also be used to make potato soup sandwiches

Fried corn: This frugal recipe involves stirring butter into freshly cooked corn until the kernels are golden brown

Canned Stew: You’ll need a can of beef stew, a can of tomatoes, and some rice to make this frugal recipe

Jello: This is a frugal dessert that requires just three ingredients – gelatin, sugar, and water

Fruit Salad: you’ll need fresh fruit like apples, pears, or oranges for this frugal recipe

How To Entertain Yourself Without Spending Money:

Entertainment was a big expense during the Great Depression. People often had to find ways to entertain themselves without spending any money.

One way to do this is by playing games. There are many different types of games that you can play without spending any money, like card games, board games, or even tag.

There are also frugal ways to entertain yourself with music. You can make your own instruments out of everyday items and play them around the house or in a park.

Another frugal way to entertain yourself is by watching the clouds or stars in the sky. You can also make your own kites and fly with them, especially near a park or beach.

Lastly, you can read books instead of going out to see movies. There are many ways that frugality plays an important role in frugal living. Many frugal living tips from the Great Depression can be used to entertain yourself today.

More Frugal Living Tips From the Great Depression

Wear layers of clothing to stay warm.

Make meals from scratch instead of buying pre-made items.

Borrow or trade for goods and services whenever possible.

Repurpose old items into new ones.

Set aside a portion of your income to be used for bartering.

Shop at yard sales and thrift stores when possible.

Get creative in developing new things that you can make or repair yourself instead of purchasing them from a store. Use these skills to help others as well, so they won’t need to purchase the items either. I hope this information has been helpful.

Use every part of the animal when cooking , including bones and organs. This will help you make the most out of your money and provide some extra nutrients to your diet.

Use less meat. Meat was more expensive during this time period, so people ate a lot of beans and vegetables instead.

Make your own homemade laundry soap. It’s very easy to do and saves you money in the long run!

These are just a few of the many frugal tips that people used during the great depression to make ends meet. While some of these tips may seem a little extreme, they can actually help you save money in the long run. So if you’re looking for ways to pinch pennies, here are a few frugal living tips from the great depression to get you started.

Robyn | A Dime Saved
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2 of 5 comments
  • Judy Judy on Feb 05, 2023

    I agree. My grandparents lived on a farm with 19 children. So they grew food and bartered for fruits, and she seemed clothes for the children. She also worked in furniture factory in WW2. My grandma taught use how to repair items use things over and over. Out of these teaching I became a OccupationaThrtapidt, whi h I was able to use .y grandmother's teachings.l She also use to tell us stories for entertainment.

  • Deborah Deborah on Feb 06, 2023

    My mother grew up poor with many brothers and 2 sisters. She tells me she’s sorry I grew up with little money but I didn’t see that. My Mom could save money like no other. While things changed when I was out of HS,Dad make much more. My Mom still saved $ and passed advice to me. I make money every year just for using 1 credit card CORRECTLY. I’m 60 now and I thank her for those tips still. Ur finances are in your hands. 👍️