10 of Grandma's Best Frugal Living Tips From the Great Depression

by Simplify

The YouTube channel Living On A Dime To Grow Rich is sharing 10 tips from the Great Depression. Her grandmothers lived through the Great Depression and shared their experiences, so here are their self-sufficiency tips from the Great Depression.

1. If you do not have the cash, do not buy it

You would not go into debt unless there was a real crisis like a sick family member.

2. Saving everything

Anything that could be reused later was saved.

3. Actually reusing

Saving is not just hoarding, the items saved were used again.

4. Making do with what you have

People would get creative, finding ways to keep using objects that we would just replace today, with the help of other things they found at home.

5. Doing without

If a child needed new shoes and it was summer, they would walk around barefoot until their parents saved enough to buy them shoes.

Great Depression breadline

6. Repairing everything

If something got broken, it would be fixed, not replaced.

7. Cooking at home

Eating out was not a thing. You would cook every meal and make your lunch before you head to work.

8. Keeping it simple

Both in food and clothing, keeping it simple helped get people by.

9. Bartering

Anything could be exchanged for anything, and people would offer one another what they had in exchange for what they needed.

10. Not whining

People would just accept what life gave them. The YouTuber says that this is an approach that many people nowadays could benefit from. She compares 2020 to what her grandmothers had to go through and says that the greatest lesson we can learn from them is to just keep going and know that eventually, we will get through it.

Grandma's tips from the Great Depression

Do you agree with this idea? Which of these tips do you think can still be relevant today? Let us know in the comments below!

For more frugal advice, discover this guide to budget-friendly meal planning with Aldi groceries or what NOT to buy at Dollar Tree now that items cost $1.25 (and where to buy them instead).

To see more videos, check out the Living on a Dime YouTube channel.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Noni Noni on Dec 27, 2022

    Having lived through the transition from driving vehicles with hand throttles and distributor caps, washing clothes when living off the grid by using galvanized tubs and scrubbing boards with FelsNaptha soap bars, I do agree that the changes in design and materials makes replacing necessary sometimes nowadays. However, learning how to do as many possible repairs yourself still makes sense, keeping one's own know-how and safety in mind. Some of my English friends actually inherited their modern washing machines with a boil cycle from older relatives who'd passed away...because they held up so well and were built in a way that repairing if necessary was possible and to be expected at some point. When I could not find a replacement motherboard for my computer (because it was so old, having far outlived most of its contemporaries thanks to regular maintenance), yep, I bought a new one. Yeah, I darn socks and patch jeans too, make my own yogurt, and bake my own bread on occasion...not because I 'have' to but cuz I love beating the system once in a while and saving some money, knowing exactly what's in my food. PS: No I'm not--and never was--a hippie, just a small-farm kid who loved books and doing things alongside a couple brothers and parents who valued quality in people and stuff while being content to do the best they could with the (sometimes very) few material resources they had then.

  • P P on Jan 01, 2023

    make friends with your neighborhoods used appliance guy - I use him for repairs to our ancient washer & dryer but recently when a replaced knob broke (decades later) I took it in to Mr. Tony & he ran in the back & gave me an identical -but not broken - knob. Dryer back in business, Tony wouldn't take a penny but he remembers every second hand washer & dryer I have bought from him, and times I have called to tell him I passed an appliance on a trash pile that he could go grab!