[8/22/17] The Great Depression was an extremely difficult period around the world as a result of the depression that began in America. Unemployment reached to 25 percent in the United States, and most people’s bank savings were wiped out. People started migrating to other areas in search of jobs, and farmers began migrating in the false hope that the situation in neighboring areas would be better.
People who survived the Great Depression embedded habits into their lives that they found hard to change, such as refusing to part with anything that might come in handy at any future point in their life. To them, cutting off and discarding the ends of a loaf of bread is not a good idea and scraping the wrapper of a block of cheese certainly is. During this difficult time, people also learned smart budgeting by doing more with less.
The Great Depression lasted for more than a decade, and people of that generation developed budgeting strategies that are effective even today. From a financial viewpoint, there’s definitely a lot we can learn from our elders, who survived a difficult past. Here are a few tips that our grandparents and great-grandparents used to survive the Great Depression.
#1. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle and Repair
Our grandparents were experts in re-purposing things that had already been used. Recycling plastic bags by using them as trash bags and making use of old t-shirts and socks as rags are some amazing hacks we can learn from our elders. This is an excellent strategy for saving money. Instead of spending money buying new things,recycle and reuse is a technique that proves to be very beneficial for saving money.
#2. Pay With Cash More Often
During the Great Depression, people didn’t have enough savings in their bank accounts, and hence they used cash for any transactions. This strategy can save us from unwanted debts. Here’s why you absolutely must have food supplies, hard assets and reserve cash.
#3. Try to Be Self-Sufficient
Americans adopted this strategy during the Great Depression by doing all their tasks for themselves. Sewing their own clothes, growing food on their own farms, and cooking from scratch are some strategies they adopted to save money. They mastered these skills to save money. We have to learn these skills from them.
#4. Budgeting Using a Diary or Envelopes
Our grandparents and great-grandparents did not have electronic gadgets to keep track of their budgets, so they used diaries and envelopes for budgeting their expenses. You can still use the traditional method of maintaining a diary by starting by planning how much you want to spend each month for each category, namely, housing, transportation, food, etc. You can keep several envelopes, each dedicated to a different category, and start by putting in the amount you allocate for each category. Use the money from each envelope for that purpose only. Here are 21 lost tips from 100 years ago – with illustrations.
#5. Buy Used Instead of New
If you are really serious about saving money, you will have to do so in every area. You can save a lot of money by buying used instead of new, including automobiles, toys, clothing, and so on. The barter system, which was a common practice during the Depression Era, is an excellent way to save money. You could even trade some of your skills in exchange for some fresh produce from a neighbor’s garden.