12 Things the Great Depression Taught Us

great depressionThis year marks approximately the 77th anniversary of the end of the Great Depression.

Though it seems like forever ago, this topic still sparks emotion in our parents and grandparents that struggled for survival during this incredibly difficult time period.

Well, I’m a firm believer in the George Santayana quote, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

That’s why it’s so important to remember that, although the Great Depression was a devastating time for our nation, we can (and should) still learn from those before us so that we can better adapt if/when we find ourselves in the same type of situation.

12 Things the Great Depression Taught Us

1 – Reuse and Recycle!

Money was scarce in the Great Depression, and those living in it quickly learned to reuse their valuable resources. We can still do the same today – things like nails, old newspapers, shirt buttons, and used bottles can still be reused for new purposes.

2 – A Dab Will Do

Many of us have gotten into the habit of using more than we need to – from taking too much food at the dinner table (only to reach for the Prilosec later), to laundry detergent, shampoo/conditioner, and body wash.

It’s even true that, for most toothpaste brands, only a pea-sized amount will do – and yet, time and time again I see people lathering it on their toothbrush.

The point is, if you want to save as much of your resources as possible (like they did in the Great Depression), you should use as little of them as you can each time. So next time you grab for that soap, make sure to read the instructions on the back to make sure you’re really using the correct dosage.

3 – Work With What You’ve Got

Many families in the Great Depression ate game like squirrel, rabbits, and gopher routinely, and used whatever meat they could to make a meal.

They also often had little food in the house, so they used what they could to make a satisfying dinner, such as cucumber and mustard sandwiches, hot milk and rice, and corn meal mush.

It’s not glamorous, but we can apply the same tactics to our living now – instead of constantly going to the grocery store, try inventing something new with only the foods you have on hand. You never know – you might end up liking it!

4 – Take Up Sewing

Thousands of women in the Great Depression had the incredibly useful skill of sewing their own clothes. This was crucial in helping keep their families warm, and was imperative for saving money when the fabric ripped and they couldn’t afford new attire.

Unfortunately, this skill has fallen by the way-side for younger generations; however, if you have the patience to pick it up, this ability will help keep your wardrobe lasting longer, your fingers nimble, and your wallet full.

5 – Canning Is Your Friend

People learned real quick that, if they were to survive the Great Depression, they would need to have adequate food storage.

Canning was an incredibly popular method of food preservation back then; after all, you could use it to make jam and pickles, as well as to store meat (and just about anything else) without refrigeration.

Note: If you’re nervous about canning your own meat, feel free to try some of ours here.

Canning is still popular today, and is an excellent method for saving your hard-earned cash.

6 – Use Oats For Bulk

This is a great trick used in the hard times of the Great Depression: you can extend the life of your casseroles and meatloaf by adding oats to them! The oats add bulk, keeping you full longer with less ingredients.

 7 – DIY Toiletries

People in the Great Depression quickly realized they didn’t have to go to the store to get toiletries; in fact, they could make them at home with relatively few ingredients. Look for ways to save your money by making your own soap, as well as with DIY laundry detergent. 

8 – Think Outside The Tupperware

The Great Depression forced many families to save money by utilizing anything and everything for storage. You can do this too by simply getting creative; for instance, you can use deli meat tubs for storing leftovers, as well as washed out sour cream containers to hold random knick-knacks.

9 – Cherish Your Family

There’s something about a crisis that makes families truly understand how lucky they are to have each other (and few people know this better than survivors of the Great Depression).

Don’t wait for an emergency, though – make sure to spend time with your family now, tell them you love them, and mend disagreements and disputes.

After all, when SHTF, all of the arguments seem petty, and you want to make sure your relationships are healthy ones to help you survive.

10 – Avoid Brand Names

Brand-named products are great, but you may often find you’re paying a good chunk of the price for just the name itself. When it comes to clothing, medication, household cleaners, and even many food products, it’s often better to go cheap and buy the generic option.

After all, like the people in the Great Depression, your goal is survival, so it’s often best not to be too picky.

11 – DIY

It’s easy in times of plenty to pay for people to do odd jobs for you, such as cleaning your house or changing your oil. However, when times got tough, the people in the Great Depression learned they had no money for such things.

Rather than getting used to reaping the benefits of someone else’s labor, try and do some of these tasks yourself. This is as good a time as any to get started – especially now that you can find tutorials on almost any subject on the internet and on YouTube.

12 – Become Self-Sustaining

This one is huge, and I can’t stress it enough – when SHTF,  you don’t want to be dependent on buying groceries from the supermarket to survive.

Not only will you be competing with hundreds of other shoppers for the same basic goods like in the Great Depression, but you’ll also be most likely overspending on what you purchase.

Plus, if you didn’t think ahead to start a survival garden, you’ll have no food for when those grocery stores run out.

Growing your own food is a huge way to avoid this. By raising your own animals like chickens and cows, and growing your own herbs and produce, you can not only save a ton of money every year, but also have a worthwhile hobby you can reap the benefits from.

Plus, many people report their home-grown vegetables taste far superior to those from the grocery store.

I strongly believe that becoming self-sustaining is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself and for your family. Not only do you control what you grow, but you can also control what pesticides (if any) touch your food.

Plus, it’s not nearly as intimidating as it looks – many preppers have survival gardens they use to grow their own produce, and there are lots of tutorials on YouTube on how to maintain your garden in any season.

Here’s an example of the basics of having a survival garden:

I want to help you out with starting your own survival garden  – that’s why I want to bring this amazing Preparedness Seed Pack to your attention.

This convenient pack contains an enormous variety of seeds, from mouth-watering fruits and vegetables, to fragrant culinary herbs, to medicinal plants (to help you finally lessen those doctor visits).

The pack even includes a mixture of seeds to make your very own spicy salsa garden.

Each Non-GMO, non-hybrid seed is incredibly high quality, and can be used to keep growing your own food year after year.

Click on this link or on the picture below to start taking control of your grocery budget and your health today. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself now, as well as for your future.

great depression


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