SHOP

11 Smart Money Secrets from the Great Depression

Written by Grace & Silas
Share:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of my links and make a purchase, I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. See the full affiliate disclosure here.

The Great Depression was a time of economic crisis before the start of World War II. So how did our grandparents and great grandparents survive the plummet into poverty? Well, they had to learn how to get creative, and thankfully, these good tips are still around for us to use too. So check them out and let us know what you think!


Important Side Note: 

book page beside eyeglasses and coffee

If you’re in debt, then I would definitely read Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover which you can check out here. He’s helped MILLIONS of people climb their way out of debt and have financial peace and security. So DEFINITELY check him out!

Also! He has another great book called the Legacy Journey which is a great read. Check it out here!


Related Topics

11 Habits of People Who Always Have Money
8 Tips That Will Help You Get Rich at Any Age

Make Your Own Products

Some cleaning and beauty products can be easily made from home at a fraction of the cost. Rather than pouring money away on name brands, look up items and recipes online. You’ll end up with good savings and fewer chemicals!

And if you’re in need of some good DIY cleaning products, then check out my post here on 7 Non-Toxic DIY cleaning recipes!

Grow Your Own

If you have a garden or even a windowsill, this tip will work for you. Consider growing your own fruit and vegetables rather than buying. In the Depression era, growing your own produce became a staple and was one of the ways in which people managed to survive.

You can also check out my post on gardening hacks to help you out!

Do Without

As Richard Sharpe said in the 1993 TV episode “Sharpe’s Rifles”, you ‘do without, sir.’ If it isn’t a necessity, don’t bother with it. You can put that money aside for far more important things. Those living in the Great Depression didn’t have the luxuries we do today. But by following their example not only will you have more money for things, but you may also find more appreciation for the things you DO have.

Quick Note!

Hey, also want to know the 11 habits of people who always have money? Click here to check them out!

Use Hand-Me-Downs, or Buy Used

There seems to be a stigma that if it isn’t new then you must be poor. But that is totally wrong! Buying used or getting hand-me-downs not only saves waste but also money too. If you can find something you like at a reduced cost and it’s in good condition, then what’s the problem? 

Cook Yourself

Those living through the Great Depression didn’t have money to waste, and certainly not on the convenience of dining out. So instead, cook at home and freeze portions to eat. That way you’ll have the convenience but without the price tag.

Also, if you want some good meal prep recipes, then check these ones out here!

Do It Yourself

Rather than hiring a decorator or gardener, save your money by doing things yourself. With some paint and masking tape, it’s easy to decorate your room like a pro, and with videos on YouTube, you can use tutorials to achieve your garden dream. If the task can be done, then put in that hard work and save those pennies.

Use What’s Around You

If your neighbor keeps chickens, buy eggs from them. Guaranteed, they will be cheaper than at the store. Also, if you’re in the countryside, odds are you can find fruit trees. There are plenty of ways to get creative with saving on food.

Reuse Rather Than Throw Out

This may not sound like a money tip, but it is. You may have noticed a small hole in your favorite little black dress, or even in hubby’s socks. Your first instinct may be to roll your eyes, head to the bin and grab your purse to go replace it. STOP! In the Great Depression, people didn’t just waste, they fixed. If possible, consider darning the hole. That way you can still keep wearing the item rather than wasting money replacing it.

Bonus points if you then put the money you WOULD have spent into savings.

Also, if your outfit needs a fix, you can go here to find some great clothing fix hacks!

Use it All

In modern society we are known for throwing out things when they’re nearly empty. But nearly isn’t enough. Use that last squeeze of toothpaste. Keep containers upside down to get one more squeeze of shampoo. It may not seem like much but it adds up over time.

Use Free Entertainment

Rather than spending on days out, do what our grandparents did and look for the free things. A day at the park, a bike ride, and even board games. There are any number of ways to entertain the whole family without having to take out the credit card. Utilize your area and find out for yourself!

Only Spend What You Have

People ended up in severe debt during the Depression. Due to this, it was widely known to only spend what you have on you. So, avoid credit cards and loans, and you’ll also be avoiding interest payments and negative bank balances.


There you have it. Follow these tips and you’ll find yourself in a better place economically. If it worked for those living in tough times, then you can really make it work for you now.

Share:

Meet Silas & Grace

Silas and Grace always had a passion for travel. So in 2016, they started Chasing Foxes as an independent income source. 4 months after launch, they were making enough money from their blog to travel full-time, and in the past 5 years, they’ve been able to encourage others in their blogging journeys too. Learn more about Silas & Grace.

A grayscale side portrait of Silas and Grace Moser of Chasing Foxes kissing one another.

Finished? Explore our tips below…

A pretty bullet journal being written on by a woman.
SHOP AT CHASING FOXES