The Great Depression taught people world wide about saving money during a crisis.
At a time when nearly a quarter of the American workforce was out of work – saving money was a matter of survival. There was an entire generation who learned to pinch a penny until it cried.
In times of crisis, we need to cut back on a lot of things that we might not have even known were luxuries.
But even in good times, money saving habits contribute to your security and wealth – There ever a really great time to throw money out the window.
Saving Money Secrets~
Okay they’re not really secrets but they worked to get our ancestors through the great depression and they can work for you today.
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1. Free Entertainment
The average American spends over $2500.00 on entertainment per year.
For the three people in my family to go to a movie it costs about a hundred bucks by the time we get snacks and drinks. If you add dinner to tab it can end up being closer to two hundred.
So, if you’re looking for a place to save a little money this is a great place to start.
In the Great Depression they didn’t have as many options as we do now but they did have a few that still work.
- Go to your public library – They have more than just books.
- Parks are great for enjoying a sunny day picnic, but they also have nature trails, concerts and events that are all usually free.
And don’t forget the internet – you probably have it in your house anyway – I mean you have to be reading this wonderful post somewhere.
We stream movies and videos right to our 60″ TV, but you can look at this on your phone or laptop or whatever.
If you have a connection, you can watch Youtube for free.
But there is also lots for free content that you can watch on Amazon prime.
2. Good Home Cooking
If you’re a good cook and you like to cook – that’s a great start – make time for home cooking.
If you’re not a good cook, learn to make some simple and convenient dishes – from scratch.
When you prepare food yourself you will not only save money, but with a little practice it will be better tasting and more nutritious.
Cooking can take a time, but it doesn’t have to.
During the Depression, families developed their own recipes and used cook books. Luckily, we have Pinterest where you can find anything that you could possibly want to make.
3. Save Money in the Kitchen.
Back in the bad ol’ days of the depression, stuff like meat and cheese were very expensive. People “stretched” it by mixing in potatoes, rice, or something with a neutral flavor.
Bread crumbs in meatloaf or meat balls were originally added to extend the meat and as a way to use stale bread. Now they are used because they make the meatloaf tender.
You can save money by making your own bread – it is fantastically easy once you get the hang of it – and it is soooo much better.
The only problem with homemade bread is that it gets stale really quickly. When it does, you can use it to make the best french toast ever.
You get the idea.
Try not to make more than you need. And, if you do then freeze it.
4. Buy Groceries on Sale
When you go to the store only plan to buy things that are on sale.
Instead of having a list of specific items to purchase for specific meals that your going to prepare, buy what’s on sale and make the meals you can from what you bring home.
When you go to the store and find rib eye steak for on sale for $5.99, you should buy it instead of buying hamburger at full price.
We regularly are able to buy meat on sale. If you have a freezer it’s an easy win..
You will have better food for less money if you get the sale item and plan meals around them than if you plan your meals and shop accordingly.
Make sure you check out your local stores reward programs BEFORE you shop. Add coupon and deals before you go so that you can save time too.
5. Grow your own Food
Gardening is not only good for your mental health, but it can also save money. Nothing tastes better than fresh food that you grew on your own.
Pick something that is easy to grow and that would also be expensive at the store – Organic heirloom tomatoes tomatoes are a great example.
These tomatoes cost $8/lb and taste out of this world. If you have a big enough yard to grow just two bushels that would save you $1000.00. ( If you’re a big tomato eater).
It doesn’t take that much space either. My sister gardens in less than 600 square feet in Denver, and in addition to many bushels of tomatoes, she grows zucchini, summer squash, green beans and collard greens.
6. Fix Instead of Replace
Buy good quality, take care of it and fix it when it breaks. In the end this will save you tremendous amounts of money.
I have a 1995 Chevy Silverado, I have had it for 22 years and have put over 200k miles on it.
Over the years, I have spent probably $10,000 fixing it and having it rebuilt.
So I have a dependable (classic) truck that runs perfectly, and I haven’t had a car payment in 18 years.
That’s a $500 monthly expense that I don’t have.
Washers, dryers, dishwashers, ovens and refrigerators can last a long time if you buy quality and maintain them.
Caveat: There are many modern products that are not meant to be repaired. Computers, electronics and some small appliances, are simply not worth repairing.
Computers, especially after about two years are obsolete, and even if you can get them repaired it is usually cheaper to get a new one. (I argued with my Dad about this one A LOT).
7. Buy in Bulk
If you have a place to store bulk items, it’s a great money saver.
Things like toilet paper and paper towels are kind of no-brainers.
If TP is $1.20/roll if you buy one roll and 40 cents a roll if you buy 20 rolls, you can save a bunch because you will eventually use it – it’s not like it is going to go bad. ( Unless you hoard it, we are not advocating buying truckloads of TP. It will eventually disintegrate.)
Non-perishable, canned or frozen food – you can save money if you eat them before they expire.
Make sure you check those big packs at the meat counter. They may be on a better sale than the same item in a smaller pack.
Caveat: Pay attention to the unit price and compare.
Stores are catching on, they know that people think they are saving money buying a bigger container so they actually price the “family size” at a higher price per unit than the smaller sizes.
Caveat: Just because you are in a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club doesn’t mean you’re getting a better price.
8. Make Your Own Cleaning Products.
You can get a gallon of white vinegar for about three bucks. Put it in a spray bottle with a little water, and you have a great surface cleaner.
70% Isopropyl alcohol is a more effective disinfectant than Lysol, and it is a lot less expensive.
There are certain times when you can’t do this…like when you are trying to kill viruses.
Cleaning and disinfecting are TWO separate activities. First you must clean, then disinfect. Check out this post to clarify and make sure you are using your cleaning time effectively and keeping your family safe.
In the Great Depression our parents and grand parents paid close attention to what they were getting for their money because they had to – it was a survival thing.
Times might not be as hard now but if you pay attention you can stretch your dollars much further, and still live a wonderfully full life.
When it’s time to travel again you’ll have plenty of cash to make that all inclusive trip to Mexico