9 Money-Saving Tips from the Great Depression

9 Money-saving tips from the Great Depression that are still relevant today! Learn how to save money and live frugally like Grandma.

money-saving tips from the great depression

There are so many things we can learn from those who have gone before us. I’ve mentioned before what an impact my grandma had in my life.

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Money-Saving Tips from the Great Depression

My grandma was so frugal and resourceful. And she lived well, despite never having much money.

Today I’m sharing nine of the best money-saving tips from the Great Depression to help you live well even on a tight budget.

Related: 10 Lessons from the Great Depression

1. Be Content with Less

One of the hallmarks of life during the Great Depression is that people had less than we have today. They had fewer possessions and fewer options.

This encouraged a simpler way of life. And even though times were hard back then, having less meant it was probably easier to be content.

We could all learn this lesson of being content with what we have, rather than always wanting more.

2. Grow Your Own Food

Growing your own food in a home vegetable garden can save so much money. Most people during the Great Depression had a garden.

Related: Tips for Growing Tomatoes in a Home Garden

Money-Saving Tips from the Great Depression

3. Cook from Scratch

Usually, cooking from scratch is a good way to save money. Buying dry goods in bulk and making your own baked goods is usually cheaper (and healthier) than factory-made, prepackaged food.

My Grandma was an amazing from-scratch cook, and she let nothing go to waste. This is a great cookbook for simple, money-saving recipes.

4. Make Your Own Clothes

Learning how to sew is such a useful skill. During the Great Depression, my husband’s grandma made dresses out of old feed sacks.

With the scraps, she would also make beautiful quilts. No piece of fabric was ever thrown away, but turned into something useful!

5. Use a Clothesline

Using a clothesline to dry your clothes will save a lot of money over time. I remember both of my grandmas often hanging laundry on the line, even when they had an electric dryer available.

If you don’t have space for a traditional outside clothesline, this retractable clothesline is a great idea!

6. Buy Used

You can often find high quality used items that are much cheaper than new ones. Clothing, housewares, and furniture can all be found used for a good price.

I would especially recommend buying used when it comes to vehicles. Even when you can afford to buy a new car, a good gently-used car will save you lots of money.

7. Mend and Repair

Rather than throw things out, you’ll save money if you repair or mend what you can. My grandma would mend or patch holes in clothing. And then, after the clothing had been outgrown or was too far gone to be useful, she would turn it into something else, like a quilt or a rag.

Learning to mend clothing and repair broken household items is a frugal skill that will pay off over the years.

8. Make Do

During the Great Depression, everyone had to learn to make do with what they had. You couldn’t just go out and buy something new all the time.

Sometimes we might feel like we “need” to buy something, but if we think creatively, we might find that something else will work just as well.

9. Use Cash

Our grandparents used cash to pay for what they needed. And if they didn’t have the money, they didn’t buy it.

Paying with cash and avoiding debt will help you save so much money!

When it comes to larger purchases, it pays to save your money and use cash rather than credit.

Learn Money-Saving Tips from The Great Depression

Learning money-saving tips from the Great Depression is a great way to save money and live frugally today.

I’ve learned so much from my grandparents and others from that generation who lived through hard times.

If you’re on a tight budget, like our family, I hope these tips for saving money help you get ahead!

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Money-Saving Tips from the Great Depression

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  1. Such a thought provoking post. We all should be living more consciously like this…Thanks for linking up to Best of the Weekend. Your post was our most clicked this week! Congrats! Swing by tomorrow to see the other features and to link up any other projects you would like to share. Thanks for joining us and enjoy your weekend!

  2. This was the most clicked post at the Best of the Weekend last week! Thank you for sharing. I just published an e-book on Kindle about How We Paid Off Our Mortgage Early, and it includes 15 ways that I live frugally. We could have a frugal club!

    Liberty @ B4andAfters.com

  3. SO true…this is what I meant in my latest post. My mom grew up in the Depression and I cannot throw out a Costco chicken carcass without making soup!

    1. That’s a very frugal idea! My grandma was always repairing things rather than going out and buying something new.

  4. My late mother grew up during the Depression, then married a man who never made a decent living. It took me 25 years to wear out the flour bag floral pillowcases she made me! She made me wool skirts with 40 cent remnants that equaled the ones my college town high school classmates had. She made 2 pillowcases from a 20 cent gathered skirt at a rummage sale. Before I retired, my co workers used to laugh at my stories about rinsing out the “empty” ketchup bottle and throwing the contents into the soup pot! When I got divorced, I paid an extra $50/month for a 15 year mortgage rather than a 20 year mortgage. OK, we didn’t have much of an entertainment budget. At least part of almost every raise went into my retirement fund. Today at 68, I have a nice nest egg and if I need nursing home care, I will be set for a while and not be a burden on kids. Today’s generation never learned how to delay gratification; it does pay off!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Kathy! Your story is very encouraging! I love all the tips you shared for living frugally and saving money!

  5. I can remember my grandmother teaching me a lot of this too; especially paying cash and saving up for large purchases.

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