When in lean times, you need to do more with less. No one knew this better than people who endured the Great Depression, a period of economic difficulty that deeply affected the country and other corners of the globe. Tough as it was, those who survived through it picked up some useful money-saving strategies. These habits are nothing short of timeless and can be used by anyone even today. Here are some useful corner-cutting tips from the Great Depression, courtesy of AskAPrepper.com.
- Know your wants and needs – Meeting your needs is essential, satisfying your wants, not so much. Those who lived through the Great Depression learned to differentiate their needs from their wants, and how to carry on without the latter. Like Warren Buffet said: “If you buy things you don’t need, you will soon sell things you need.”
- Buy used, not new – Secondhand items are much cheaper than newer ones, so try to buy used items as much as possible. Clothes, toys, books, cars — all of these can be purchased secondhand. Used doesn’t mean broken, it just means loved.
- Use diaries or envelopes for budgeting – Diaries are good tools for planning your expenses and for keeping track of them. Using several envelopes, each dedicated to a different expense in your life, can help you budget better too.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle, repair – Turning the old into new will definitely help you pinch some pennies. What you can’t fix up, transform into something else entirely. Other items, like vinegar and baking soda, can be used in more ways than one.
- Pay with cash – Managing your money is easier when you have a clear view of how much you really have. Avoid paying with debit or credit if you can, and use bills and coins instead.
- Freelance – Having an extra source of income never hurt anyone. If you have a special skill that your current job doesn’t make use of, considering utilizing it to make a bit more on the side. From photography to cooking to art, these are skills that some people will gladly pay money for.
- Become self-sufficient – Doing your daily chores and tasks by yourself will greatly reduce any unnecessary expenses. Why turn to someone else to sew your clothes, mow your lawn or cook your food for you when you can do it all by yourself, for free?
- Maintain a garden – You don’t need to go to the market to get tomatoes, lettuce or squash. These are all edible plants that you can easily grow in your own home. Whether you have some windowsill pots or an entire backyard, you can use these spaces for fruits and vegetables. (Related: You can grow these six vegetables in your home)
- Get everyone involved – If you have a family, then having everyone contribute can ease the load off your shoulders. You and your spouse need to do your part in supporting your family, whether through financial or practical means. Kids can’t contribute to finances, but they can assist in other ways, like picking up their toys, helping fold laundry, or putting away groceries.
- Scrape, scrape, scrape to the last drop – Don’t throw anything away until you’ve drained it to the last drop. A drop of shampoo or toothpaste might not seem like much at first, but it can mean the difference between a shopping trip today and a shopping trip next week.
Although it’s unlikely that another Great Depression will occur, you won’t lose anything by adopting any of these habits and making them your own. In fact, doing so can actually be to your benefit rather than your loss.