13 Survival Tips from the Great Depression

The Great Depression has happened ages ago and I’m sure we’re all hoping it doesn’t happen again. But in case it does, better be prepared, here are some helpful survival tips!

13 Survival Tips from the Great Depression

I’ve often heard my grandmother tell stories about through the Great Depression. She was around 16 years old, the ninth of twelve children. Their family was very poor, and her father (my great-grandfather) took every odd job he could to make ends meet while her mother stayed home to raise the twelve children. She’s told me many stories of standing in line for cheese and bread rations, and how they could only afford one pair of shoes a year, which they wore until holes were worn into the bottom.

I’ve always admired the wisdom and resilience of people who grew up during that time. Growing up in such great hardship equips one with mental toughness and the skills to survive almost any situation.

Here are 13 survival skills we can learn from those who grew up in the Great Depression.

1. Reuse, Reuse, Reuse

To this day, my grandmother is the type to not throw anything away that she might use later. Scraps of fabric, wrapping paper, containers such as pill bottles and tons of other items we might consider trash can actually be reused and re-purposed. If you think something might be of use later, don’t throw it out.

2. Use Meat Extenders to Make Meals Stretch Further

During the Great Depression, people would use “fillers” such as oatmeal or lentils to bulk up their meat dishes and make them go a little further. This is also a great way to make your meals a little healthier.

3. Make Your Own Toiletries

Toiletries such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste can be made at home for a fraction of the cost.

4. Don’t Pay for Anything You Could Do Yourself

The convenience of hiring someone to mow your lawn, change your oil or clean your house might be convenient, but you’re really just throwing money away. Save money by doing it yourself, and enlist the kids to help.

Here are 133 Homesteading Skills for The Modern-Day Homesteader.

5. Grow Your Own Herbs and Vegetables

Birds eye view of a woman gardener weeding an organic vegetable garden with a hand fork.

Growing your own food is not only a rewarding and healthy hobby; it will save you hundreds of dollars every year.

6. Buy Generic When You Can

From clothes to food to cleaners to medication, name brand doesn’t always mean better. Do your research, and buy generic.

7. Just a Dab Will Do Ya

Believe it or not, most of us are using too much soap, shampoo and laundry detergent. Our grandparents learned that “just a dab will do” — any more is a waste. A pump does not mean you have to press all the way down. Depressing half-way or even a quarter of the way will suffice.

8. Clean With Vinegar

Vinegar is an amazing natural household cleaner. Use it for everything from cleaning windows and mirrors to deodorizing drains.

9. Learn to Sew and Mend Your Own Clothes

Sewing your own clothes is fun and will save you tons of money, and knowing how to mend them yourself will allow you to get a lot more use out of your clothes.

10. Reuse Containers

Tubs like the ones butter or sour cream are sold in can be washed and reused for a multitude of purposes. You can even make your own “miracle safe” out of an old mayonnaise jar.

11. Raise Animals for Food

Even if you don’t have land for large livestock, smaller animals like rabbits and chickens can be raised in your backyard and killed for food.

12. Learn to Preserve and Store Food

Canning and storing food for long-term use will save you money and keep your food from going to waste.

13. Cherish the Time Spent with Family

One thing I’ve always admired about my grandmother and her siblings is how they’ve stayed so close throughout the years. Times of hardship have a way of bringing us together, and cherishing the time spent with your family will make the hard times seem just a little better. Even if SHTF, staying close to your family — physically and emotionally — will give you hope and comfort no matter what happens.

Do you have any “Great Depression” tips of your own? Share it with us in the comments below!

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