13 Survival Tips from the Great Depression

13 Survival Tips from the Great Depression

I've often heard my grandmother tell stories about growing up during the Great Depression. She was around 10 years old, the seventh of eight 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 eight 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 have always admired the wisdom and resilience of people who grew up during this time. Growing up in such great hardship equips one with mental toughness and the skills to survive almost any situation.

13 Survival Tips from the Great Depression

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.

great depression survival tips

Scraps of fabric, wrapping paper, containers such as pill bottles, and tons of other items we might consider trash can actually be reused and repurposed. 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.

great depression survival tips

This is also a great way to make your meals a little healthier.

3. Make Your Own Toiletries

great depression survival tips

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.

great depression survival tips

Save money by doing it yourself, and enlist the kids to help.

5. Grow Your Own Herbs and Vegetables

great depression survival tips

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

Believe it or not, most of us are using too much soap, shampoo, and laundry detergent.

great depression survival tips

Our grandparents learned that “just a dab will”do”—any more is a waste.

8. Clean With Vinegar

Vinegar is an amazing natural household cleaner.

great depression survival tips

Use it for everything from cleaning windows and mirrors to deodorizing drains.

9. Learn to Sew and Mend Your Own Clothes

great depression survival tips

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 one's butter or sour cream are sold in can be washed and reused for a multitude of purposes.

great depression survival tips

You can even make your own “miracle safe” out of an old mayonnaise jar.

11. Raise Animals for Food

great depression survival tips

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 a`nd 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.

great depression survival tips

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 them with us in the comments!

One man's trash could be a survival treasure. Click here to learn some awesome survival uses for old, empty pill bottles.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 14, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.


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13 Survival Tips from the Great Depression

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