Some of us came along shortly after the Great Depression, but most had parents and grandparents that lived through it. I even had siblings living through it. We have all heard stories about what life was like then.
It wasn't easy at all - it was bad in some respects - but I think it also had many good things going for it! Does that surprise you?
Think about it - these folks learned things and lived in a way that many people today are striving for. So many are going back to living a simple life, living off grid, homesteading, being frugal.......the list goes on and on.
We can learn so much from the past, and unfortunately, many lessons that we SHOULD be learning, we are just oblivious too.
The usual motto back then was "use it up, wear it out and make it do". This was the way of life for most families. Almost everyone was affected by the depression in some way. Nothing was wasted. People improvised. Many items weren't available or were in short supply - so you had to come up with news ways.
As bad as it was - it was good too!!! People were creative. People helped each other. No one felt especially deprived. Families and community was treasured.
Conserving what little money that was had - was vital.
1. USE WHAT YOU HAVE - mend it, fix it, re-invent it. We have such accumulations of stuff - we should all be able to get by with what we have for ages. It is just a matter of getting creative!
2. SHOP FOR BARGAINS - do NOT impulse shop!!!! If you are going to have to make a major purchase - research, research and more research!!!!! Have patience. Odds are you can make do for a while without it. Think hard about your purchases. Odds are when I think I want something - if I think on it for a while - I realize I don't need it. Get the best quality for the best price.
3. NOTHING WRONG WITH USED - Check yard sales, thrift stores, Craig's List, Freecycle, friends and neighbors. Someone you know may have just what you need just waiting for you! You never know till you ask.
Electronics can be iffy - unless you are a pro and know how to fix. I would avoid second hand computers, unless from a reputable upgrade store. Beds are another thing you might be careful with. Bed bugs can cause huge problems if you bring them home.
4. COOK AT HOME FROM SCRATCH. learn how to make your restaurant favorites - there are many duplicate recipes on-line and in cookbooks. Restaurants can suck your money up quickly. Learn how to make simple old fashioned meals. Get cookbooks at the library.
5. MAKE IT - Learn how to make simple but good home cleaners. Make your own compost. Learn how to do small projects around the house. Learn to sew and mend. Cook.
6. FIX STUFF - so much of our society has become throw away - it is really disgusting and wasteful. Check out You Tube for instructions on how to fix your stuff. Acquire missing manuals on-line. Call 800 numbers on products - they may be able to trouble shoot. TRY your best to fix things before buying new.
7. DO IT YOURSELF - do your own yard work, pet baths, gutter cleaning, easy plumbing, cleaning AC and furnaces, etc. No need to pay someone else, when you can do it yourself.
8. PAY OFF DEBT - no brainer for most of us - but many don't get it! Make any extra payments you can on car or mortgage. Always try to pay more than the minimum payment. Pay off one smaller debt at a time - it gives you a since of accomplishment. If need be get an extra job or learn to make extra money to pay things off - DO IT. Get out of debt!!!!!! Budget. Make a plan and a goal. STRIVE FOR IT!
9. FOREGO FASHION - This doesn't mean look like a slob or have crumby stuff. You can dress simpler when you stay at home. Be comfortable and practical. DON'T feel like you need to keep up with the Jones's. An older well maintained vehicle is fine, older furniture and things are fine. DO NOT worry about impressing people!!!!!!!!!!!!
10. LEARN TO HAVE FUN WITHOUT SPENDING - it is doable! Have a picnic, play board/card games, play Frisbee, story telling, go to the library, camp (if nothing else in the back yard), have campfires, do family research together (great way to teach kids history and learn about your ancestors), do cooking or sewing lessons with the kids (and friends), garden together, hike, fly kites, play horseshoes, croquet, volleyball, etc.........................
11. EMERGENCY FUND - pay yourself. It is necessary and important. You may have to start small with $5 or $10 a week - but do something! If you have an emergency that comes up and it costs $1,000 - even if you only have $500 - you are better off than having none. You just never know what can happen - you MUST be prepared.
12. FREE STUFF - find it! Libraries have books, music and movies all for free. Check out special days at museums, historical sights, state or federal parks. Go to local parks. Check out programs performed at area schools and colleges - there are may things that can be enjoyed - choirs, art, plays, etc. Our local park has an event every week all summer - the symphony, art displays, movies in the park, local musicians - all FREE
13. GARDEN - for the cost of a few packs of seeds (or free is saved seeds) - you can grow an abundance of food - healthy food!. Read books, mentor with someone, watch You Tube and learn to can and preserve your food for later months. Grow whatever you can - even if it's a few herbs on the patio. It is food you don't have to buy!!!!!!!!
14. MAKE GIFTS - make your gifts more personal than just giving generic store bought stuff. Re-purpose items into new things - pillows, dish towels, quilts, lap quilts, pillows. Make wood crafts if handy. Make up small photo albums with family recipes from long ago (maybe add pictures if you can). Give home canned goods, breads, muffins, candy, etc. There is NO limit to the gifts that can be made when you have any special talent.
Make coupon books, for baby sitting, home car wash and detailing, a meal a month, snow shoveling, leaf raking, baked goods, etc.
I have done many small ones for new babies as well.
Take time and figure out what you REALLY WANT from life.
Do you want to be in debt and have all kinds of fancy new stuff, that loses it's appeal after you get it home?
Do you want to retire and relax?
Do you just want to feel safe - IN CASE?
Do you want to do good things for the planet?
Do you want to slow down?
Do you want to have new experiences with family and friends?
Do you just want to be a good steward of what you have?
WHATEVER you do - be wise and thrifty!