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How People Survived the Great Depression

2010 July 28

My grandparents would be the first to admit that living through the depression was tough. Extremely tough! So much so that is revolutionized the way they lived. Even beyond 1945 this era changed their life forever, and is how they live today. Recently, my family and I went home to visit them and talked to them about the depression and what they did in order to make it through this tough time. Here are a few tips on how people made it through the depression.

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  • Bartering – if you didn’t have it and need it, then you’d barter. Here is a great website with interviews and stories on surviving the depression that I highly recommend,
  • Not buying anything with credit – only buy something you could pay cash for now. None of the instant gratification you see today
  • Home grown foods – the only thing they went to town for were for sugar and flour. Everything else was produced organically on the farm
  • Preserve food – the food that was produced or bought was preserved and treasured. Folks would work diligently to can food and have plenty on hand in the cellar to survive long periods of time
  • Helping neighbors – there was a day when helping your neighbor was a common thing. Anymore, people live isolated lives and are only concerned about themselves and their needs. Reach out to your neighbors and connect as a community. During the depression families would help each other with harvest, repair work, or give each other food.
  • Multiple sources of income – people who made it through the depression realized that having only one source of income is risky. By having multiple avenues in which to generate income it would protect themselves from economic downturns and spread out their risk tolerance. Look at home you can earn a few extra dollars whether it be a repairman, painter, lawn mowing, or babysitting.

Articles I recommend on the great depression.

Have you talked to anyone lately that survived the great depression? What tips do you have?


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An IT professional, Charlie also buys and sells liens, lives on the cheap, runs marathons and helps to run his family farm. In his spare moments, he raises 3 children, does the dishes and writes one post a week. His former blog, Frugal Retirement Plan, has been cited by US News and World Report.

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