My parents were products of parents that lived through the heart of the Depression. They had Great Depression living practiced every day of their life. Consequently, I am the product of Great Depression grandparents, which was passed down through both my parents. As they say, the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
In talking with my wife about an idea on what to write about, she said, “Why not talk about things that you do as a result of watching your parents?” From our discussion, I realized that, ya, I do have a lot of what I consider natural tendencies, which originated from the Depression. Hopefully, my examples will spur up ideas for you to comment on how your parent's money saving lifestyles impressed upon you.
- Make my own window cleaner – I hate paying full price for Windex at the store, so I elect to make my own with this Windex recipe. In addition, I also make my own all-purpose cleaner and I reuse Swiffer bottles and fill them with my own solution. It doesn't necessarily save a lot of money, but the savings will slowly add up over time.
- Save unused old tires – have you recently reviewed the bill after getting your tires replaced? Have you noticed that there is a $10 fee for disposing/recycling your tires? You can opt-out of that. I chose to keep my old tires and keep one old set in my garage. The other sets of tires I don't use, that I just use at our local farm for the goats to utilize.
- Shop the thrift stores – my parents have been using thrift stores since I can remember and our family was always about re-utilizing perfectly good clothing for our own family's purposes. One interesting fact I learned, did you know that Goodwill Industries was founded in 1902? It was around even before the Great Depression. Hmm. I wonder what the thrift stores looked like during the late 1920s and early 1930s? Does anyone know?
- Cutting my drier sheets in half – ya I know during the Depression they didn't have electric dryers, but the concept my parents impressed upon me was to be thrifty with what you have. Just because the manufacturer cuts the dryer sheet a certain size doesn't mean you have to use the whole thing.
- Cutting my paper towels in half – same deal here as the dryer sheets. You don't have to use the whole sheet!
- Growing my own foods – since growing up on a farm in NW Iowa, I've loved growing my own foods. So much so, that I started a community garden in our suburban community where we are growing tomatoes, corn, green beans, pumpkins, zucchini, and a lot of different herbs. In addition, we do a little preserving of fresh veggies to be able to have year-round.
- Raising my own livestock – when I was 12 years old I bought eight sows from my dad and bred, fed, and sold all their offspring. I learned early on that I needed to work hard for my living and starting my own pig operation was my first attempt at financial freedom. Today, I raise about 50 chickens with my 3 boys, and actively sell the eggs to my friends, family, and neighbors. Makes for a little side income and helps teach my kids a little hard work along the way.
These are a few of the things I learned from my parents, which was passed down from their Great Depression parents. I'd be interested to hear from our readers on ways you save money based on your parent's example.
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