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8 Money Saving Tips from the Great Depression

8 Money Saving Tips from the Great Depression

Photo by nedgusnod2,


November 11, 2009

Turn down the thermostat

Ever have your grandmother tell you to put a sweater on? That’s because the lady really knew what she was talking about. Give up the idea that your house is always going to be toasty-warm in the winter and refreshingly chill in the summer. By learning to live with a more moderate amount of artificial temperature regulation, you’ll be saving lots of money in the long run and be doing a great deed for the planet. Don’t forget to put this into practice in the car, too! Running the air conditioning at full blast noticeably lowers your mileage.

Get back to gardening

From Depression-era kitchen gardens to WWII Victory gardens, Americans have always gotten through tough times with green thumbs. By growing certain fruits and vegetables yourself you can save yourself a bundle at the grocery store and provide your family with super-tasty and ultra-fresh produce. Don’t have a lot of space? Don’t worry! You can grow a little herb garden in a window box, a planter, or even just a pot in your home. And gardening can help you with another money-saving tip you really should be using — eating out as rarely as possible. Even take-out can add up! Cooking for yourself is tasty and fun.

Don’t buy things you just want

Yeah, yeah, this one sounds like a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s time to start evaluating which things you really need and which ones you just want. We’ve been conditioned by decades of wall-to-wall, 24/7 advertising to believe we require the newest, the fanciest, and the shiniest anything you can think of. How many of these must-have toys are just collecting dust right now? Try to imagine a world without ads telling you what you need. Listen to your common sense and see if you notice a change. You’ll probably find you can make do with what you already have or buy smaller amounts of cheaper things. Do you think that on your deathbed you’ll wish you’d bought more designer clothing or faster cars? No, we didn’t think so either.

Be open to relocating

We’re not talking about riding the rails like a Depression-era hobo, of course. We’re just saying that job growth tends to be concentrated in certain areas, and if you’re serious about getting a new or better job you may want to consider moving to an area with more opportunities. Like a modern-day Joad family, only not as depressing. People that stay mobile are more able to pick up jobs where they’re growing fastest rather than having to scramble for scarce jobs in a depressed part of the country. With a little research, you might find a region that’s booming and attractive to you and your family. And who knows — it could be an adventure!

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