Frugal Living Tips from the Great Depression

Imagine being able to get a car for only $800. You heard it right. This was the case in the 20s when the great depression hit the United States first and then the rest of the world. It is known by many economists as the longest economic recession in modern world history. The purpose of this post is to remind you of some frugal living techniques our grandparents used to tackle this difficult situation.

Here are a few frugal living tips from the great depression.

1. Don’t throw away stuff. Try fixing or repairing it.

I don’t see people throwing away stuff during the great depression. The production capability of industries was almost none and people had no option other than fixing the broken items in their homes or using them as a utility for some other purpose.

Instead of calling the maintenance man, you can learn how to solve basic issues occurring in the electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, and heating units of your house. Watch a YouTube video or call a friend to learn how to repair instead of paying money to the maintenance man.

2. Grow your own food at home

This is one of those difficult to implement frugal living tips from the great depression. About a hundred years ago, it was quite easy to grow your own food as humanity had just transitioned from an agriculture-based way of life to industrialization. It was natural for our grandparents to look for alternatives like home farming, gardening, etc. 

But don’t be disheartened. This frugal living tip from the great depression is already being implemented in 1 out of 3 homes in America. According to the National Gardening Association(NGA), 42 million American households are growing their own food.

3. Embrace the DIY ethic

We all know how Americans are popular for their throwaway culture. But one should never forget that they are the ones who started the DIY ethic as well. The DIY ethic is still present in the US but only in some subcultures. You can save a lot of money by making stuff at home instead of buying it ready-made from the stores. Of course, you can’t make everything at home and there are certain things that need to be bought from the store. You can start by creating your own music, skateboards, bicycles, etc.

4. Don’t use too much electricity. Try alternative methods to generate power.


This is the final but the most important frugal living tip from the great depression. By being mindful of your electricity usage, you will see a massive drop in your monthly electricity bills. The heating and cooling systems in your house contribute to almost 60 percent of the amount on your monthly electric bill.

Do not switch off your air conditioning unit more than once or twice a week. Let it run. Most of the energy by the air conditioning unit is consumed to fire up the unit and not to keep it running. Same goes with the heating system. Secondly, look for natural alternatives to produce electricity like solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectricity, etc. 


We all learn from adversity. And the great depression was one of the toughest periods that our grandparents had to go through. Also, there was no specific reason behind such an economic depression. A few things went wrong which at that time were the most important for the global economy. Keep this frugal living tips from the great depression in mind so that you can apply them in the current economic scenario.