I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m thinking about saving money I wonder – how ever did people survive during times like the Great Depression? Nowadays we have all sorts of convenient budgeting tools to help us with our finances, but back then people didn’t have those advantages. Yet they found a way to thrive on very little! Whether money is really tight for your family right now, or you just want to save more for the future, you’ll find these 10 Old Fashioned Survival Tips from Grandma to be very helpful!
10 Old Fashioned Survival Tips from Grandma
1. Utilize Friends, Family, and Neighbors
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If you’ve ever talked to someone who lived through the Great Depression one point becomes very clear- friends, family, and neighbors working together was critical to everyone’s survival. Nowadays, family members often live scattered across the country (or even across the world!) and many people barely know their neighbors’ names. But back then everyone worked together to help each other make it through the Great Depression. They traded and bartered with each other, and even helped out each other for nothing in return. So if you’re trying to save money, see if the people you know can help you out a bit. They don’t need to give you money, but maybe you can do something like trade vegetable seeds with them, or maybe they’d be okay with you using their edger so you don’t have to pay to rent one.
2. Use What You Have
Back in the day, people were very creative when it came to repurposing and using up what they had. The scraps from the cloth that was used to make a dress could be used to make a new pillow. An old ladder could be repurposed into a new set of shelves. Things like that allowed people to get brand new things without spending a dime!
3. Stock Your Pantry with Staples
Another of the many important old fashioned survival tips is to fill your pantry with food staples. Food staples are things like flour, oats, rice, lentils, and beans, all of which can be used to make dozens of meals. Specific foods like cake mix and chips are not staples because they can only be used one way. Not only are staples versatile, but they also are often very inexpensive (a can of beans costs less than $1), making them great food choices if you’re trying to survive tough times.
4. Utilize the Wild
One of the best old fashioned survival tips is one that people have been using for centuries- use the wild! That means foraging, fishing, even hunting for the food you eat. Of course nowadays you can’t just wander into any forest and do whatever you want. You have to make sure you have the proper licenses and approvals, along with the skills and at least some basic gear. But if you have all the right things, you could wind up coming home with a basket or cooler full of food for your family!
5. Rely Less on Modern Conveniences
Years ago, people didn’t rely so much on modern conveniences, even if they had access to them. They’d use candles along with electric lights, they reused produce washing water as water to use in their garden, they’d open a window for the breeze instead of turning on the AC, and they’d dry clothes on a clothesline. If you can do more things like this, you’d save a lot on your utilities, which can be very helpful during tough times!
6. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is a great way to save money, and has been for years. The best way to do it isn’t to buy twenty 2 lb bags of a food. Instead, buy two 20 lb bags! The larger the size, often the more you save. The same goes for non-food items, like fabric or yarn. Of course, you have to do the math, because depending on what you’re buying, you may find that the larger size is equal in cost (or in rare cases, more expensive)! But 90% of the time, it’s a great way to save money (and a good way to build up your pantry of staples!).
7. Have Free Fun
If money’s tight, you can still have fun. Many people that grew up during the Great Depression have recalled their childhoods as being plenty fun. Sure, there were hard times, but families back then found ways to have fun without spending much (or any) money! This is actually one of the easier old fashioned survival tips to apply. To do it, you can take your family camping in your backyard, go for walks, have fun at the park, or play card games together. Things like that can make for fun times and good memories without costing any money!
8. Make Things
When you’re trying to cut back on your expenses, one of the number one things you should do is make your own things like beauty products, cleaning supplies, dog toys, and more! That’s what people did back in the olden days when money was tight. You can save a lot of money by making your own things, and often what you make is better for you than store-bought versions, anyhow. On top of that, you may find that you’re good enough at making things that you can sell what you make to your neighbors, or to people worldwide online (like through a site like Etsy!).
9. Live with Less Clothes
If you’re very into fashion, this is one of the old fashioned survival tips that may be difficult to adopt, but it’s necessary. Clothes aren’t cheap, and if you don’t know how to make your own they can cut into your budget. So try to do what people did years ago- live with just the basic clothes. Meaning, don’t have a different party dress for every day of the week. Have a few casual outfits, a few work outfits, and one or two fancy outfits. That’s it, and try not to add to that collection unless you see a great end-of-season sale (or your finances improve so you have some budgetary wiggle room).
10. Plan Ahead
One of the very best old fashioned survival tips that apply whether your finances are strained or alright is- always plan ahead. If you have a job, you don’t know what exactly will happen with it. Even if you own your own business or work freelance, things can change in your industry that may change your income. And if you’re between jobs, don’t spend more than you need to. You never know if an emergency expense will come up (the car needs a new tire, etc.). If possible, have multiple streams of income, or at least a small side hustle. Back in the day, people saved and worked side jobs to make ends meet and prepare for the future. It worked well for them, and it’ll work well for you, too!
Do you already do any of these things?
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