Older generations had to get resourceful during the Great Depression. Nowadays, with inflation spiking prices left and right, one person asked the internet to share the best Depression-era tricks their parents and grandparents passed down (just in case.) Here’s what they have up their sleeves.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Use Your Head
“When you buy a head of lettuce, give it a squeeze,” the original poster said. “If it’s fluffy, you’re just buying a lot of air in between those leaves. Heavy and firm, the leaves are packed in nice and tight.” Can’t argue with that logic.
2: Every Drop Counts
One person said not only did their mother add water to their milk to make it last longer, but their grandmother said, “When we would take a spoonful of milk, to tip the spoon on the side of the bowl so that the extra milk would run back into the bowl.”
3: The Magical Fruit
Many people ended up vegetarian out of necessity in the Depression Era. “Get your protein from legumes, eggs, and dairy,” one commenter advised. “Fill up on vegetables. Get extra calories from root vegetables and grains. Fruits are a snack.”
4: Take a Hike
It’s all about perspective. One commenter said if anyone complained that their house was too cold in the winter, their mom would tell them to wear a sweater and walk outside. “After a 10-15 minute walk in the cold, inside always felt much warmer.”
5: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Tearing open Christmas presents isn’t exactly a universal experience. “I remember as a child watching with confusion as my grandpa would take a knife to cut his wrapping paper off presents at Christmas, removing it gently and folding it so it could be reused.”
6: DIY Tan
One commenter says during the silk shortages, her grandmother would dye her legs to look like she was wearing stockings by sitting in a tub filled with bathwater and teabags. They modified it for themselves, “Now, in the summer, instead of buying super expensive self-tanners or risking skin cancer, I’ll add some tea bags or leaves to my bath.”
7: In a Pickle
“My grandma taught me how to make pickles,” one commenter said. You may be broke, but at least you’ll never run out of crunchy, briney snacks.
8: Free Food
One sleight of hand seems to have never gone out of style. “My great grandma would steal bread rolls from restaurants and buffets – just tuck them in her purse,” one commenter said. They added that their grandpa would also save everything. “There were hoards of 4L ice cream pails in his basement because even those we would not throw out.”
9: Clean Plate Club
One commenter says their grandfather took cleaning your plate to a whole new level. “He would always save a piece of bread till his dinner was done and then wipe off the plate with it. Then, if there were any crumbs left, he would lick the tips of his fingers and pick them up one by one.”
10: Sew What
Sewing seems like a dying art, but one commenter is picking up on the skill, turning a ripped-up pillowcase and sweater into a nice pillow for their pet. “It’s rewarding to see less going into landfills and enjoying things that I normally wouldn’t afford for myself coming from my own handiwork.”
11: Taking Care of Business
One commenter listed off several life skills they learned from their mother. To name a few, “Grow your own veggies, make your own compost (why waste leftovers?), can and preserve your harvest, build fences, porches, walls, sew your own clothes.” They said the only thing their mother ever got a professional for was an electrician.
12: Skip the Lettuce
One commenter says you’re wasting your money on iceberg lettuce since it has no nutritional value. “Use the money for tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, or cabbage. All of which have more vitamins and minerals per pound.”
13: Heating Up
Taking advantage of the changing of the seasons can help you cut costs on the power bill. One commenter said, “My parents would make meals that used the oven, heating the house in the winter. In the summer, we made lots of salads to keep the house cool.”
14: You Butter Not
“My grandma would fuss at me for throwing away butter wrappers,” one commenter said. “She’d take them out of the trash, fold them up, and put them back in the fridge, stating you could use them to grease a pan.” They said they still think of their grandma every time they do this.
15: Waste Not
One commenter’s mother said their grandmother used to weigh the potato peeling to show her how much food had been wasted. “Then they would plant the peelings in the potato patch in the backyard,” they said.
Younger Baby Boomers Are Poorer Than Their Older Boomer Peers
Are you a younger baby boomer who feels financially behind where your older boomer peers were at your age? Statistically, that’s true. Here’s why.
18 Common Misconceptions About Poverty
Far too many people have misconceptions about poverty, according to hundreds of people who took to an online forum. The troubling part? You might be poor even though you don’t see yourself that way.
15 Mistakes Poor People Make That Keep Them Poor
Want to get out of or stay out of the red? Heed this advice about mistakes poor people make that cause them to live paycheck to paycheck.
Most to Least Expensive States to Retire
Are you looking to move state borders during retirement? From Medicare contributions to taxes and housing costs, these are the best (and worst) states to retire from a financial perspective.
Top 1% Earners by State
Whether earning income in the top 1% of your state feels like a pipe dream or a plausible reality, one thing is certain: What constitutes a 1% earner varies wildly by state.