Luckily, even during our most dire financial times, most of us don’t experience the extreme desperation that many Americans felt during the Great Depression, which was a time of 25 percent unemployment and a 50 percent decrease in national income.
People were broke, yes, but the problem wasn’t just the lack of money. There wasn’t enough food to go around, which is how so much of America’s diet changed rapidly from home-grown to highly preserved meals. Barter and honor systems cropped up, because money was scarce and checks wouldn’t do. People needed to trade. There was often no one to trade with.
But the era of breadlines and shantytowns had, in the end, many positive stories that resulted. Anyone who grew up with a grandparent or a great-grandparent from that era knows that what they often talked about was an extreme positivity despite adversity and a determination to make sure everything was used, from the last spoonful of mayonnaise to the Sunday paper.
Many baby-boomers nostalgically remember the Great Depression generation as pack-rats: “Grandpa would wear shoes down to the soles. Grandma kept towels until they were paper thin!”
But this generation has a lot to teach us about staying frugal. While we might not be sewing clothes from flour sacks or using the “hobo code” anymore, we can still learn many different things from that era about staying positive, helping each other, and saving on food, time, and energy.
We should always keep this era in mind and seek to learn these positive lessons: reduce waste, grow local, use every item until its last breath, and always stay hopeful!
Infographic developed by TitleMax.com