- The extreme hardships during the Great Depression caught many families off guard.
- Expect the possibility of working longer hours for less pay during a depression.
- Learn to grow your own food.
- Become a jack of all trades.
- Friends and family will be more important than ever.
- Conserve capital and supplies, repurpose old items.
- Own animals like chickens and cows.
- Stock up on essential supplies.
- Innovate, create and seize the opportunity.
Surviving the Great Depression was every bit as rough as scholars make it sound in the history books, at least according to my grandmother it was. In order to prepare for the future, sometimes one must look at the lessons of the past. So I took a long look in the mirror and asked myself how would you survive such an economic downturn?
By combining my grandmother’s teachings with hours of research I was able to come up with eight lessons to help anyone adapt on the fly during the next Great Depression.
1. Learn from survivors of the Great Depression
Be prepared for the possibility of harder work for less money during extreme downturns.
My grandmother was a young child in Virginia during the Great Depression. Her family had to go through unrelenting hardships. The family often ate pots of beans and black eyed peas, sometimes they were lucky and had some fatback to add to the stew. Money was tight and decisions had to he made about which children needed clothes and which children could use the ones from the older siblings, sometimes which meals to skip. Her father was a watchmaker and had to take on extra jobs, like assisting rail operators with keeping time by setting and repairing watches to make ends meet. Her father’s shop also became somewhat of a swap meet, bartering his services for other items that he would use, sell or trade.
2. Grow your own food
Mrs Edna Boone lived through some harsh times. During the Spanish influenza pandemic supply chains broke down and small towns like Edna’s literally could not get shipments of food. Her families potato patch fed her entire community during the peak of the outbreak. I understand that her story is from a period of time shortly before the Great Depression. However, stories like Mrs Boone’s remind us all that it’s always necessary have access to a sustainable food source, especially in the worst of times. Some of the easiest foods to grow include tomatoes and greens.
3. Do it yourself
A Swiss Army knife usually has a wide array of tools in one case. Having multiple abilities at your disposal would save you money and allow you to better hurdle any hardships you might encounter. Learning home and automobile repairs would be useful skills to barter with. Other valuable skills include:
- Wood working
4. Know your neighbors
During such a downturn you will most likely need help at some point. Getting to know your neighbors before an emergency would be ideal. Having a network of family and friends who can assist/barter with each other could prove to be invaluable during such a time.
5. Conserve and repurpose
Conservation is an important skill to have regardless of the economic times. Repurpose old or unused items when possible. During a depression conserving the capital and supplies that you have is of the utmost importantance. Simple ways to conserve include:
- Meal prep
- No baths/shorter showers
- Eat less
- Use less electricity
6. Raise animals
2020 brought some habits established during the Great Depression back to the forefront. Through the first quarter of 2020 Americans bought such quantities of live chickens that many farms sold out. Having fresh eggs on hand during periods of economic uncertainty could be crucial. If you have the room and the know-how owning other livestock such as cows or pigs wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
7. Stock up when you can
Here today, gone tomorrow? If the opportunity arises to buy essential items during a depression, it would be best to stock up. Key items like seeds, live chickens, canned food, beans, rice and ammunition would possibly be in short supply.
8. Solve a problem
People’s habits change during periods of economic depression. The one silver lining is that with every crisis an oppoutinity arises. New businesses will emerge from the ashes. Created by entrepreneurs with the foresite to see changing trends and innovate ideas. Ask yourself what the one burning need of the people is and answer that question better than anyone else and you might be rewarded handsomely.
Better prepared for the next Great Depression
In periods of recession or depression things will be different, a ‘new normal’ could emerge. Hopefully this article helps you prepare and protect yourself during the next catastrophe.
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