History repeats itself, so it’s wise to learn from the mistakes of the past…especially when it comes to our finances.

While we’d like to believe that we won’t face another period of severe economic upheaval like the Great Depression, it could possibly happen again.

Americans suffered through the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and many are struggling to overcome the financial hardships caused by the pandemic. 

We never know what the future holds.

So, take heed, and keep reading for money-saving tips from the Great Depression.

1. Live Below Your Means

The Great Depression began with the U.S. stock market crash in October 1929 following a decade of American prosperity.

The problem with the so-called prosperity of the 1920s was that people lived beyond their means. History.com explains, “Credit was extended to many so that they could enjoy the new inventions of the day, such as washing machines, refrigerators and automobiles” [source]. 

Grow Your Wealth Every Month with Empower

If you struggle with buying things you really can’t afford or spending money you don’t have, Empower will help you rein in your spending.

This financial app has everything you need to make empowered financial decisions. For example, should you spend your money on a new sofa?

Empower allows you to see your entire financial picture, including when you are close to going over budget, as well as your savings goals. 

Plus, instead of using up every last penny each paycheck on stuff you don’t need, the Empower AutoSave feature will analyze your income and set aside excess cash for savings so you can grow your wealth instead of going into a hole. 

Banking services for new accounts provided by nbkc bank, Member FDIC.

Download Empower and grow your wealth without even thinking about it.

Free Workshop – Join our free Simplify Money Workshop

The *only* way to save money is to spend less than you earn. That means you need to decrease your expenses or increase your income.

We want to help you do both.

Join our FREE Simplify Money Workshop to learn the fundamentals of growing wealth. Because when you can spend less than you earn, your money has no choice but to grow. You will build your savings and pay down debt. 

What’s more? We’ve got a bunch of free money-hacks to share with you:

  • Hacks to lower your monthly bills
  • Hacks to spend less on debt
  • Hacks to start investing
  • Hacks to increase your income by $20/month (with no extra effort)

This workshop has everything you need to accomplish the cardinal rule of personal finance: keep your income over your expenses.

Join our free 5-day Simplify Money Workshop, and start growing your wealth today.

2. Cook for Yourself at Home

During the Great Depression, Americans quickly discovered the importance of cooking meals at home to save money.

The same idea still applies today.

Eating out is a luxury.

You wind up spending significantly more to eat the same meal and drink the same wine at a restaurant than you would at home.

Plus, the recipes you find on Google are better than a lot of the overpriced food in restaurants.

If you really crave a restaurant meal, do a search for copycat recipes and cook the dish at home.

When You Shop for Groceries, Use Ibotta to Get Cash Back

Get even more money in your pockets when you download the Ibotta app for grocery shopping.

After you shop for the ingredients for your home-cooked meals or copycat recipes, snap a picture of your receipt using Ibotta and get free cash. 

Want to hear even more ways Ibotta can save you money? Check out our Ibotta explainer video, here!

Download the free Ibotta app (+ grab a $20 welcome bonus).

3. Build and Grow Your Emergency Fund

We’ve all heard stories about those who lived through the Great Depression hiding cash under their mattresses or even burying it in the ground.

This is because the banks failed. But it is also because people realized the necessity of having an emergency fund.

Those without one wound up homeless and lived in shanty towns after they lost their jobs and their meager savings ran out.

It doesn’t have to be that way for you when you grow your emergency fund.

4.  Get Out of Debt Now

Debt is still a major problem in America. According to Debt.org, “On average, each household with a credit card carries $8,398 in credit card debt” [source].

That’s why one of the best money-saving tips from the Great Depression is to get out of debt ASAP. 

Think of it this way – even though times are hard, you are still responsible for your debts.

For example, those who were in debt before the Great Depression were those who suffered the most when it happened.

That’s why you have to cut expenses, live below your means, and get out of debt now.

Pay Off Debt Now with Credit Land Balance Transfer

Part of the reason so many Americans are in debt is that they are paying ridiculously high interest rates on their credit cards — even those with good credit scores.

The amount they are paying in interest makes it nearly impossible to pay down the card in a timely manner if you make just the minimum payment.

The good news is that you don’t have to be stuck in this vicious cycle!

Credit Land Balance Transfer makes it easy to find credit cards that offer lower interest rates (sometimes as low as 0% for 12-18 months) so consumers can transfer all their credit card debt to a more efficient credit card and pay off the balance quicker.

Your interest rate will be determined by your credit score.

Visit Credit Land Balance Transfer to climb out of debt faster.

5. Work a Side Hustle 

During the Great Depression, people were desperate to make money and were willing to do anything to get money.

Many took on odd jobs, in addition to their day jobs, to help make ends meet.

You can do the same thing.

Don’t let your ego get in the way of making money.

Take any opportunity – even if you feel the work is “beneath you.”

Do whatever it takes to take care of yourself and your family so you can stay out of debt.

Find a Side Hustle through Steady

A fast and easy way to find a side hustle is with the free Steady App.

Steady is an online marketplace for jobs.

Create a free profile, and Steady uses its smart matching technology to share your profile with employers seeking your specific skills. It’s one of the easiest ways to find opportunity.

So don’t waste your free time looking for a side hustle.

Get the Steady app today to find a side-hustle perfect for you.

6. Start Investing for Retirement Now

Retirement wasn’t an option during the Great Depression.

Statistics from censuses around this time reveal “63.1 % of men ages 65-74 were in the labor force in 1930” [source].

We all want to retire – especially when we are no longer physically able to work to the same degree.

But, if you haven’t invested in your future, this may not be possible. 

It’s uncertain whether we can count on Social Security benefits, and pensions are all but a thing of the past. 

Plus, we never know if or when we will face another Great Depression.

That’s why it is vital to take every opportunity to find ways to turn your spare change into dollars for your future. 

Investing for Retirement Is Simple with Acorns 

The word “investing” scares some people, but Acorns makes it so simple that you don’t even have to think about it.

Acorns is perfect for those just beginning their investment journey.

Acorns scoops up the extra change from your everyday purchases (like all those excess acorns that fall from trees) by automatically rounding up your purchases to the next dollar and then invests the extra money into stocks. 

Acorns also offers Acorns Later, a special feature just for retirement savings.

Acorns Later will recommend an IRA and portfolio based on your financial picture, and then you set up automatic recurring contributions.

Download the Acorns app to start building your retirement fund.

Invest in Small Companies and Help Launch the Next Big Thing

Maybe you didn’t get in early on Starbucks or Samuel Adams, but you can still find other coffee companies or microbreweries to invest in.

Where do you find investment opportunities like these?

Through Mainvest, a funding platform that connects willing investors with small business owners.

You can invest through Mainvest for $100. You will earn money as “your business” makes money.

Each quarter, Mainvest renews the financials, and investors like yourself will participate in revenue sharing. You will earn an investment multiplier over time until your maturity date. 

Don’t miss out on a chance to fund the next big thing. Invest with Mainvest and get started today for just a hundred bucks.

7. Don’t Participate in the Next Recession

When you start to use these money-saving tips from the Great Depression, you will put yourself in a better position to avoid the same financial mistakes many of our great-grandparents made. 

Lower your expenses!

Do whatever it takes to keep your expenses lower than your income.

Ask yourself if there’s anything keeping you in your home, or can you downsize to a smaller house?

Can you take on roommates? Rent out part of it on Airbnb?

Is there anything keeping you in your city, or can you move somewhere with a better cost of living? 

Make smart choices today to protect yourself tomorrow so you will never participate in a recession again because you took the steps to be financially secure.

Want to save these tips for later? Click here to pin this post!

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest for more money-saving advice.