11 Life Lessons From The Great Depression Everyone Should Learn

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

Most of us have family members who have passed down their lessons from the Great Depression over the years.

Despite all of the modern conveniences we enjoy in our lives today, the wisdom listed below was learned the hard way when the financial crash put families in such an awful situation. It’s heartbreaking to think back on how hard they struggled just to survive — but on the opposite end of the spectrum, their resilience is just as inspiring.

Thankfully, there are plenty of families thriving today with the mindsets below, without having the economic strain as the reason behind it.

Take a look to see which lessons from the Great Depression made a lasting impression on the generations that followed it.

Do you know someone who can relate to the simple ways folks lived way back when?

Be sure to SHARE all of these timeless lessons with your friends on Facebook!

1. Never Use Something Just Once

great depression sewing

“Disposable” wasn’t part of many people’s vocabulary during the Depression. Even scraps could be sewed together and made into something new. Nothing was ever wasted.

2. Learn More Than One Trade

great depression jobs

There was no such thing as job security, so being able to adapt to different fields wherever they could find work was absolutely essential.

3. Make Friends With Your Neighbors

neighborhood during great depression

Communities rallied together to keep every mouth fed — and to support each other through the emotional pain that often came with trying to make ends meet, according to historian Robert McElvaine.

4. You Might Have To Get Your Hands Dirty

little farmer girl during great depression

In fact, a lot people didn’t even have a choice. Most families grew their own groceries right in their backyard, like the feisty little lady pictured above.

5. Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

great depression stock market

The lesson we’ve all thankfully embraced in more modern times of diversifying your funds was at the core of the whole Depression.

That, and to save a hefty stash of tangible cash to keep around just in case.

6. Learn The Difference Between Want And Need

great depression games

There’s obviously an emphasis on material things and high-tech gadgets today that everybody wants.

However, during the Depression, even when things seemed to be at their worst, communities still found ways to entertain themselves with simple (and inexpensive) fun.

7. Always Keep A Sharp Eye For Good Deals

free food during the great depression

While out using what little money they had, they made sure to use it right by never settling for the first option.

Being savvy with coupons, haggling, and other ways to stretch their pennies kept families from going without for too long.

8. Protect Your Family At All Costs

family in great depression

According to the Encyclopedia, crime rates went through the roof during the Depression. Headlines were filled with stories ranging from bootleggers attempting to skirt the Prohibition laws and outlaws like Bonnie and Clyde making their way across the country robbing any cash register they could get their hands on.

Families relied on each other to remain safe and protected, making the bonds between them all the more important.

9. It's Okay To Embrace Little Escapes

movies during the great depression

According to CBS News, who spoke with a man who was living during the era, people found catharsis in the fictional stories playing at movie theaters.

Classic films like The Wizard of Oz helped them forget about their own troubles and dip their toes into a fantasy world for at least a few hours.

10. Get Creative To Keep Your Cupboards Full

great depression store

You don’t see many folks canning and preserving food these days, but it was at its peak when the cupboards were in danger of going completely bare throughout the Depression.

It might be a good idea for this to make a comeback with more families today.

11. Remember To Focus On What Really Matters

kids playing

Above all the hardships that were thrown their way, one of the most important, if not the most, things that helped people find the strength to carry on: love.

Families spent more time together, with every member doing whatever they could to keep a smile on everyone’s face.

Did your parents pass down these lessons from the Great Depression while growing up?

Be sure to SHARE the generation’s wisdom with your friends on Facebook!