First, let’s talk about a recession versus a depression. Many signs point to the country entering a recession in the coming year, but this is not necessarily going to be a depression. The main difference is that a recession is an economic downturn that lasts several months while a depression can last for many years. Still, it may be smart to look for tips that came out of the Great Depression.
The Great Depression
The Great Depression was a time when people had to be creative in order to save money. This essentially meant doing whatever it takes to survive. Cutting expenses as much as possible and earning money wherever you can. All non essential spending had to come to an end, and this is what many people in current times might soon have to do. Here are some ways to live as cheap as possible, when you no longer have all the money you need.
Save Money On Groceries
There are a number of ways to save money on groceries and most of them will not affect how you eat.
One way is to use grocery coupons. There are many different resources that offer coupons for grocery stores and grocery items. You can find coupon books in various stores that offer discounts on groceries and you can check out the weekly newspaper for further deals. Clipping coupons might not be glamorous, but it is a time tested way to save on groceries.
Another way to save on groceries is to meal plan. Meal planning requires you to list the meals that you want to prepare over the course of the week. With a list in hand, you can then efficiently buy groceries with minimal waste. Since we tend to waste 10 to 20 percent of the food that we buy, this is a fantastic way to reduce our costs.
Last, but not least, we should shop for cheaper staples to base our meals around. During the Great Depression, not many people were buying Filet Mignon. Look to staples that you can buy super cheap and base your meals on. Rice and beans, for example, are excellent bases for meals that cost just pennies a serving.
Save Money On Entertainment
Entertainment and leisure activities are a big part of most people’s lives. However, they can also be a major expense on your budget if you let things get out of control. There are free and nearly free options though, and these are what you should target if or when the economy takes a downturn.
One way to save money when it comes to entertainment is to look for free city events. Check out the event calendar for your cit and cities nearby. They will usually be full of events like free movies in the park or craft fairs. Not the same as going to a theme park, but entertaining none the less.
Socializing with friends will also become more important during a recession. Everybody will be looking for cheap activities and gathering at our own homes may be the best option. An inexpensive pot luck dinner or game night with friends is virtually cost free and will go a long way towards easing stress and recession tension.
Save Money On Utilities
There are many ways to save money on utilities and most of them revolve around being efficient. Make sure that you are not being wasteful with water and that your home is an insulated as possible. A free energy audit. provided by many utility companies, will help you identify problem areas in your home.
Electricity will be the most expensive utility that you will want to try and save money on. The average electric bill in this country is pushing close to 150 dollars, but this can be improved upon. The biggest drain on this bill is your homes HVAC system. To minimize heating and cooling costs, turn your thermostat up a few degrees in the summer and down a few degrees in the winter. Make up for the temperature difference by dressing appropriately.
Another big drain on your electric bill will be phantom energy costs. These are caused by the drain that appliances have on your electricity, even when not being used. To solve this problem, simply unplug electronics when they are not in use.
Save Money On Clothing
During the Great Depression, high fashion was not a priority and it should not be for you during the potential upcoming recession.
Save on clothing by, first and foremost, taking care of what you already have. Washing your clothes in cold water can help protect colors and will further reduce your energy bills over the cost of hot water. Line drying is another way to protect your clothing and lower utilities. Driers are very tough on clothing.
When it comes tie to buy clothing, don’t buy the cheapest of the cheap, because poor quality will result in clothing that does not last. Instead, shop off season and clearance. Buy your Winter clothes in the Summer and Summer clothes in the Winter. This alone can save you up to 80 percent off the cost of retail clothing, without forcing you to skimp on quality.
Final Advice From The Great Depression
During the Great Depression, unemployment reached nearly 25%. People were forced to live a much simpler life without all of the luxuries that we take for granted today. Housewives hung laundry on clotheslines to dry, people did more with less and they did not pay for anything that they could do themselves.
Are we going into a depression? Probably and hopefully not, but all signs are pointing to a recession. A recession is hard on everyone, but certain people will be hit harder than others, especially those who do not prepare. So, take this article for what it is, a warning that you should start getting prepared for the future. Maximize your saving and be prepared to make some changes to the way you live, when the time comes.