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Lessons from the Great Depression Preparing for an economic depression
"Poverty is simply having more problems than solutions." Robert T. Kiyosaki
Learn from the past: prepping for the next Great Depression. Wondering how can you survive an economic collapse and avoid poverty? Perhaps Robert T. Kiyosaki summed it up best when he wrote: "Poverty is simply having more problems than solutions." Think about this from a prepper's perspective: strive to be prepared to have more solutions than problems. To ensure you have more solutions than problems, be creative, be flexible and adapt. Below is how to help survive the next Great Depression.
How to Prepare for the next Great Depression: Here are twelve preparedness lessons for getting through a financial apocalypse.
Lesson #1: Change your eating habits. The Great Depression caused an economic collapse; however, most people did not starve during the Great Depression! Certainly there were times when people went hungry, but it was not for a lack of food available. For there was never an interruption of the food supply, even with the dust bowl. Perhaps a family chose to have a new pair of socks or shoes for their child in lieu of eating a big meal. Perhaps having a second portion was not necessary. Perhaps they were too proud to ask for help. Or perhaps they were a bit creative about their meal choices (eating only turnips instead of asking for help). Nobody died for not having enough food, so that's good news!
While times were tough, most people just made do with lesser quality foods, including selection of lower quality meats. Soups and stews made up most of the meals, because it could stretch the food budget! Casseroles helped extend the budget, too. During the Great Depression, people changed their eating habits to help their budget in many ways. Here's how food production changed:
Crisco became a less expensive option to butter.
Oscar Meyer Wieners replaced more costly sausages.
Maxwell House Sanka coffee was the more affordable option to whole bean coffees.
Heinz Ketchup became the base for a simple tomato soup.
Underwood Deviled Ham substituted fresh lunch meat.
Carnation evaporated milk replaced fresh milk.
Ground acorns substituted coffee; and people added chicory to extend the coffee supplies.
Honey, molasses and corn sweeteners replaced sugar as sugar was at a premium, and later rationed by World War II.
What did people eat During the Great Depression? Meals during the great depression included:
Creamed chicken on biscuits, as a variation of chipped beef.
Hash (potatoes and corned beef or sliced hot dogs).
Depression soup: this was simply 1/3 cup ketchup 2/3 cup boiling water.
Molasses and Cornbread.
Foods the debuted during Great Depression, include:
Good Humor ice cream bars
Kraft macaroni and cheese
Krispy Kreme doughnuts
Toll House chocolate chips
Hershey's Syrup, was invented before the depression! (It's naturally fat-free.)
Did you know Rocky Road ice cream was "invented" in during the Great Depression? Indeed it was a "Rocky Road" ahead when the stock market crashed on October 29, 1929 and started the Great Depression. Poverty hit the masses for a decade, but hit it's peak in 1933 when around 40% of the nations farms were on the auction block. Since that time, people have been preparing for the next Great Depression.
Lesson #2: Put away more food. During the Great Depression President Herbert Hoover declared, "Nobody is actually starving." It's true that sometimes people ate only turnips, others had only blackberries to eat, or apples, so they made pie, but people of the Great Depression did not starve as in underdeveloped countries. Generally, food was bountiful and people starved only for PRIDE or LACK OF CREATIVITY. As a prepper we must learn this important lesson!
Even though food was ample, many people went hungry and as a result, began conserving and stockpiling food and money for times of uncertainty in the years following the Great Depression. Preppers today take comfort in stockpiling food, the way the people did just after the Great Depression, taking lessons from the past. Naturally, preppers create a deep larder of food. This aspect of preparing for financial crisis is no different from other preparedness plans. The more food you have stored away today, the less dependent you will be during financial crisis when a loaf of bread could cost $100. Not sure where to start? Develop your "magic grocery list" of the basics. Try these articles for preppers:
Lesson #3: Grow your own! People of the Great Depression grew their own food. The exception being the dust bowl states (Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and parts of Texas) where growing was impossible. During this time, there was approximately 100,000,000 acres of land barren, which forced farm families to flee, (they were mostly from Oklahoma). While today big farms and machines work the fields, back in the day a farmer fed an average of eight families with his crops. People got by also got by with food grown in their own gardens and they canned foods for the Winter. While the economy collapsed, the food on the farms were for the most part unaffected. People supported themselves by growing root vegetables, such as onions, garlic, and potatoes.
Lesson #4: Raise animals. Many people of the Great Depression kept chickens or rabbits to supplement food from their gardens. A lucky few had cows or goats. Desperate people of the Great Depression got even more creative with animal protein. An interesting Website to note is this: pigeonsformeat.com.
Lesson #5: Learn to hunt, fish and forage off the land. In many rural areas, hunting was a way to put meat on the table during the Great Depression. An important lesson; however, is that each shell from a man's rifle had to account for game (or a family might go hungry)! Coming up with shells was indeed a problem. Proximity was another factor to consider as gas and cars were not affordable for the masses.
Lesson #6: Learn to barter when the bank won't give you money. Having skills to make your own food and supplies will help you to provide for your family. For example you might exchange a haircut for apples. Visit a bartering Web site.
Lesson #7: Learn the art of repair. Start now and repair what you have instead of buying new. Use the money saved to buy food, such as freeze dried milk, cheese and meats, which will be harder to come by after the depression hits.
Lesson #8: Make use of multi-purpose items. Cornstarch was one of those products used during the Great Depression quite often because it could thicken sauces, gravies, soups, pie fillings and puddings. It could help make recipes stretch. Cornstarch is a dense powder that comes from the endosperm portion of corn, which though brought to market in 1899 had it's heyday in the 1930s. At this time, there was a surplus of corn, particularly when the price of a bushel of corn fell to just eight or ten cents. With so much corn there was an opportunity to find new uses. Homemakers soon learned this one product had so many uses.
prevents chafing while hiking so you won't get blisters on your feet
frees rubber gloves from sticking to your hands for easy removal
helps polish silver
stiffens clothes as a starch for ironing
Lesson #9: Learn to do with less. The people of the Great Depression learned to do more with less. Making do with less today might mean today:
Getting rid of cable or your LAN line.
Dropping memberships in clubs.
Repairing your old car rather than getting a new one.
Learning to fix a water pipe and handle plumbing issues yourself.
Eating at home, instead of going out.
Lesson #10: Ask for help. People of the Great Depression didn't really ask for help, and yet they received it. Like the Beatles song, learn to "Get by with a little help" from your friends. Some survivors of the Great Depression accepted the charity support of penny restaurants and soup kitchens.
Penny restaurants fed the proud. Penny restaurants popped up as a way to feed unemployed families who were too proud to accept charity. People paid pennies for meals that were subsidized by charitable organizations. Patrons paid only a small portion of the actual food costs.
Soup kitchens fed the rest. Soup kitchens fed many people, the way charitable organizations and food banks feed people today. Chefs could make soup with whatever was available, including produce grown in charity gardens. Soup was a convenient, one pot meal that could be served with bread. Plus, it was easier to clean up than other more elaborate meals.
Lesson #11: Learn from people who survived the Great Depression. While many of the survivors are now deceased, there is still a wealth of knowledge available in the form of DVDs, books and the Internet. Great Depression Cooking with Clara is the popular online cooking show created by Christopher Cannucciari and starring Clara. In each episode Clara prepares recipes that her mother made during the Great Depression. Clara shares her stories and wisdom from the Depression as she shows you how to make simple, inexpensive and delicious meals.
With over 2 million views, national news coverage and a continuously growing fan base, Clara's online cooking show has touched the lives of so many people looking for inexpensive, delicious, nourishing meals. In the DVD, Clara provides her mother's recipe's including: Pasta with Peas; Egg Drop Soup; Poorman's Meal; Peppers and Eggs; Homemade Bread' Depression Breakfast; Poorman's Feast, Twice Baked Potato, Pasta with Garlic, and Fried Fish. You'll find some of Clara's recipes on YouTube!
What did people miss most during the Great Depression? As one Prepper's grandmother put it... "nails, garden seeds, wire, string, sewing supplies, clothes pins, bleach, disinfectant, and vanilla." What will you add to the list? Take one day to write down everything you use from your toothbrush to a pencil to ear swabs or chocolate. What will you miss the most? That's the stuff you should hoard too.
Clara shares her Great Depression Cooking
Happy endings... The good and happy fact about the Great Depression was that while times were tough, and while many people went hungry from time to time, no one died of starvation. For food was plentiful and people were resourceful. In prepping we often prepare for major catastrophes, but in preparing for a depressed economy you can also help ensure you get through a job loss.
You can survive when you eat it up, wear it out, make do or do without!
Survival Guide to Homelessness - Blog of one man's journey through homelessness with interesting lessons on living your car (hygiene, staying warm, keeping cool, cooking and more). The ideas garnered will prove useful in the next Great Depression.
Prepare to live happily ever after with us at happypreppers.com - the emergency preparedness Web site of prepping, survival, homesteading, and self-reliance.
Get your Great Depression Cooking straight from the source with Clara, above, as she shares her Poorman's Feast.
Lesson #12: Invest in tangibles, get out of paper. Cash will one day be a worthless thing. Buy what you can now with the cash you have in hand, while it is still available and stay out of debt. Preppers stockpile to ensure they have food and supplies in lean times. Today, you can have a garage sale to get rid of the useless items in your home and to help you buy the preps you really need.
People with financial problems are not able to adapt. They are not flexible. They are not creative. These are the main lessons from those who have survived the Great Depression of 1929:
Change your habits. If you are a big meat eater, then perhaps you need to get more interested in vegetables and eat less meat to prepare for the coming collapse. There are many ways to cook rice and beans and this combination is an excellent source of protein.
Be flexible. After the collapse of the economy, families began splitting up. Nearly 1.5 million husbands of the Great Depression left their families leaving the women and children to fend for themselves! Obviously, many families were not flexible!
Let your creativity soar! The people who made money on the depression made their money well before the big stock market crash. They thought differently about the market before the crash. The people who made money after the depression, also thought differently.
Books to read about Economic Collapse:
The Modern Survival Manual (Surviving the Economic Collapse), by Fernando "Ferfal" Aguire, pictured left. Based on the first-hand experience of the economic collapse in Argentina, The Modern Survival manual (Surviving the Economic Collapse), will help prepare your family so you won't have to suffer.
American Exit Strategy (The Economic Collapse Chronicles) Volume 1 The American Exit Strategy by Mark Goodwin, pictured right, is a new novel about America on the cusp of financial annihilation. Hidden within the story is another that will blow your mind. It's a must read for preppers.
Ideas from the Great Depression
Extend meals with dandelions. Dandelions are a dandy way to make tea, coffee, jellies, salads, juices and more for health and nutrition.
Under there is but a pair: Often times people had but a single pair of underwear. They'd take it off at night, hand wash and dry for the next day.
Cardboard for shoes: People would cut inserts of cardboard into their shoes daily to keep their feet from hitting the dirt and pavement since the soles had worn through. Shoe repair is a prepper skill.
Questions About the Great Depression:
Who Made Money BEFORE the Great Depression? ANSWER: here's a Great Depression fact: it's the people without debt and with cash in hand who made money during the Great Depression! People who had cash at the time of the crash were well at hand to profit from the Great Depression when it hit! Here is an example:
Floyd Bostwick Odlum: He was the guy who made money both before and after the Great Depression.Virtually unheard of, this attorney turned mogul pooled money to buy of utilities and general securities; however, unlike others he was one of the few to recognize the boom on Wall Street could not hold and so he pulled out his money well before the stock market crash. He became one of the ten wealthiest men in his day because he had $14 million in cash when the market crashed. After the crash he bought up utilities at prices deflated by the depression.
Who Made Money DURING the Great Depression?
Michael J. Cullen: The concept of the first supermarket in America came from Michael J. Cullen, founder of the King Kullen grocery store chain. The focus of the first supermarket stores was on low prices and plenty of selection. Instead of baskets, there were shopping carts. The market chose low rent locations (including abandoned factories and warehouses). They carried thousands of national brands of groceries, hardware and automotive supplies. Cash was king! They accepted only cash sales, unlike many of the mom and pops who lent out money and ran themselves out of business.
Diamond Matches Investors. Anyone who invested in the Diamond timber matchstick maker (Diamond Match and Mengel Co.) did well in the years following the Great Depression. It was the only stock to do well in three years following the crash according to the Wall Street Journal.
How to Survive Next Great Depression You don't necessarily need to sell your house, go completely off the grid, move overseas, invest in Euros, or buy gold to survive the next financial collapse...
Sell your house? Not necessarily. Preppers live within their means. They don't own a house they can barely afford; however, to keep a roof over head, a prepper may choose to take in a boarder, merge households with an elderly family member, or rent out the garage for storage. It's all about being flexible and creative.
Move off the grid? Not necessarily. In some ways, farmers of the Great Depression were better off than people in the city (because they could feed themselves); however, they still had to pay their taxes and debts with cash, not crops. Farmers thought they had the solution to their problem: just produce more crops to sell, so they bought more farm equipment. However, this strategy backfired as soon there was a surplus of food, which drove down the price of food. Farmers were then more in debt and had even less cash to pay their debts. That's why so many farmers had to sell off their family farms.
Move overseas? No! Preppers are patriots and not ex- patriots! They love the right to bear arms and to stand up for their second amendment rights. Besides, every nation will feel the affects of the Great Depression, and it's possible Americans won't be highly regarded overseas when they blame the United States for the depression.
Invest in Euros? No! American Preppers watched the agony of what's happened in Greece: economic calamity! People have withdrawn money from Greek banks in record numbers fearing the Euro would be replaced by the weaker "Drachma." When investors sell Euros, typically they buy up Dollars: and that's good news for Americans. Prepper's are patriots and have the best interest in supporting the U.S. Dollar! At the same time, preppers also don't invest in paper assets (unless it's toilet paper). We buy tangible goods and base metals for bartering, and we pay off our debts.
Buy Gold? Not necessarily! Owning gold is never a bad thing, but the cost of gold currently is much higher than other precious metals. Preppers save copper pennies, which are worth more than double their face value according to coinflation.com. Preppers buy silver coins because they are easier to trade. They hold precious metals in the physical form in a safe deposit box or home safe. They do NOT invest gold paper, ever.
To survive an economic down turn, you must have more solutions than problems. To prepare for the next Great Depression, you must learn from the past.
Here are frugal tips from the Great Depression to prepare for the next one:
Some day, paper money won't be good. Gold and silver gives you a reserve.
Extend meat with oats. Use oats in casseroles and meatloaf to bulk up the servings.
Buy a whole chicken and make at least meals from it! You can make roasted chicken dinner, and with the scraps chicken salad sandwiches, chicken pasta, and finally soup stock from whatever is remaining, including the bones.
Don't ditch it: stitch it! If you can sew a repair instead of replacing a garment then it's worth your time to do so. A stitch in time, saves a dime.
Never throw away buttons. If a garment is no longer useful, salvage the buttons for reuse along with the others. Look in the seams before discarding. Sometimes dress shirts will have extra buttons sewn into the seams. For that matter, reuse the material!
Just a dab will do! Instead of pouring a palm full of shampoo in your hand, wash your hair with a much smaller dab. The same for toothpaste. There's no need to fill the entire row of bristles with toothpaste when just a dab will do.
Use mesh bags to help you get the most out of soap.
How to Live Happily Ever After... Certainly the Great Depression in the decade following October 1929 brought the lower class of America to rock bottom. The low morale caused many to take suicide as the only way out. This need not happen to preppers! To survive the next great depression:
Keep a positive mental attitude. Tell stories, sing songs, play a musical instrument and Play board games.
Stick with others. Take care of each other.
Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!
Never give up hope. Know that things will get better, eventually.
In short, you can survive the next Great Depression by changing some habits. So there you have it. People changed their habits, and you can too. Preppers are optimistic for the best of times, and yet they plan for worst of times.