8 Lessons Learned from The Great Depression

Check out this list of 8 life lessons learned from the hard times of the Great Depression on gracefullittlehoneybee.com

Looking to the past can teach us a great deal about the future. Check out these 8 Life Lessons Learned from the Great Depression and see if you need to apply any of them to your own modern life!

Check out this list of 8 life lessons learned from the hard times of the Great Depression on gracefullittlehoneybee.com

Lessons Learned from the Great Depression

  I was originally going to share money-saving tips from the Great Depression, but when I mentioned that to my 90-year-old grandpa he laughed and said, “What money?”, so I switched gears and have come up with something a little bit different that I really think you will enjoy just as much.

  But first, if old-fashioned money saving tips interest you, then you will want to check out 7 Frugal Cooking Tips from the Great Depression and if you’re still interested in learning about old time money saving tips, then you can check out my post 30 Old Fashioned Frugal Tips from Grandma or scroll my Frugal Living archives for tons of related content.

  As mentioned earlier, I sat down with my grandpa to discuss life during the Great Depression. He was number three of nine children and grew up on an 80 acre farm in Arkansas. He told me that life was full of hard work, but also strong community.

  He said that people were closer than they are today. I think that is probably true since hard times tend to bring people closer together out of necessity and they didn’t have as much technology to isolate themselves like we do today.

  Anyway, A strong community is a great thing and so I wondered what other positive qualities people had to have in order to survive and maybe even thrive during the Great Depression. So here is a list that I came up with of Lessons Learned from the Great Depression. I hope this post inspires you to think about how you can apply these lessons to your own life.



  Frugality is simply not letting yourself spend that which is not necessary. Obviously, during the depression money was scarce so frugality was the only option, but having this quality probably helped people get through the hard times with a grateful heart.

  If more people adopted this quality in their lives today then they would be a lot better off and you can bet that teaching frugality to the next generation would save them from a world of bad financial decisions. If you need some frugal living inspiration in your life, be sure to check out the links below that are chocked full of frugal tips and tricks.

Additional Resources:

6 Powerful Life Lessons from my Thrifty Grandma

30 Old-Fashioned Frugal Tips from Grandma

10 Frugal Habits that Will Save You Thousands

30 Easy Ways to Reduce Household Expenses and Save Hundreds


  Resourcefulness is the wise use of the material possessions that we have been given, even that which others may overlook. You can bet that everyone was resourceful during the depression because they knew that their resources were limited. This character quality would be a breath of fresh air in our throw away society today. Check out the links below for more tips on how to be more resourceful.

Additional Resources:

How to Build an Old-Fashioned Frugal Pantry

50 Cheap and Easy Recipes for When You’re on a Budget

40 Groceries to Stop Buying and Start Making to Save Money

30 Simple Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen


  Industriousness is having a firmness of purpose with constant diligence and attention. Basically, a person who is industrious lives with a purpose in mind and sets his mind to accomplish it. It’s a person who is almost always busy learning, creating or working on something. This was of great importance during the depression because it took a lot of energy and industriousness just to survive.


  Endurance means having the strength and focus to keep pushing forward. This was a crucial quality to have during the depression. People didn’t know when things would get better, but they probably tried their best to push forward toward what the future might bring. There is a lot to be said about someone who keeps working day after day and doesn’t give up easily.


  When creativity and resourcefulness come together great things happen. Knowing how to fill a need with minimal resources takes great creativity and I think people were probably forced to practice this skill during the Great Depression. This is a skill that the current generation is lacking because we have everything we need all the time and I feel that it is a great disadvantage to us. After all, necessity is the mother of invention. I believe we were made to create more than we consume. Check out my post 20 Ideas to Produce More and Consume Less for more inspiration.


  When someone is determined you had better watch out because they will probably reach their goals with great gusto! I can’t imagine how parents during the depression were probably determined to feed their families and keep their homes full of hope instead of despair. This was probably a hard quality to maintain, but the ones that tried to practice it were blessed in the long run. Have you been determined to do something hard lately?


  When hard times come, things are bound to change and those who embrace the change will flourish. Flexibility was probably key during the depression because husbands were out trying to find work and didn’t know where they would end up. I think being willing to try something new when you need to is a key survival skill that many people used during the Great Depression.


  Being grateful and content is probably one of the most important keys to happiness during the depression. Those who focused on what they had and how blessed they were probably had more opportunities come to them than those who complained and moped around because they didn’t have something. Again, maintaining this quality was probably a struggle, but worth it in the end!


  The Great Depression was a time of need and scarcity, but I believe many families flourished because they worked hard and were grateful for what they had and didn’t focus on material possessions. People didn’t have much in the way of material things, but they had things that money couldn’t buy like peace, love and joy.

  Thinking about the Great Depression makes you realize that the most important things in life are not money or material possessions, but relationships and memories. How much are we missing out on today because we are so distracted by our possessions? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!


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  1. You really did touch on the sentiment and feelings of "the greatest generation". It is refreshing to find someone as young as yourself who understands the importance of our ancestors struggles. Thank you for all that you do to make the world a better place.
  2. My mother lived through the depression on a farm. They had it easier than town folks. Even so, the lessons she learned stuck with her throughout her 96 year life, and that was the way I was raised, even in the city. Good points from your grandfather. - Margy
  3. I've talked with my family who lived thru the Depression too. I think part of it is also that many people are just so very self-absorbed that they're not observant. If you pay attention to what's going on around you you don't miss great opportunities....
  4. This is such great advice - thank you for sharing! I think we all need reminders to be humble and grateful for everything we have, it's hard to even imagine how difficult times were during the Great Depression even though there are still plenty of Americans alive who survived that time. It's rare to see a blog discuss heavy issues like this, so thanks for being bold and writing this all down.
  5. This is a great post for the season we're in :) Pinning it! Thanks for linking up on last week's Mom 2 Mom Link Up Party! Hope you can come join us again soon, Rachael @ Diamonds in the Rough
  6. This is a good post. My parents were raised during the Depression and they have shared their stories with me and I know that they lived like they lived during those times. Even after the Depression was over most of the people in our area had to still live in hard times. My mom and dad were raised during the Great Depression. Both of there families were large. Both from different parts of the united states. They had 8 kids and my mom didn’t work but worked hard using the land they had. I am the youngest and was lucky to have both parents around, but my dad worked when my older brother and sisters were being raised they had different stories to tell about what life was like for them. We had a lot of land so my mom and dad had large gardens (all kids of veggies). My mom and the kids canned. They dried and put away so much food. My mom was up early cooking making sure everyone had 3 good meals a day. We only went to the store once or twice a month for only what was needed. Mostly flour, sugar and things like that. We raised chickens, pigs, goats and ducks. My dad and brothers hunted and fished. We had lots of woods on the property and they cut plenty of wood and they sold wood for extra money Best way to do this is to make sure if a tree went down another took its place. We gathered wild berries, had fruit trees (apples, peaches, plums, pears, figs and blueberries. Canning was a part of life and if you didn’t do it you didn’t eat most of the time. So when my mom canned hundred or more jars of each thing kind of veggie and fruits. We had a building that we stored the can goods in. Biggest part of being a person during hard times was if you had too much you shared. If you knew someone that needed food then you worked it out so they can share what you have. My mom and dad always made more than we needed. People were proud and if you knew they needed something then you made a trade. Sometimes it was the only way that person would take what they needed. I wish people helped one another like when I was being raised. Where everyone was grateful for what they had because there were so many that didn’t have as much as we had. The kids played out in the yard and did what was needed to help their parents and their other family members. Making sure grand parents and aunts and uncles had what they needed. You help everyone that is how people made it through the hard times.
  7. That's a lot of great options! Because of the c-o-r-p-o-r-a-tions; people are Mislead into thinking, there is Not enough resources/material things, to go around. But it might Be like that in certain areas, cause for example: over mining etc. etc. But by and large, as you"ve said: people now adays have everything. I would say a lot of people do, but not everyone! I'm guilty of over consumption too; but Not on purpose... I then pared things down cause, I didn't need so much. Your right: money isn't that important. But GOD gave us tons of resources; so why not have what all of us, reasonably need or want? What is really wrong; is we allow others to own those resource$ and don't give us any, unless we have a piece of paper... I agree we should live frugally, and live reasonably without getting Extra, we really Don't need/want.
  8. So many women and girls today don't have a clue how to cook from scratch. It's take out or frozen in a box. My daughter learned to cook not only from me, but searching out recipes on her own. She even taught me a thing or two! I asked her one day how many of her friends would know what to do with a chicken carcass besides throw it away, and she said none of them. My boss who is male (and does alot of the cooking in his house) didn't know either. Very sad.
  9. Wow! You hit the nail on the head! That's how I was raised and I've tried to instill those values in my children. It's helped me get through many hard times. Great post!
  10. You’re spot on with the character qualities. I’m impressed by your perspective for you such a young lady. You are very inspiring to this old woman😁
  11. My mama and dad grew up during the depression and taught me that the simplest of things can bring you the greatest joys. I try to pass these on to my children and grandchildren. I am forever thankful 🥰
  12. My parents lived during the Great Depression and growing up I never knew we were poor. We were not poor but very blessed to be raised by a wonderful mother and daddy and taught how to work,cook and grow our food. I love your articles.
  13. My grandparents told me stories about living through the Depression when at Xmas they only had one dime per person for a Xmas present.

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