Friday, November 21, 2008


Here is an interesting article I found while googling "tips from living through the Great Depression". 
I was talking to my mom this afternoon about frugality and my Grandpa's mom (Edna Seelye). She and her sister Anna Bell were so careful and frugal and creative at the same time. They made it through the Depression and seemed to thrive while doing it.  They created beautiful things around themselves and knew how to make a lovely meal (always with some kind of dessert) on very little. 

I personally am a person of excess. I have never liked or looked for the challenge of making something out of nothing. I don't like crafts or sewing very much and in makes me squirm when I have to make a budget. Of course that has changed a bit over time because a budget is a neccessity and now that I am no longer a free wheeling single gal I have come to understand a little better the value of money. I learn most everything the hard way and money issues are no exception.

But.....there is a part of me that really likes an adventure. Even if it's uncomfortable it's something new. I like "something" to be happening. It gives me a thrill to move, change jobs, start projects learn a new skill etc.... I also have a deeply buried desire to survive.... to work for what I eat and live on. It quickens my spirit to scramble a bit, to feel like I need to pull off something important, like daily living. 
Lately Chris and I have been discussing different options for our finances. One of the options was for me to work a bit and try and pull in some extra cash. I am now working on Saturdays cutting hair.  The other option is to sell one of our cars. It would eliminate a car payment and it would enable us to put some money towards some unwanted debt. This plan is still in the works but the more we think about it the better it sounds. As good as it sounds I realize that it would be inconvenient(said in a sing songy drama voice).... I am not very used to inconvenience.

 I figure that it will be a good opportunity to nurture my deeply buried survivalist instincts and maybe awaken a bit more creativity. 
hmmm maybe I'll hide some chickens on our patio and start weaving tunic style dresses out of hemp....


7 comments:

Friar Tuck said...

I think I would like some of those simpler things...until they actually become work.

Amy said...

Thanks for posting this article and your comments. It is an important topic for all of us right now!

Heidi said...

I feel the same way about the challenges of doing things differently. It was amazing how little we lived on during our transition summer to Texas! It was fun to see what we could do, and OK that we didn't eat out or anything.

Anonymous said...

Good thinking! I like your positive outlook about necessary adjustments. I remember when an ice cream cone on a Sunday afternoon was a real treat!Love Grandma

Robin said...

I love this post, dear, and am proud of how you (and your sisters, too) adapt to changing situations with such a plucky attitude. It's true that your gene pool contains lots of creativity, frugality and good survival skills. When D and I were surviving through seminary days with very little money I developed my own frugality skills that have always been waiting on the back shelf in case they're needed again. It really gives me a good feeling to know that I can do it, if I have to. And those were good days, too! One car meant we were together more while we did everyday tasks. I spent more time at home, so that gave me time to make things we needed, which made me feel capable.
Of course you know that Grandma and Grandpa have always been careful, yet they have a life of hospitality, love and service.
Grandmother honed frugality to a fine point by just basically not spending money unless there was simply no other way. Sometimes it was pretty grim, but she was never beaten and it brought out all her creative juices.
It's the kind of challenge that is hard but you know it has the potential to make you a better person! Thanks for letting us in on what you're thinking!

Anonymous said...

Fun post Gretchen!

My Grandma's stories of the Depression are interesting. She grew up on a farm. They had lots of food- just little money. She was so proud that no one in her family was ever on "relief." Should times get really tough, I will have to block the Gymboree website and tear up the patio in our little backyard in order to garden.

Laura Blackwell

Daniel said...

Bonjour Gretchen,

As you and your husband research the issue of "to sell or not to sell" one of your autos in order to cut back on expenses, one big expense variable to factor in is auto insurance! In addition, if you presently have both autos with the same insurance company, then you should be getting a multi-car discount on both policies, and thus saving money that way too...? Just thought I'd mention that....

Have you ever watched an old movie called, “The Grapes of Wrath,” about the Great Depression? Hmm, when speaking of the “Great Depression,” I do believe the word “great” was not the best choice of a word to use, perhaps, something like, “terrible,” would have been a better choice cause other than being great big, there was nothing at all “great” about it, but that’s just my opinion. If you check out this link, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath , it appears that there was talk of the end times back then too.

Gretchen, do you know what caused the so-called Great Depression? Capitalism! I did read your recent interesting post that included talk about capitalism, and also the comments that followed... Oh, and I’m seriously JUST JOKING about capitalism being the cause of the Great Depression! Actually, I believe the correlation was a lack of banking & brokering regulations, which allowed banks & brokerage firms to be merged, and thus when the stock market crashed in the 1920’s, there were consequent failures of banks. To prevent such a thing from ever happening again, in the 1930’s as part of several new banking laws, something called the “Glass-Steagall Act” was passed, which was known as the Depression-era law that separated commercial and investment banking. Unfortunately, Mr. Bill Clinton, in November of 1999, signed into law something called the “Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,” which amended the “Glass-Steagall Act,” and overturned the law that had successfully separated commercial and investment banking for more than 50 years. It was predicted that by once again allowing banks & brokerage firms to merge would result in history repeating itself (Duh!). So basically, that’s at least a part of what’s happening now, and why there are some similarities to the Great Depression.... And as expected, there is renewed talk of reinstalling laws to once again separate commercial & investment banking----When will they ever learn...

Daniel