Living frugally is not a new thing even though it seems to be something that is taking off again. During the depression era, there was no choice but to live as frugally as possible. Families made clothing out of flour sacks, went without, and made do, and they were masters of stretching food budgets as many people had large families and low amounts of money to spend on food.
While some of the things they did during the depression may not be practical for today or they may even be more expensive to do, it is a good idea to look back on this time and see how large families were able to feed everyone with so very little and apply it to our own budgets. Here are some depression era tips to stretch your food budget.
Depression Era Tips to Stretch your Food Budget
Keep breakfast simple. There are a lot of foods that are cheap and filling that are excellent breakfast food. It’s alright to have lots of carbs in the morning such as oats or toast if you are going to be using them. Keep yourself feeling fuller longer with cheap sources of protein like yogurt, eggs or cottage cheese.
Make your own convenience foods. There were very few convenience foods during the depression era. In today’s world, it is hard to avoid buying a few convenience foods here and there, but try to cut your use of convenience foods as much as possible and make your own. You will find that you can make larger amounts for less in most cases.
Grow some of your own food or hunt and forage. Since meat was expensive just like it is now during this time period, many people hunted to give their family enough meat to live on. If you can, hunting is a great way to fill your freezer. You can also garden and grow some of your own foods as well as forage for some things, too. Just make sure you know how to properly find edibles in the wild.
Fill in meat meals with beans. Beans are more than just great on a burrito. They have a wonderful texture and when added to recipes, they can stretch your meats twice as far. You can also substitute beans for meat in recipes, too. To really save yourself a good amount of money, buy them dry and in bulk rather than canned.
Have soup every week. When people cooked during the great depression, not many things were wasted. They made broth from chicken bones, and used vegetables and small bits of meat and leftovers to create soups on a weekly basis.
Learn some frugal recipes to keep in your rotation. Knowing some frugal recipes to keep in your regular rotation was something many home cooks did during this time because there was very few instances that people could afford anything fancy. While it is true families often ate the same things over and over, it did cut costs dramatically. You don’t need to bore your family with the same 5-6 meals each week, but you should make sure you keep an arsenal of low cost meals to keep in your meal plans. Here are some frugal depression era recipes that you can incorporate into your meal rotation.
Depression Era Recipes
Both of these cake recipe are made without using eggs, butter, or milk which were scarce during the depression.
Vanilla Depression Cake Recipe (sometimes called surprise cake)
Tomato Soup Cake Recipe (Sometimes called Mystery Cake)