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Making the Best of Hard Times

Updated on April 15, 2024

Surviving the 21st Century

Nearly twenty five years 'in', many people continue struggling to survive the realities of the 21st century.. Many still endure recessionary effects while coping with the ever increasing inflationary cost of living today. Most no longer care about the political finger-pointing and gobbledygook explaining how and why we're in this mess.. Instead they are focused on holding their jobs ..if they've got jobs; finding jobs ..if they don't. They're fixated on shelter and provisions for their families, dealing with, and learning to survive the 21st century American facts of life.

Having known many Great Depression Survivors of the 30's, I heard countless stories of endurance, perseverance, and courage. I learned and remember a lot of their advice about self-sustenance and survival, and now offer you as many of their suggestions, as much of their advice as I can remember, and even some of what I've learned throughout my own life experiences...

United we Stand...

According to their stories & advice, we must first teach ourselves to overcome our 'fear' of each other.. because, and not necessarily due to any fault of our own, we have stopped trusting, accepting, and truly caring about one another. Thus, to a great extent we have become our own worst enemies, and if we want to begin improving our own lives, we must aspire to capture their commitment to the phrase.. 'United we stand, Divided we fall' ~ This may be a most difficult task for many since, (again not necessarily due to any fault of our own), the last several decades have left us a very ambiguous & skeptical society. We need to work on this, since there's never been a more important time to know and be considerate of our neighbors. We're a 'melting pot' these days, and could share many different ideas & perceptions, which would likely prove advantageous to all of us. For the sake of our kids & the future, we must shed our fear of a world that seems to cater to the criminal minority, while leaving the majority afraid to even know one another. We must retrieve our right to safe & secure neighborhood environments, and try to develop a real sense of consideration for each other..

"desperate times call for desperate measures"

Modern societies must learn to ration & squeeze the ultimate most from absolutely everything they have access to! Today we have the Internet, and those of us who have access to it, should use it not just to improve our own lives, but also the lives of others less fortunates in our families & communities. The Internet provides nearly limitless free information, and the Great Depression society would have used it to benefit not just themselves, but all those around them. Right here on hub pages there are many helpful articles that could help us improve our standards of living.. Look for them. Read them. Acknowledge and apply them.. and think of others while you are reading them. If an article doesn't suit your needs, maybe it would apply to your neighbor, and you could share it with them.. This is an opportunity to practice teaching ourselves to 'consider and care about others'.

Look for, and learn about the many 'not so obvious' uses for baking soda, vinegar, honey, salt, aspirin, witch hazel, toothpaste, cooking oil, mayonnaise, yogurt, used coffee grinds, fruit & veggie peels, and other items often found in our pantries, refrigerators, and even the garbage! Many of these items, and more, can be very frugal substitutes for household cleaners, face, body, and hair cleansers, treatments, and moisturizers, and even health care 'remedies'. Some of these 'concoctions' may seem odd, messy, or even distasteful.. but, as the Great Depressioners so eloquently explained.. "desperate times call for desperate measures".

So, what's on the menu?

Someone suggested giving up daily vitamins, etc., and eating healthy foods instead. This is good advice! However, healthy food, as well as vitamins, are unaffordable commodities for many these days. Take advantage of 'sales' for items that you use regularly. If you haven't done so already, switch to generic brands. Reality dictates that 'name' brands are now just another of yesterday's luxuries, so unless you've got a 1/2 price or less sale or coupon, eliminate name brands from your shopping list. Stock up when/if you can.. and try to plan no-waste meals. We're seeing more and more Great Depression and recessionary recipes and meal suggestions. Check them out! Don't waste those precious dollars on items that will end up in the trash within days. Check out various food banks, and other food assistance programs..

Conserving, Shopping, and Sharing

We've known about pollution and environmental issues for years, and many of us are already accustomed to practicing energy conservation, etc. If you are not already conserving, then start now, for your own sake; as utility bills will also continue to skyrocket, even though your wages won't. Keep everything except refrigerators, freezers & life sustaining equipment UNplugged when not in use. Did you know that your toaster, phone chargers, coffee pot, TV, video games, computer, etc., are sucking juice, and costing you money even when turned off and not in use!!! You can learn more about cutting utility bills online as well..

Shopping & selling via swap meets, flea markets, thrift stores, yard sales, and even today's online bargain stores, auction sites, and classifieds can still be useful bargain & selling options, as long as common sense, will-power, & caution are exercised, i.e., it's common to see used garments at thrift stores that are marked higher than the identical item selling new on the retailers sale rack! Check social sites like Facebook for neighborhood buy nothing pages where neighbors share and offer food and merchandise FREE to their neighbors..

Been to a 'Trade-Date' lately?

Finally, one last suggestion.. If and when neighborhood camaraderie is finally achieved, plan 'private' neighborhood monthly or bi-monthly trade dates, wherein each neighbor gives, and each neighbor gets.. no money involved. Swap clothing, household items, toys, fashion accessories, tools, recipes, food, etc..anything you might previously have put in a yard sale. It can be as simple and quick as a one hour meeting, or as elaborate as a weekend event..

I hope that this information, or at least some of it, has been helpful.. and if so, pass it along to your neighbor. We need each other more than ever!


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