The Great Depression Diary Entries (What Was Life Like?)

All of the latest crazy antics in the stock market and cryptocurrency sectors has me thinking we're possibly near the top of the current market cycle. If you need a refresher research Gamestop stock or Dogecoin to see what headlines come up.

Oh yeah, and with public and household debt at crazy high, will we see a debt jubilee?

While I can't predict the future, I like reading and listening to historical accounts. The 1930s Great Depression has been a topic on my mind lately.

One podcast I listen to recently mentioned a book titled The Great Depression: A Diary by Benjamin Roth. This book is a firsthand account of what happened in the cities during the Depression. It gives a different perspective than what you might see in Hollywood films or classic tv series like The Waltons.

Now, I haven't read Mr. Roth's book due to time time constraints. Also, a paperback copy is currently selling on Amazon for $543.50 but the Kindle version is only $10.

Thankfully, I have found an abridged audiobook version where Neil McCoy-Ward reads select passages. He currently has three YouTube videos for your listening pleasure.

I encourage you to listen to them and share your thoughts of how there are many similarities to today's “Roaring 20s” and his account might be different than the abbreviated version that the history books recount.

The Great Depression Diaries: Part 1

The Great Depression Diaries: Part 2

The Great Depression Diaries: Part 3

My Thoughts

I don't know about you, but some of these diary entries were eye-opening. As a real estate investor, the rapid rise in home prices pre-Great Depression was a surprise.

What do we do if a “Greater Depression” happens?

Well, my family does its best to live on a small income by avoiding debt and unnecessary spending. As times have been good, our discretionary spending has increased some over the past few years.

We've been relearning to keep spending to a minimum in the following ways:

  • Avoid pricey packaged food
  • Exercising at home instead of paying to use a gym
  • Going to restaurants and ice cream parlors less frequently
  • Pay cash (or debit) when possible
  • Automating savings
  • Buy used items or repair broken items when possible.

The past year (2020) has been good practice for refining our money and social habits. I'm not trying to be a doomsayer here, but my family got complacent and the rapid change of events in March 2020 made us re-think our life priorities.

These habits may not necessarily “recession-proof” our finances, but it gets us into a mindset of being content with less. Happy times are here but will they last?

What do you think about the Great Depression diaries? Are you doing anything to prepare for an economic surprise? Share your thoughts with a comment below.

Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.