How Did They Make Money During The Great Depression?

Virginia Ramirez 31 July 2023

The Great Depression was a time of immense economic hardship but also a period of incredible resilience and innovation. Despite the challenges, many individuals and businesses survived and thrived during this difficult era. This article will explore some of the strategies people used to make money during the Great Depression.

One of the most common approaches was to start a small business or venture. Many people who lost their jobs turned to entrepreneurship to support themselves and their families. From selling homemade goods to providing services like haircuts or repairs, these small businesses often filled gaps in the market and met their communities needs.

Another way that people made money during the Great Depression was by investing in stocks or real estate. While this may seem counterintuitive given the economic downturn, some investors were able to identify undervalued assets that would eventually increase in value once the economy rebounded. Of course, this approach also carried significant risks and required careful research and analysis.

some individuals and businesses could use government programs and initiatives. For example, the New Deal introduced several policies to stimulate the economy and create jobs. By participating in these programs or securing government contracts, some entrepreneurs were able to build successful businesses even during the depths of the Depression.

Making money during the Great Depression required creativity, resourcefulness, and a willingness to take risks. It was not an easy feat, and only some wereld succeed financially. However, those who did often found themselves in a better position once the economy began to recover. The lessons learned during this challenging time continue to inspire entrepreneurs and investors today.

Who Prospered During the Great Depression?

The Great Depression was a time of immense struggle for many, as businesses and industries suffered greatly. But did you know that there were some individuals and groups who actually prospered during this time? Let’s look at who they were and how they made their money.

First up, Hollywood. People sought to escape their everyday struggles and turned to movies as entertainment. This led to a surge in movie attendance and profits for studios. So, while many struggled to make ends meet, the entertainment industry was booming.

Another industry that saw growth during the Great Depression was the automobile industry. While people may not have been able to afford luxury cars, they still needed transportation. Companies like Ford were able to offer affordable options, leading to continued growth.

But it wasn’t just industries that prospered. Some wealthy individuals were able to take advantage of the economic downturn by investing in stocks and real estate at low prices. This allowed them to accumulate even more wealth.

And let’s remember government programs like the New Deal. While not everyone benefited equally from these programs, certain groups, such as farmers and construction workers, were provided job opportunities and financial aid.

So, while the Great Depression was undoubtedly a difficult time for many, there were still those who could prosper through various means. It’s important to remember that there is always potential for growth and opportunity, even in times of hardship.

Creative Ways People Earned Money During the Great Depression

The Great Depression was a time of immense hardship for many people, but it also brought out the creativity and resilience of individuals determined to survive. During this time, people had to get creative to earn money and put food on the table. Let’s look at the unique ways people made a living during the Great Depression.

One common way that people made money during the Great Depression was by taking on odd jobs. This could include selling homemade goods such as baked goods or crafts, doing laundry for others, or even providing childcare services. While these jobs may not have paid much, they allowed people to earn a little money to help make ends meet.

Others took more unconventional routes to earn money. Some people sold their hair or blood to medical facilities to make extra cash. And then there were the “hobos” – individuals who traveled across the country searching for work, often hopping on trains and taking odd jobs along the way.

For those willing to take risks, illegal activities such as bootlegging and gambling existed. While these activities were not legal, they provided a source of income for some individuals struggling to make ends meet.

Many families also turned to growing their own food and raising livestock to save money on groceries. This allowed them to feed themselves without spending money at the grocery store.

In the entertainment industry, some individuals found success despite the economic downturn. Musicians and performers could find work in vaudeville shows or on the radio, providing an escape for people looking for a bit of entertainment during difficult times.

Women often took on sewing or cleaning jobs for wealthier families, while men worked in the construction or manual labor. These jobs may not have been glamorous, but they provided a steady source of income for those willing to work hard.

the Great Depression forced people to think outside the box and find innovative ways to earn a living. While the economic downturn was undoubtedly a difficult time, it also brought out the best in people who were determined to survive and thrive despite their challenges.

Unique Skills that Helped People Survive The Great Depression

During the Great Depression, people had to get creative to survive. They developed unique skills that helped them put food on the table and earn money. Let’s look at some of these skills and how they were used in real-life scenarios.

Gardening was a popular skill during the Great Depression. Many families grew their own fruits and vegetables to save money on groceries. For example, my great-grandparents had a small garden in their backyard where they grew tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. They also learned how to can and preserve their harvests for the winter months. This allowed them to have fresh produce all year round without having to buy expensive canned goods.

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Sewing was another critical skill during the Great Depression. Clothing was expensive, so people learned how to mend and alter their clothes to make them last longer. My grandmother was an expert seamstress and could fix anything from a tear in a shirt to a hole in a pair of pants. She even made her own clothes from scratch, which saved her family a lot of money.

Bartering was a common practice during the Great Depression. With money being scarce, people often traded goods and services with each other instead. For example, my grandfather was a carpenter and usually changed his services for food or other necessities. He once sold a new bookcase for a side of beef from a local farmer.

Cooking from scratch was essential during the Great Depression. Instead of buying pre-packaged or processed foods, people learned to cook meals from scratch using critical ingredients. My great-aunt was known for her delicious homemade bread and often traded loaves for other items she needed.

Fixing things was also crucial during the Great Depression. Instead of throwing broken items away, people learned how to fix them themselves or found someone who could do it. My great-uncle was an expert at fixing radios and often traded his services for other items he needed.

the Great Depression forced people to become more self-sufficient and develop skills they may not have otherwise learned. These skills were essential for survival when resources and money were scarce. Today, we can learn from their resourcefulness and use these skills to save money and be more self-sufficient in our own lives.

Unconventional Money-Making Ideas of the 1930s

The Great Depression was a time of struggle and hardship for many people. With jobs scarce and money tight, people had to get creative to make ends meet. This article will explore unconventional money-making ideas from the 1930s that helped people put food on the table and earn a little extra cash.

One popular idea was the “cottage industry.” This involved making homemade goods such as jam, pickles, and baked goods and selling them door-to-door. It allowed people to work from home and sell their products directly to customers. Not only did this provide a source of income, but it also helped build community and fostered a sense of pride in one’s work.

Another idea was participating in “chain letters.” While this may sound like a scam, it was a legitimate way to earn money. The idea was that you would send a small amount of money to several people on a list, then add your name to the bottom and send it out to others. Eventually, enough people would participate and send money that everyone on the list would receive a large payout. Of course, this relied on the trust and participation of others, so it was only sometimes successful.

For those willing to risk, “gold-digging” was another option. This involved searching for gold or other valuable minerals in streams or mines. While it was often unsuccessful, some lucky individuals struck it rich.

Others turned to odd jobs such as mowing lawns or running errands for neighbors. While these jobs may not have paid much, they provided an opportunity to earn a little extra cash without having a traditional job.

some people turned to gamble as a way to make money. This included playing card games like poker or betting on horse races. However, this was also risky, and many lost more money than they earned.

the Great Depression was a time of hardship, but it also sparked creativity and resourcefulness in people. These unconventional money-making ideas may not have been perfect, but they allowed people to survive and thrive during difficult times. Some of these ideas could be useful in our own uncertain times.

Investing in Stocks: Risky But Rewarding?

During the Great Depression, people had to get creative about making money. From selling homemade goods to working odd jobs, individuals survived and thrived during difficult times. However, investing in stocks is one unconventional way of making money that is often overlooked.

Investing in stocks has always been a popular form of investment due to its potential for high returns. But during the Great Depression, it was considered risky as there was no guarantee that the stock would perform well. Investors could lose some or all of their investments, which was a significant risk when money was scarce.

Despite the risks associated with investing in stocks, some individuals saw it as an opportunity to make money during the Great Depression. They understood that diversification was critical to mitigating risk, and they spread their investments across multiple stocks and industries. By doing so, they minimized their losses while reaping the benefits of successful acquisitions.

However, it’s important to note that investing in stocks isn’t for everyone. Before investing, it’s crucial to understand the company you’re investing in, its financial health, and its industry. Investors should also consider their risk tolerance and investment goals before putting money into stocks.

But for those willing to take the risk, investing in stocks during the Great Depression could be rewarding. Successful investments could result in significant gains and potentially long-term wealth accumulation. It’s a reminder that even during difficult times, there are opportunities for those willing to take a chance and think outside the box.

the Great Depression may have been a time of hardship, but it also sparked creativity and resourcefulness in people. Investing in stocks was one of many unconventional ways people made money during this time. While it may have been risky, it also provided an opportunity for those willing to take a chance and reap significant rewards.

Hollywood and Spirits: Profiting From Popular Culture in Hard Times

During the Great Depression, people were struggling to make ends meet and find ways to make money. However, Hollywood found a way to survive and thrive during this difficult time. By capitalizing on popular culture, Hollywood was able to provide an escape for people and make even more money in the process.

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One way Hollywood did this was through horror movies. During the Great Depression, people sought a thrilling and scary distraction from their complicated lives. Horror movies provide just that, and as a result, they have become trendy. Movies like Frankenstein and Dracula were massive hits, and studios continued to produce more horror films to satisfy the demand.

Another example of Hollywood profiting from popular culture during hard times is the popularity of musicals during World War II. With the country at war, people sought a feel-good, uplifting experience. Musicals provided just that, with catchy tunes and happy endings that allowed audiences to forget about the realities of war for a little while.

More recently, Hollywood has capitalized on the popularity of superhero movies and TV shows. These franchises have become incredibly lucrative, with fans eagerly anticipating each new installment. From the Marvel Cinematic Universe to DC Comics’ Arrowverse, these superhero stories escape reality and offer hope and inspiration.

Spirits (i.e, alcohol) have also played a role in Hollywood’s profits. Product placement and sponsorships from alcohol brands are standard in movies and TV shows, and celebrities also endorse these products. However, there are concerns about the glamorization of alcohol in popular culture, particularly regarding underage drinking and excessive consumption.

Hollywood’s ability to profit from popular culture during hard times speaks to the power of entertainment as a form of escapism and comfort for people during difficult times. Whether through horror movies or superhero stories, Hollywood has found a way to provide an escape for people when they need it most.

Paul Getty: How He Made His Fortune in Oil Stocks and Real Estate

During the Great Depression, many people struggled to make ends meet. But there were a few savvy individuals who managed to not only survive but thrive during this difficult time. One of these individuals was Paul Getty, an American industrialist, and philanthropist.

Getty was born into a wealthy family in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1892. In 1913, he inherited a small oil company from his father, which he transformed into Getty Oil Company, one of the largest oil companies in the world. But Getty didn’t stop there. He was known for his shrewd business tactics, including buying up struggling oil companies and turning them around for a profit.

Getty also had a keen eye for real estate. He invested heavily in Southern California, where he owned several hotels and mansions. In fact, his personal estate in Malibu was so extravagant that it was often referred to as the “Richest Hill on Earth.”

But despite his business success, Getty’s personal life was marked by scandal and tragedy. In 1973, his grandson J. Paul Getty III, was kidnapped and held for ransom. Getty initially refused to pay the ransom, leading to several months of a highly publicized ordeal.

Despite this setback, Getty continued to amass wealth and became one of the wealthiest men in the world at the time of his death in 1976. His legacy lives on through the Getty Foundation, which supports arts and culture organizations across the globe.

So how did Paul Getty make his fortune during such a difficult time? By being strategic and taking calculated risks. He knew when to invest and when to hold back, and he wasn’t afraid to take on struggling companies that others had given up on.

Getty’s story is a reminder that even during tough times, opportunities can be found. By staying focused and taking calculated risks, anyone can succeed – even during a depression.

Paul Getty’s success story is a testament to the power of hard work, strategic thinking, and a little luck. Despite facing personal tragedies and economic hardship, he managed to build a fortune that still impacts today’s world. So next time you’re feeling down, remember there’s always a way to turn things around – just like Paul Getty did during the Great Depression.


During the Great Depression, some individuals and groups were able to prosper despite the economic turmoil. Hollywood, wealthy investors, and the automobile industry all did well during this time, while government programs like the New Deal provided some groups job opportunities and financial aid. Despite the challenges, people got creative to earn money and put food on the table by taking on odd jobs, selling their hair or blood, growing their own food, or working in the entertainment industry.

The Great Depression was a time of immense hardship for many people, but it also brought out resourcefulness and creativity in those determined to survive. People developed unique skills such as gardening, sewing, cooking from scratch, and fixing things that helped them put food on the table and earn money. Although these unconventional money-making ideas may not have been perfect, they allowed people to survive and even thrive during difficult times. investing in stocks could be risky but also had the potential for high rewards during this period. Even during tough times like the Great Depression, opportunities can be found if one stays focused and takes calculated risks.


How did people gain money during the Great Depression?

History books often give Roosevelts New Deal much of the credit for the economic recovery from the Great Depression. Under the New Deal the government employed thousands of people and implemented a range of relief and recovery programs providing grants or loans directly to individual companies and local governments.

Who profited during Great Depression?

But not everyone lost money in the worst recession in American history. Business giants like William Boeing and Walter Chrysler actually raised their fortunes during the Great Depression.

What did people use for money during the Depression?

During the Great Depression (1930s) paper was used as an alternative to government-issued currency.

Did the Great Depression make people rich?

Few people know that the Great Depression produced the most millionaires in American history. Want to know how it happened to prevent the coming financial crisis?

Virginia Ramirez

Virginia Ramirez is a 38-year-old health professional from Missouri, United States. With years of experience working in hospitals, Virginia has become an expert in the field of healthcare. In her free time, Virginia loves to share her knowledge and passion for health by writing about health tips on her blog.

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