About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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Home budget 1932 and 2023

January 4, 2023

If you are new to this blog, we have just started a History Study of the Great Depression.  You can join in at any time or read along. My husband Charles and I have been doing history studies for years and living more like the past because we feel that it makes sense.  My blog is not just about this study but living a simple life and how to do things the old way.

It has been quite a flurry inside our home this week with the new 1930s study started.  The new study will settle when we get all of our ducks in a row so to speak. Anyone can do this study of learning all we can about the home in 1930s and learn about how the great depression affected the family and home life.

The first part of the study is about learning what it was like back then. The diaries will give us a peek. Some people say there were very modern things but just because it was invented does not mean it was on the market.  Also just because it was on the market did not mean that it was in their home. The average people lived a simple way during the 1920s and 1930s. 44% of the folks in the United States lived rural in 1930.  Only 10 percent of rural folks had electricity available to their area.  I can tell you of my family that still did not have electricity in 1960. 

We have a huge contrast during this time from the wealthy and the destitute. 

We are looking for average in this study to find our generations before us that made it through the great depression and on into the second world war even stronger than they were before and became known as the Greatest Generation. 

We had to do price conversions but before we did conversions we had to know what we were converting.

Charles started drawing out budget drafts while I was working on diaries and household routine, which at the moment I do not have a new routine but I will.

And we had to know what we needed to record and journal to pull it all together so we can understand what it was like in the 1930s. 

I started researching our local 1932 newspapers, I even emailed our city for help.  I went through my book that holds my special information that I have purchased through the years.  Old diaries, old electric bills, telephone bills, and such as that.  Finding one that was the correct year was possible because two years ago, almost three  years ago I was going to do a study of the great depression so I do have hard evidence of the actual bills.  Much of the research I cannot show pictures because of copywrite laws and privacy for the person. 

I am very serious about my research and I do not give up easily.

During the 1930s many people still had the ice refrigerators which had no electricity and were cooled with ice blocks. 

This is an ice coupon book, I also have some ice stamps from the 1940s but we are doing the 1930s. 

This is what ice stamps looked like.  There were ice routes and people would purchase Ice booklets and so the route man did not have to handle money people paid him with their ice stamps.  

This is a home expense journal from 1932. 

There were almost daily entries for this family. Each time I touch this book little tiny pieces of paper fall off due to age.

Here we see where they purchased a radio in 1932.  The next month they had a entry for a charge of radio connection $1.00.  Radios brought tragedy many times during this era because electricity and wiring was very dangerous during this time. People hooking up a connection improperly so they could run their radio and such as that.  

There were other expenses besides the purchase of the Radio, Kresses for Radio which I do not know what Kresses are.  Automobiles also were much different and flipping cars and car repairs were frequent.  Here Battery recharge was most likely the car battery because batteries did not seem to last as long. But it could have been something else.  Throughout my other diaries, for city folks they were constantly on the run and constantly breaking down.

This same 1932 journal they would tally the end of each month, expenses and income. 

Diaries, journals and budget books were kept by many people in the past. I see a trend today of people not knowing where their money is going.

This above says, the cost of KWH in 1932  where we live was .0487

The cost of KWH in 2023 here we live is .0871 Under that Charles is just saying cost, used/day

So here above is one of our journals for this study.  We are keeping up with cost then and now. Sunday January 1, 2023, we used 18 KWH. Kilowatt hours that day. In 1932, using 18 KWH would have cost, .88 cents so this is an absolutely too high amount.  In real time today that has cost us $2.11

I will list prices at the bottom of this post.

Monday we used another 18 KWH and yesterday, Tuesday January 3, we used 9 KWH.  Wahoo! but still high for 1932.  I am not even sure how I got it as low as I did considering we are all electric at our house.  Yesterday I unplugged everything in the house and only plugged in what I was using and it was soup day yesterday from making soup from the chicken and vegetables  earlier this week.  I am thinking I need to unplug everything that is not a necessary thing such as the refrigerator to figure out what is using so much electricity. Charles thinks it is anything that has a light in it. Because of storms yesterday I unplugged our heating/airconditioning plugs due to lightening and just left them off. 

I found the cost for KWH by researching in the1932 newspaper microfilms.  If you cannot find it in your research you could use ours for your example.  Our KWH/ Killowatt Hours was .0487 which was about  five cents per kilowatt.  However the figure .0487 is what needs to be used for the math or it will come out different.  It would be best if you could find the 1932 cost in your area but if not use ours or average cost found on some internet information.

We are cutting back any way we can.  This is Charles stash by the back door before he left for work.  He has water to drink for the day, soup in the thermos, some tea in the tall thermos.  The sack has some satsumas, similar to tangerines. 

When people did not have money during the great depression they did not spend money on anything but what they had to spend. My mother talked about she would eat a cold biscuit for lunch at school.

We had chicken and rice and mixed vegetables on Monday from the chicken I boiled on Sunday for Sunday's meal.

I made oatmeal with dried apricots that I have stored in jars. We added a little butter and cream on top.

Charles is writing in his diary during breakfast, we have notebooks and journals all over the place with research work and diaries because we are working on a way to find our routine.

The clothesline in the back guest chamber still has laundry hanging from Monday's wash and I am actually okay with that.  I am having to use my washer for the heavy items because I do not have the outside wash area set up for winter washing but we will.  I am keeping up with what it is costing me to wash and we we are going to do a little notebook for washing. I am thinking about writing down the items I wash each time I do laundry to see if I can find a way to decrease laundry. I will keep a notebook and jot down the items that go into the wash.  This would be great to figure out your children's laundry. :)  Or my bad habit of using too many kitchen cloths. I will absolutely work on this.

This is only the fourth day so it will take time.  The soup has some added turnip root which made it very tasty.

Here are some figures we are using at this time from our research.

Newspaper cost .03 cents  (three cents).

Gasoline average was sixteen and one half cents per gallon.  There were price wars that bounced all over the place from ten point seven cents to twenty three cents but average was .16 & half cents per gallon but each article that I read that said it went back to average that was, sixteen and one half cents per gallon. 

Kilowatts for our area was .0487 for each Kilowatt and for now, and this real time of 2023  kilowatts cost .0871 Per Kilowatt. 

Our pay is based on a bakery wage $30.42 per week.  If we convert that amount to this year of 2023, it would be $661.71 per week.  This is not what Charles makes in real life, this is what 1932 pay would be in todays time. We will be journaling our pay but will keep that private. I do have an article from during 1931 that says the National average pay was just under $30.00 per week. Annual pay would have been $1,513.29 and out of that the average annual food cost was $548.51

Average rent was $28.51 in the United States but in some parts of the country $18.00 per month so we can say depending on where we live and knowing our area it is somewhere between $18.00 and  $28.51 per month. There would have been other places found, rooms to rent and apartment above houses. 

In 1966 we rented a small house for $35.00 a month. 

Insurance accounts for $43.28 out of an average family annual income in 1931.

A new automobile cost around $500.00

I posted the latter part of December some grocery prices and household items prices. 

In our local paper January 1932 it states that Nearly a thousand gallons of water was used on the average by persons supplied with city water last month.  They estimated on the basis of the 13,853,500 gallons put into the mains. 

In 1932, average monthly telephone cost $2.00 and then there were long distance and telegraph/telegram charges added to that bill if there were any of those charges. What I have seen so far is a .50 cent charge added for this. 

If you are stumped on a study question, please ask in the forum so everyone can see the answer. Some people with information are helping others that do not..  I can look through my available research papers, books, journals and diaries. Make sure to go back to the latter December posts to make sure I have not already covered your question.  If you are not in the forum, you can email me.

Charles is enjoying his new truck Benny. His old ford ranger in todays time has taken the name Benny. 

For the study I chose a blue floral dress that is similar to a dress Charles Great grandmother wore in the 1930s / 40's era. The picture is framed and hanging on the wall. I will possibly make another similar. I am wearing an apron over it and removing the apron when I am not cooking or cleaning. This morning at the breakfast table, Charles looked up at me with a contemplating look and said, you look "formidably".  I said, "I do"?  Charles said, "Don't mess with a woman in a dress".  I guess the stress from the 1930s is already showing. Lol.  Either I look like his Great Grandmother this morning, with my dress on, which I could because I am older now and she was not quite as old as I in that picture. 
I took it with good humor and he had a good laugh as he was walking around the house repeating, "Don't mess with a woman in a dress" and laughing. 

Now that you are starting to either settle in or freak out, I hope this helps you to get your books in order so we can all save money by the end of this study.

Anyone can just read along this study or participate partially or fully.  Many good conversations going on in the forum which is simply by signing up, no charge for anything just need simple information to keep us safe from spammers. As the study moves forward my posts will change to more picture posts and shorter as they were. 

The forum is found at the main page, top bar, it says forum.  Click there and it will take you to the forum which is just a comment section that allows people to comment, post pictures and get to meet others with same interests.

For those that do not want to do the comparison math from then and now, I recommend setting up a detailed budget/journal to keep track of all of your expenses and anytime you save money put it in a great depression fund to see how much money you have saved by the end of the year. 

I am linking a helpful site that shows average water use per household for each state in the United States.  


I hope this information helps to move forward so we can move forward again for the next step and so on.  Grandma Donna

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