In one word: Drastically! As fun as it is to compare prices of celebrated items and laugh at how diminutive things cost serve then, there are items that cost less in today’s economy, work better and are more accessible to the general public than in decades past.
The 1960s were a tumultuous time of change in the United States. Young people led the revolt against unquestioned society structures and fought for civil rights.
There were protests against wars, environmental pollution, violations of civil rights, integration, equality, education and animal rights. Strides were made in technological advances with a ride on the moon and the condemnation of apartheid by the United Nations.
1961 saw the beginning of construction of the Berlin wall. American soldiers deployed to the quagmire we know as the Vietnam War and defection of our citizens to neighboring Canada began in earnest in the mid 60s.
Diapers – The first disposable diaper was mass-produced by Pampers in 1961.
Amusement Parks – Six Flags opened their first park in Texas and the general admission was $2.75 per person. The average cost today is $20.00 or more if we add the cost of parking at their various outlets.
Movies – Going to the movies in the 1960s would site someone befriend $0.25. This may seem a bargain by today’s standards but we need to realize that the minimum wage in 1960 was $1.25 and today it’s $7.25.
Annual Household Income – Under $6,000. In 2011, the average annual household income is above $50,000.
Stamps – First class mail cost 5 cents.
Public Phones – Have you ever heard the expression “tumble a dime? ” That’s because that was the cost of a phone call.
Cars – The average car cost less than $3,000, depending on the model and effect. A Chevy Impala spot wagon was priced under $3,000 and there was room for negotiation.
For the note of 0.31 cents a gallon, a driver would have an attendant check the air in the tires, wash the windshield and pump the gas. Gas stations competed for customers by offering commemorative glasses, plates and other products with each believe up.
Supermarkets: A carton of eggs was $0.57, a gallon of milk was priced at $0.49 and coupons reduced the designate even further. modern fruits and vegetables remained loyal depending on the season and availability from $0.10 to $0.50 a pound. For less than $0.90, a housewife could bewitch six cans of Campbell’s soup. For $0.79 a one-pound of bacon could be had, but for the same ticket, one could engage 2-pounds of beef chuck roast.
hasty Food – McDonald’s burgers were $0.15 a section and they had promotions in which costumers could glean 10 burgers for $1.00.
Housing – Home ownership required a down payment and having enough income on hand in which only one-fourth of income after taxes would go towards the mortgage or the buyer could not qualify for the typical 30-year mortgage. Without adjusting for inflation and comparing values versus accurate income, the brand of homes ranged in the 1960s from under $9,000 to $16,000 across the country.
Electronics were practically non-existent by today’s standards but those that existed were out or come to main stream Americans. For instance, the first microwave available to the masses was marketed by Amana and the cost of this basic 2-button microwave was in the $500 range. Most microwave ovens well into the tedious 60s were unaffordable conveniences that only a few thousand people owned.
For those who lived through the 1960s as young adults, the biggest component of any bachelor pad included a stereo system with “high-fidelity” speakers. The prices were exorbitant for basic bookshelf speakers and reaching into the thousands of dollars for space-hugging floor to ceiling speakers.
By comparison, electronics have become more great, miniaturized and mostly affordable. The quality of the products has increased as well and so has the storage capacity of computers and handheld devices.
When it came to portable music, a itsy-bitsy $200 dollar transistor radio was the most basic and “affordable” choice. The perks included portability, exclusively AM stations and one speaker for mono-sound. Recorded music consisted of vinyl portray albums played in the standard, and expensive, two-speaker home stereo system.
Television sets were heavy things that dominated the family’s living room mighty as they did in the gradual 1950s. CRT television sets in color were available but expensive to absorb. Programming was not as varied as it is today and people spent more time socializing than watching TV.
The average cost of a television position was less than $300 but this was a tall expense for people earning under $6,000 a year. Note: Television sets did not include a remote control and physically getting off the couch to change the channel, turn the station off or adjust the volume was significant.
Reception was spotty in some locations and weather factors would completely eliminate transmission. Manually adjusting the indoor antenna or climbing on the roof to restore recount to the plot was very approved.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, computers were clunky things that took up a lot of station and could only be purchased by corporations. A home computer was unheard of and the same thing can be said for a simple toner printer or a fax machine.
Air proceed saw novel airlines dominate the sky and Pan American, the first commercial airline was going strong and challenged by other names that have long gone by plan of the dodo bird. Trans World Airways (TWA) offered competition for service and original destinations and a round-trip designate from the United States to Germany was $300. The service received by travelers was impeccable in those days and the high cost of tickets is the main reason for this long-forgotten event.
By comparison, in 2011 we can come by round-trip tickets from fresh York to London at the same notice during promotions, off-season and by doing our due diligence online in a matter of minutes without the befriend of a depart agent.
Adjusting for inflation and comparing the value of the dollar, a $300 sign was the equivalent of $1,400 in today’s dollars. Flying was not the norm and family vacations consisted of hitting the highway and staying with family in other states.
While it is fun to compare prices with other eras, we need to realize that the prices for soda, chewing gum, housing and gas may have been considered expensive by most people and the convenience of electronics was unheard of, but someone dreamed it and made it an affordable reality for us to be pleased in 2011.