My, how things have changed! Inflation has made quite a difference in the 30+ years of my existence.
For my birthday, my parents sent, among other things, a “Remember When” booklet that shares insights and information about my birth year. I discovered that Heath Ledger, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Claire Danes, and Brandy were all born in the same year.
There were some fun ads for things like VCRs, and my little geek heart beat faster at the thought that Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released that year (too bad the movie is so boring).
There was also a cool page detailing the cost of living for my birth year.
Inflation since my birth year
So let's take a look at some of the big differences.
I thought it was interesting to compare my own costs now to what they would have been had I been at this point in my life during the year of my birth. A house? You can only get a house that cheap now if you are buying a foreclosure—and it probably needs a lot of work to make it happen.
When I bought my new car two years ago, it cost way more than a new car in 1979. And movie tickets aren't even that cheap at the cheap theater! And we all know that we'll never see gas at 86 cents a gallon again.
Of course, on the other hand, I also make quite a bit more than the $17,533.00 per year that was the average income. Today, the median household income (which is not the same as the average, I know, so it's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but it's my birthday, so I'm just finding things quick and dirty) is $51,017. And, even though income as adjusted for inflation hasn't really done a great job of keeping pace—at least for those at the lower end of the income scale, chances are that you probably make more than $17,500 a year.
Food inflation: WOW
Food is another area that has seen inflation as well. I'm looking at the list, and my husband could easily have done our food shopping for the week for less than $20. And that's with buying the expensive stuff.
I'm not sure I'd want to live then, though. Being born that year is fine, but I am really quite fond of all the technology I have right now. If I had reached my mid-30s in the year of my birth, I'd likely be stuck at home, without a cool job as a writer, with fewer opportunities than I enjoy now. My life includes a great deal of flexibility, and I am fortunate, even with the “problems” I have, that my income has kept pace with inflation and that I have the opportunities I do.
It is kind of depressing to see the effects of inflation, and see that things do cost more now, but at the same time, many of us have higher incomes, so we can handle it. What's hard is dealing with it if your income hasn't kept pace or if you have experienced a major financial setback.
What do you think? How have things changed in price since you were born? What is your favorite thing about being alive in this time period??