The 1950's Were So Much Better...Right?
People really had it good in the 50’s didn’t they? In fact, a man with a simple blue collar job could earn more than enough to buy a home, care for his family, and still retire with dignity. I think I’ve heard this about a thousand times and it has me wondering, what really made things so great back then?
Of course there are millions of variables between life today and in the 50’s, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest difference is simply the choices we make and the lifestyles we choose to live. If we chose to live the lifestyle we lived in the 50’s, wouldn’t things be much better for us now? Here are 5 simple differences that are making today tougher than the 1950’s:
This is a picture of my grandparents about 60 years ago.
In 1955 about half of households had a television (yeah only one) and they could watch a few channels that they got for free over the air. Today the average household has more TVs than people with hundreds of channels that they pay to watch. The typical American watches TV for 34 hours a week. The average monthly cable bill is $90/mo plus a family spends about $975 on sound equipment, video game systems, DVD players, or new TVs. That’s a total of $2,055 per year.
2. Eating Out
In the 1950’s dining out was fairly rare and most meals were prepared at home. Going to a restaurant or even grabbing a burger and fries was a special occasion. Americans today typically get 4-5 meals from a restaurant or take-out every week. On average, a family spends $2,505 per year on eating out.
3. Cell Phones
What’s a cell phone? They just weren't around back then. Still virtually everyone today has one and the average household spends $139/mo or $1,688 per year to stay connected. Of course if you need an iphone it’s a lot more than that and double it if you’re arming your kids with cells.
The 1950’s was really the start of the Automobile revolution. Back then 90% of families had only one car. The family car as it was known. Today 65% of households have AT LEAST 2 cars! Not to mention the millions of extra high tech features jammed into today's cars.The average cost of owning and operating that extra car is $9,122 per year according to AAA.
Of course I saved the biggest and best for last! In 1950, the average family spent about 22% of its income on housing. In 2012, the average family spent about 43% of its income on housing, nearly double. The average home in 1950 was a cozy 983 square feet., today the average home is a cozy 2,438 square feet, more than double. That additional space costs roughly an extra $1100/mo or $13,200 per year.
Amazingly that’s an additional $28,750 every single year that we spend on things we never had or needed in the 1950’s. Wow! That’s just the five I could think of and I know there are a million more. So much of what we consider necessities today were considered luxuries in the past. Would it be too much to ask to just start living a little simpler? Please share your suggestions!