25 Things That Were Considered Affordable 50 Years Ago But Are Now “Luxuries”

Published 3 weeks ago

All across the world, the costs of living are soaring but incomes are not keeping up. Certain things we once used to view as basic necessities are becoming harder and harder to afford. To the point where many things seem to have evolved into luxuries that only the rich can lay claim to. 

Recently, a Reddit thread discussing the many things that were “affordable 50 years ago that now only the rich can buy”, went viral and we’ve shared some of the most popular answers below. 

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#1 Groceries.

Image source: Born-Throat-7863, Jack Sparrow / pexels

#2 Very large families, as in having 4 or more kids

Image source: SquallLeonheart14, Yan Krukau / pexels

#3 Automobiles. My first car cost me $3255. My current one cost me nearly $40,000

Image source: Forever-Retired, Antoni Shkraba / pexels

#4 Well, more than 50 years ago, but lobster. In New England It used to be used by prisons to feed inmates. Plentiful, cheap, and kinda gross, so no one else was going to eat it.

Image source: Traditional_Ad_6801, ROMAN ODINTSOV / pexels

#5 Owning a dog!

Image source: luvtolag, Pixabay / pexels

#6 Health care. Dental visits. Glasses.

Image source: deeBfree, Pavel Danilyuk / pexels

#7 Stay at home Mom with a family that has food security, social activities, and family vacations.

Image source: daHawaiianKine, Ketut Subiyanto / pexels

#8 Healthcare that covers whatever you actually need done including surgery, imaging, childbirth, etc.

Image source: Laser-Brain-Delusion, Thirdman / pexels

#9 Privacy

Image source: Dog_N_Pop, ERIKA CRISTINA / pexels

#10Reasonable living standards.

Image source: spiraldinosaur, Pixabay / pexels

Edit: apparently people aren’t able to put the original question and answer together. My point is that having reasonable living by today’s standards is something fewer people can afford compared to 50 years ago. The difference between living standards of wealthy and poor was far narrower than it is today. Sure, we didn’t have internet and fancy TVs and take away deliveries from our phones back then, but *nobody* had that, so that’s irrelevant. 50 years ago you didn’t have to be rich to own your home, to work reasonable hours, to have some leisure time. Now you simply cannot afford to even rent somewhere in some places unless you’re earning well above minimum wage.

#11 Tickets for events.

Image source: shingaladaz, anna-m. w. anna-m. w. / pexels

#12 Disney has gotten crazy expensive. Going to sports or concerts.

Image source: Urbanredneck2, Craig Adderley / pexels

#13 Everything… f*****g everything.

Image source: GimmeCRACK, Alex Green / pexels

#14 Housing, education, most high quality food, vehicles etc etc.. you can still get those things but you will die in debt

Image source: EmeraldCrows, cottonbro studio / pexels

#15 Cod in Sweden. When I grew up, it was the staple fish, the base for most traditional fish dishes and you’d eat it several times a week. With a dwindling cod population in Swedish waters, it has now gotten so expensive that I can’t remember when I last had cod.

Image source: NanderK, Kent Wang / flickr

In 1980, according to Statistics Sweden, one kilogram of cod was 15 SEK (US$1.42 with today’s FX rate). In 2024 money, that would be $5.60.

But in the stores today, one kilogram of cod will cost you $29.70 (cheapest cod at Hemköp).

(Apparently Statistics Sweden stopped tracking the price of cod in 2012, which I guess is just proof of its loss of importance as a staple food in Sweden)

#16 A house

Image source: Top-Ranger-289, Curtis Adams / pexels

#17 Chicken wings, nobody should be paying $2 per wing

Image source: utopianexile, Nadin Sh / pexels

#18 Books are so crazy expensive. I was book shopping the other day and a tiny paperback copy of I am legend was $20. I’ve had a coworker telling me to read it, saying it’s better than the movie by a lot but man. It’s a small a*s book for that price.

Image source: OstrichPaladin, George Milton / pexels

#19 College education

Image source: devmapper, Gül Işık / pexels

#20 A summer house. I know many families that have an old house on a lake that they go to in the summers. It’s been passed down for a couple generations. Nobody in the current generation could afford one but some how a family with a single income bought it 50 years ago and the man’s wife and wife and kids would spend the whole summer there and he would go up on weekends.

Image source: spidereater, Connor Danylenko / pexels

#21 University tuition.

Image source: SludgeMaiden7, Keira Burton / pexels

#22 A middle income starter home.

Image source: Blutroice, Kelly / pexels

#23 Housing, the younger generation are being forced to rent. sad to see

Image source: nickilisa, Karolina Grabowska / pexels

#24 Lego

Image source: Archivin, Arianna / flickr

#25 Uh, life. *Vaguely gestures*

Image source: Red217, Liza Summer / pexels

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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affordable, expensive, luxuries, money, social issues
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