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Inflation in your lifetime

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feotakahari Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
Mar 21st 2011 at 2:48:45 AM

Hello there, esteemed elders. I won't stay long, and I'll be polite—I just had a question. You see, I grew up in the '90s, but I've read a lot of books from earlier generations, and one thing they mention a lot is that you're rich if you "make six figures," that is to say, you have a yearly salary in dollars that is six digits long. I understand that inflation has been pretty high since then, but I was still shocked to discover that my father currently makes six figures, since he constantly struggles to make ends meet and probably will never have enough money to retire. I wanted to ask, when did the shift occur, and was it gradual or sudden?

That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Mar 21st 2011 at 8:13:54 AM

Well, when I was fresh out of college, minimum wage was $2.90. The growth was generally gradual, with some biggish jumps.

But you have to keep in mind that a six-figure income means making over $100,000 a year — that's still quite good, considering only about 15% of households hit that mark. I live fairly comfortably on about a quarter of that.

edited 21st Mar '11 8:14:58 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
blackcat Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Mar 21st 2011 at 9:48:59 AM

My first job was detasseling seed corn and I made $1.15 an hour. Then I worked at a grocery for $1.70 an hour. Gas was 25 cents a gallon. Cigarettes were 50 cents a pack.

We never go any where without our swords and boas.
ImipolexG frozen in time from all our yesterdays
frozen in time
Mar 21st 2011 at 10:15:36 AM

Sometimes I like to punch stuff into The Inflation Calculator just for amusement.

Also, what Madrugada said. Most people don't make anywhere near six figures; it's quite possible to make it on far less.

no one will notice that I changed this
Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Mar 21st 2011 at 10:50:46 AM

I recall my father being upset when cigarettes jumped to 35 cents a pack from 25. That was sometime in the early or mid 60's. I was upset when gas first broke a dollar a gallon; that was in the late 70's.

My first job was at a diner; minimum wage at the time was 1.60 an hour, but I was a tipped employee — I was paid about 35 cents an hour, plus my tips. Average meal cost was between a dollar and a half and three dollars, average tip was 15 to 25 cents. I averaged around 5 dollars for a three-hour after-school shift; around 15 dollars on Saturday for 8 hours.

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
formerly Lady Justice
Mar 21st 2011 at 11:42:14 AM

I remember when a pack of chewing gum was 10p. Any candy that has remained the same price since I was a child has become smaller in size over time too, to account for inflation.

"There's more evil in the charts then an Al-Qaida suggestion box" - Bill Bailey
CodyTheHeadlessBoy The Great One from Parts Unknown Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
The Great One
Mar 22nd 2011 at 11:05:24 AM

I grew up in the 90s too. The thing I've noticed is a lot of it depends on where you live. Like someone who makes 50,000 dollars in one area could be making 100,000 in another for the same exact job. Sounds good doesn't it? On the surface yes. The problem is the guy or gal making 100,000 dollars a year probably has to pay more for stuff than the one making 50,000.

"If everybody is thinking alike, somebody isn't thinking"- George S. Patton
Morven Nemesis from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
Mar 22nd 2011 at 1:53:16 PM

Yes. I have a six-figure income. But I live in Los Angeles and that income is currently supporting three adults (and semi a fourth). So I don't feel well off in the slightest — though things could be so, so much worse.

A brighter future for a darker age.
pvtnum11 OMG NO NOSECONES from Kerbin low orbit Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
OMG NO NOSECONES
Mar 22nd 2011 at 4:25:36 PM

Phone calls were a quarter, stamps were also a quarter.

I recall gas still being less than a dollar, and that was mini-serve. Cheap cans of soda could be had for a quarter, regular ones for fifty cents. Candy bars all cost fifty cents.

School hot lunches were eighty cents (full price - the poor kids paid far less) and breakfast cost twenty-five cents.

Penny candies that didn't suck - run to the store with a few empty soda cans and you'd have a stash of sweets.

I recall ramen nboodles costing only ten cents a pack, SPAM for a dollar a can.

Happiness is zero-gee with a sinus cold.
drunkscriblerian Street Writing Man from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
Mar 22nd 2011 at 6:45:37 PM

I can't equal the massive changes of blackcat or Maddie, but when I was a kid...

  • Cigs were about $1.25 a pack for the cheap, $2 for the good ones. When I started smoking, this was what we paid. Back in those days, you could still smoke at 16 legally (you couldn't buy, but your parents could buy for you) and my high school had a sanctioned smoke-hole (it closed the year before I showed up).
  • Oh, and you could still smoke in a goddamned restaurant. I remember cutting class to hang out at Denny's; we'd buy coffee, smoke squares and solve the world's problems. A cup of coffee was $1.20, and it was bottomless.
  • Gas was 85 cents a gallon at the cheapest, $1.30 at the most.
  • Minimum wage was, if memory serves, $4.60 when I got my first job. I was paid $5 and happy to make it.
  • You could still get candy bars for a quarter. Granted, they were generic, but they were candy bars. For a quarter. You can't get a freakin' Swedish Fish single for that these days.
  • People actually bought cassette tapes, and they could be had dirt-ass cheap because everyone was switching to C Ds; my car had a tape deck, so I hit the bargain bin and had fun. Of course, some asshole jacked my tape case so for the longest time all I had in my car was Sisters of Mercy's Floodland, Jimmy Buffett's Songs You Know By Heart and Metallica's "black album".

If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed. ~Cora M. Strayer~
boobustuber sells apples and apple accessories from A land of potatoes
sells apples and apple accessories
Mar 24th 2011 at 10:06:25 PM

Mall rides were a quarter when I was a kid, and are at least a dollar now. Plus they're a lot rarer.

DrunkGirlfriend from Castle Geekhaven
Mar 24th 2011 at 10:16:24 PM

I remember gas being under a dollar, and being able to buy a pack of gum for a quarter as a kid.

"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
Yuanchosaan antic disposition from Australia
antic disposition
Mar 24th 2011 at 10:59:40 PM

^^I'd almost forgotten about them. Can't remember the last time I saw one.

"Doctor Who means never having to say you're kidding." - Bocaj
Apr 1st 2011 at 9:56:41 PM

A bus ride in my area was a dollar when I was a kid, now it's $2.25. Still cheaper than gas I suppose.

RalphCrown Short Hair from Next Door to Nowhere
Short Hair
Apr 14th 2011 at 10:49:15 AM

A comic book was 10 cents. Gas was around 28 cents a gallon. A bottle of Coke was 10 cents, 5 if you had an empty. Coke had real sugar in it too, dang it. A hamburger was around 25 cents. For a dollar you could spend Saturday at the movies, eat and drink your fill, and have some left over.

What I remember best is that, when you bought something, you felt like you were dealing with human beings. You didn't worry about getting short-changed or stiffed, and if you were, you went back to the shop and they made it right. The American Dream was alive and well.

Under World. It rocks!
Nonapod probably drunk again
probably drunk again
Apr 14th 2011 at 1:00:26 PM

When I was a teenager seeing a first run movie in a big theater was like $5.50 for a night show and $3.50 for a matinée, but at the local flea pit it was $2.50 all day. I remember going to the mall with $10, seeing The Abyss and still having change to buy some candy and play a few arcade games in the lobby. A couple weeks back I spent $17.50 for 1 ticket to an IMAX plus another $3.75 for a thing of Twizzlers.

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