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The Cost Of Living…In 1972.

My mom just sent me this little book called “Remember When” and it has all sorts of info about the year I was born. (They make them for every year) In looking through it, I came across a page titled “Cost Of Living” and was amazed at how much average prices have changed in 37 years, and figured you guys would get a kick out of it too. Let’s take a look…

New House – $27,600

Average Income – $11,859 per year

New Car – $3,853

Average Rent – $165 per month

Tuition to Harvard University – $2,800

Movie Ticket – $1.75

Gasoline – $.55 per gallon

Postage Stamp – $.08

Bacon – $.83 per pound

Eggs – $.45 per dozen

Fresh Ground Hamburger – $.64 per pound

Milk – $1.20 per gallon

If you ever come across one of these books for your birth year, I recommend you check it out. There is some pretty interesting information in them!

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Comments (9)

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  1. My parents bought their house in 1975 and paid about that amount.

    I was born in 1973 and have seen my birth year book. I like to listen to the stories my parents talk about, which were from about that time.

  2. JoeTaxpayer says:

    I like this stuff as well. I hoped to see median income for the same year, that would help put things in perspective.

  3. David says:

    They did have the average – Average Income ““ $11,859 per year

  4. suj'n says:

    Looks like most things have gone up 5-10% since 1972, with housing and education the highest increase. It’s amazing to think that the average house cost only 2.3x the average salary. The ratio now using Dec 2008 median house price and 2008 median income = 3.7x.

    Food prices relatively low increase. Subsidies?

  5. JoeTaxpayer says:

    I’m blind, I guess, sorry. So income is up about 4X, that lets you see what increased faster or less than, income. Good post.

  6. suj'n says:

    Egads, I didn’t mean 5-10%; I meant 5-10x. Big difference, hmph!

  7. suj'n says:

    Egads, I mistyped. I meant 5-10x, not 5-10%. Big difference!

  8. [...] of Living in 1972 By Hazzard David over at My Two Dollars has a great post talking about the value of items in 1972. It’s always shocking to me to see [...]

  9. JoeTaxpayer says:

    Just saw this tweeted again.
    http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi shows that from 1972 to 2009 inflation was in fact just over 5X, $1000 item then would cost $5071 now. Interesting to look again and see what went up 5X and what lagged.
    Housing? 1972 fixed rate was near 7.5%. Now 5% or so.
    1970 new home size 1500 sq ft.
    2005 new home size 2400 sq ft.

    So that $27,600 should adjust for size to $44,160. That puts a bit of a different spin on this, I’d say.

    It’s amazing to consider that when you add the two factors, a virtually steady decline in rates from 1981 to now, along with the steady increase in home size, and then normalize by choosing to adjust by an inflation factor or by an “hours of work needed to pay the mortgage” home prices barely changed over thirty years.

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