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Prices I Remember

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  • Prices I Remember

    For some reason, couldn’t sleep last night and started thinking of various old prices I remember from way back when:

    Late 1950s – remember getting a bottle of Coca-Cola for 5¢

    Moved to Framingham, MA in 1962 – our house, as I recall my parents talking about it, cost $18,000 – and it was pretty nice.

    High school – worked at Mr Hamburg, a local Boston chain that tried to compete against McDonald’s – Hamburger, fries, Coke = 45¢ (burger 20, fries 15, coke 10) – and the Coke was 8 oz, not the monostrosities you get now, where a small is 16 oz (there was no small at Mr Hamburg – we had one size).

    I made $1.60 an hour my first year there (1967). In 1968 I got a 5¢ raise – all the way up to $1.65/hour

    Late 1960s – used to get the Boston Globe for 10¢. Sunday Globe was 25¢.

    First car – 1971 – before my junior year at Duke – my parents got it for me because I was traveling so much for golf tournaments – a Firebird, which was pretty cool – cost $3,200 – I remember when she was writing the check, my Mom looked up at me and said, “I’ve never written a check for this much before.”

    Pro golf – 1977 – 93rd on PGA Tour money list – made about $23,500 official money – last year 93rd on money list made $1,200,000. Paid my caddy $125/week + 5% of my winnings. Caddies today make way more than that per round.

    First house – 1984 – while a resident in orthopaedics at Duke - $88,000 – but the key thing was I felt like I got a deal on the mortgage because I only had to pay 12% - down from the 17-18% of the early 1980s.

    Richest I ever was – 1958 – went to YMCA every Saturday morning in Bellefonte, PA. We would stop and get a hot chocolate in the winter before my swimming and boxing lessons. I was 6-years-old. One Saturday, found a $10 bill on the sidewalk – Cokes cost me 5¢, which was all I ever bought. Felt like I had all the money in the world.

    I’m sure you guys have similar stories. Lonewolf will top us all!

  • #2
    We've had discussions like this before...but still enjoyable...

    The other prices I remember well...and finding a $10 bill in 1958...Finding a dime was a big deal in the early 60s...our big treat each night then was a 16 oz bottle of Coke....split between the 5 kids...

    And of course S&H Green Stamps...my parents would have several full books at anyone time....and yet it was such an enjoyable time...

    But the golf prizes from only 40 years ago....seem rather mind boggling...and kind of weird...like most of the salaries in Sports...

    Also my ticket for the entire 1976 Olympic Trials on the finish line 25 rows up was $36...

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    • #3
      $0.25
      Triple feature at the Kent Theater in the Bronx

      Also remember nickel sodas!
      And nickel Hershey bars (& other candy bars)

      My best car---a brand new 1965 Mustang convertible--was $3289!!

      My 1st apartment was $105 (maybe $110??)---was a studio, but had swimming pool.
      It was in the San Fernando Valley (Panorama City).

      Admission to 5 hours of GREAT live music (Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Janis, BB King, 100's of others over the years 1967-71) was from $3.00 to $4.00.
      That's right---THREE DOLLARS!!!

      Paid $7.50 (seven dollars and fifty cents!!) to see the BEATLES at the Hollywood Bowl in 1965!!
      Sat halfway back.
      I believe front rows were $12.50!!

      ADD: That "5 hrs of live music" was at the Fillmore/Fillmore West/Winterland in San Francisco!
      Last edited by aaronk; 10-07-2017, 09:47 PM.

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      • #4
        Almost forgot about S&H Green Stamps, Conor Dary - my Mom collected those things all the time

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        • #5
          First real job was summer after high school graduation; a pickle factory near downtown LA where I made 2.12 1/2/hour, worked about 50 hours a week for ten weeks, a few times running the five miles both ways.

          Found a $5 as a kid also, my primary source of wealth for a while. I remember seeing my dad's taxes one year (maybe mid-60s) and it was $5000 or so. We had six kids and a few years later I was in college along with four siblings and my mom (love to see what the FAFSA would yield on that). I think that all six kids went from last income quintile to the first one - it turns out Cal State U LA where we all went has by far the largest number of students that have done that (10%, 5% is next highest).

          In high school when walking (dragging myself) back the 3/4 mile from track to the high school there was a store where I sometimes got oranges for a cent (Alhambra, near LA, we had an orange tree in our front yard that had been a grove replaced about 1910 by houses).

          First car was a 1967 VW Bug I bought for $1300 (25,000 miles) and drove for almost 200,000 more (that 55mph speed limit extended the life of the car as well as the time spent to drive across the country). I remember telling someone that I can remember the first time I paid more than $3-something for gas (i.e., $4 or more) and they said that is not that unusual - I said, no not per gallon, but the total whole bill.

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          • #6
            Also we grew up in a Montgomery Ward kit house my aunt's father-in-law built in 1921....great house...solid as a rock...

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            • #7
              Yeah, I remember my father talking about gas wars in the 1950s where the prices were as low as 21-23 cents/gallon

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              • #8
                Gas in the mid 60s was only 35 cents a gallon...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post
                  Yeah, I remember my father talking about gas wars in the 1950s where the prices were as low as 21-23 cents/gallon
                  Clearly remember in the early 60s.

                  Gas - 19.9 in the frequent gas wars.
                  Comics - 10 cents and then suddenly 12 cents! Horrors.
                  Mad magazine - 25 cents
                  All candy a nickel except . . . Kit Kat - 10 cents

                  bubble gum a penny.
                  popcicles -6 cents

                  McDonalds - burgers 15 cents, fries a dime, coke a dime, milkshakes 25 cents

                  Saturday matinee movies - 35 cents.

                  babysitting for 25 cents an hour.

                  quart of milk or loaf of bread - 35 cents

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                  • #10
                    Funny you mention this, Bill. I have been reading through newspapers from Plano (TX) in 1967-72 and the grocery ads are fascinating. Also, I miss Gibson's.

                    7 cans of Campbell's soup -- $1

                    You know what WASN'T cheaper? TVs. Yowza, forgot just what a huge investment a color TV was.

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                    • #11
                      Sure the cost of beef, bread and gasoline have gone up 10 fold in $s but at least you get paid 5x more dollars than you ever did !

                      Thankfully there is no inflation because the Feds know to counts it all the right way.

                      Thankfully when they calculate inflation they count beef prices less and tofu more because people start buying tofu when beef is expensive. Makes perfect sense. Besides who really cares if their savings is worth 1/2 what it was after 20 years. No one saves $s in a bank so that they can eat someday.
                      Last edited by user4; 10-08-2017, 12:50 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Yep, I could probably boggle your mind with prices from the 30s but I have a more recent barometer of inflation.
                        Having been a non-cooking widower for more than thirty years, Campbells Chunky Soup comprises a significant part of my diet.
                        I cannot recite the exact year and amount of increases over that period of time but I do remember in the late 80s, it was 59cents/can, by the mid 90s, it was 89 cents/can, quickly escalated to 99 cents/can. In the 2000s it crept up to 1.29/can and recently to 1.59 in the discount groceries (where I shop). In the luxury places (Target) it is now 1.99/can, (marked down from $2.49/can) and the full $2.49 at Safeway and Homeland.
                        I am confident that exceeds the cost of living calculator.
                        Last edited by lonewolf; 10-08-2017, 05:02 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Tuition for a small liberal arts college in Kansas $500/semester. Today $14215/semester. Cigarettes 25 cents per pack. A big juicy hamburger (not a bigmac) 35 cents.

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                          • #14
                            Gas at my family's Chevron station in the 1950's hovered at just above or below 20 cents a gallon.

                            In the mid-1960's I was able to work 3 months in the summer at a fiberglass factory (where they made the first generation of Sky Poles) for less than $1.50 an hour, time and a half for overtime. With that, and living at home for free over summers, I was able to save enough to pay the UCSB fees, buy books and live like a starving rat during the school year.

                            My senior year I was REALLY happy that an athletic grant-in-aid (read scholarship) came my way... it paid the $90 per quarter tuition fees!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lonewolf View Post
                              Yep, I could probably boggle your mind with prices from the 30s but I have a more recent barometer of inflation.
                              Having been a non-cooking widower for more than thirty years, Campbells Chunky Soup comprises a significant part of my diet.
                              Im with you, I love the Campbells chunky. Other favorites are the Progresso series and a few of the generic canned soups are solid to. I will sometimes drop a can of corn in one of them just to increase the volume. It is a great meal when I dont want to get to a restaurant.

                              What is astounding is that the Fed is able to make up these inflation numbers out of whole cloth while their mandate specifically states their primary goal should be to avoid inflation. It would be hard to imagine a policy of unconstrained risky lending that could more effectively cause inflation than what they have set us on.

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