Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thirties Thursday

In 1934...

a new 5 bedroom stucco bungalow was listed in California for $3,750.

and a gallon of gas was 10 cents.

In 1938...

You could have bought steak for 10 cents for a pound,

and a pair of single vision glasses would have cost you $3.85.

A radio would cost $9.95.

If you were buying a Plymouth Roadking car, you needed to have saved $685.

Sounds great, doesn't it?

Now remember the average US income in 1930 was $1970.00 a year, and by 1939 it had dropped to $1730.00 a year.

It puts these prices into a different perspective, doesn't it?


  1. I guess compared to today's prices, that would be about the same for most things. Life was much simpler in those days, in many ways.

  2. Carol; It is more or less the same percentage, isn't it? Thanks for leaving a comment, I was feeling very alone!

  3. I'm curious to know which of these items would be considered luxuries. For example, would someone living in the house you showed be considered affluent? Was the average family eating steak?

  4. Elspeth - Thanks for giving us all a perspective on those prices. You know, after thinking about Elisa's question, it occurs to me that things that would have been considered unheard-of luxury at the time are now just part of our daily lives. Gives one pause to think...

  5. Elisa; What an excellent question? I should think, for many, the car was a luxury item, but owning a house was the norm for families. Steak was not considered a luxury item, strangely enough.

    Margot; Imagine what an adult of the 1930s would think if they could see how we live now; with our mobile devices, etc.

  6. We always hear about how low prices were, but not much about average income. Makes me feel better about our gas prices now (well, a little, anyway.) :)


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