Spending Snapshot, 1973

made_in_1973_personalized_invites-r77027731f425487fb56691e8eb6c1eec_8dnmv_8byvr_512When you compare how much our incomes and spending have changed in the past 40 years, I guess you could say that there’s good news and bad news.

The average person spends 81.2% of his or her post-tax income on food, housing and other expenses, according to ConvergEx Group, a New York-based brokerage. That’s down from the 85% that Americans shelled out for mandatory and discretionary items in 1973. LA Times

  • Household Income After taxes: UP. $9700 in 1973, $63,000 today (adjusted for inflation.)

As a percentage of income, spending in the following categories went…

  • Savings: DOWN. Way down. We put over 13% of our income in the bank in 1973, now a terrible 4.6%!
  • Housing: UP. 15% of income in 1973, 19% today. Partly because the average square footage of a home has nearly doubled since then!
  • Food: DOWN. 19% of income in 1973, 13% today. Of course, family size has shrunk, from 2.9 to 2.5 people.
  • Cars: DOWN. 9.5% of income in 1973, 6.6% today. However, the next item…
  • Fuel: UP. 4.2% in 1973, 5.4% today.

So, it’s a mixed bag. Maybe it just SEEMS like we are paying more and more and more?

Personally, I think these numbers are wack. Like, the size of our homes has doubled, but we’re only spending 20% more of our income for them?  My theory?* They are measuring expenses as a percentage of household income. In 1973, less than 40% of moms worked outside the home.  It’s over 60% today (I looked it up!) So, in 60% of homes, it’s taking two incomes to enjoy a 4% decrease in overall household expenses. Yay progress!

My question to those who remember 1973 is this: what do you think? Do you think we are better off, worse off, or about the same as we were back then? Did Dad and/or Mom work as hard/harder/about the same to pay the bills as we do? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

*Disclaimer: I’m an English major!

3 thoughts on “Spending Snapshot, 1973”

  1. they can say what they want but in 1973 quality life was much better and families were able to get buy easier than now . there were jobs for anyone who wanted one. i think the stats are just a little off . they chose a year when major changes were being made and the price of gas was on the rise . if they were to go back just 2 years before i think the numbers would much different .

  2. MUCH Worse off. I am 60yrs old now and have watched the prices of things go up and up while our income has virtually stayed the same year after year. People in our age group did not have the advantages financially that our parents had & we continue to fall through ALL the cracks. Land and homes are worth less but property taxes are way UP! Gas is wildly high now as is food and everything we need. If I end up living in a box because I cant pay my property taxes I will not at all be surprised. I’ve reconciled myself to growing old in poverty. I thought there was hope for a long time but have now seen there is no hope. It’s one day at a time now. You cannot believe the investment brokers after they robbed us completely twice. I just keep what cash I can save and it isn’t much-stashed in my home for an emergency and hope it is enough. I blame the government who is for sale, the corporations who buy the laws and the government, the banks that make up the rules as they go along in only their favor & the insurance companies who make zillions off of us and help us nearly never. This country is broken. Sadly I was unfortunate enough to grow old during this horribly broken time is the USA. All of this is very frightening to grow old in. A Box lady in waiting………

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