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What was cheaper in the 1970s?

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  • What was cheaper in the 1970s?

    The 1970s was a decade characterised by high inflation but what was, on average, cheaper in the 1970s (after adjusting for inflation since 1979) than in more recent years?

    A few potential candidates are:

    Newspapers and magazines
    Postage stamps
    Bus fares
    Tickets for football matches
    Watching a film at the cinema

    There seemed to be a lot of concern in the 1970s over the price of butter around the time when Britain joined the EU, but it was not an issue that featured in any campaigns for the 2016 EU Referendum.

  • #2
    Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

    Dry cell batteries! I could never afford them in the day!
    Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

      It's amazing how much postage stamps have gone up in the past 15 years or so - the Royal Mail has increased the price of stamps so much since 2004 that it feels like a 1974-1989 increase, timewise. I send a lot of letters so I have noticed, yet ironically one can still use the same stamps as 15 years ago for First Class as it says "First Class" and not "60p" on them! I am surprised at this in a way, because I know that stamps had prices on them on the bottom left of them under the Queen's picture, and each price had a different coloured stamp - now the First Class ones have been red for over 20 years or so.

      One thing that almost feels the same is the cost of TV sets - brand new sets always seemed to be around £250 around 40 years ago as they seem to be now. The only difference is: A) The technology has obviously moved on and improved since then; and B) People used to rent them from High Street places such as Rediffusion, Wigfalls, Multi-Broadcast and places like that because they were obviously out of bounds to a lot of people - a bit like buying one's home has over the years.

      I found an old theatre ticket from 1998 where I saw Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Nottingham Playhouse with a group I was with, and it was for just around £8 - I am certain that the cost of tickets have tripled at least in the past 21 years. As I book tickets these days, I would be looking at £25 to £30 as a ballpark figure. There was a woman who had saw Les Misérables nearly 1,000 times and the cost of her tickets had certainly increased since she started seeing I at the theatres back in 1988. The cost of the colour TV licence would be under £20 in the mid to late 1970s - but of course, there were fewer channels and an equal number of monochrome viewers which was added to the equation.

      The thing about bus fares was the fact that I was obviously younger years ago and so I would obviously pay a lower price as a child than adult would pay. It's also what I would refer to as the "Sale of the Century" factor - things were already cheap back then compared to now, but they were even less than average due to reduction for a number of reasons. On the other hand, the 1970s did not have any Premium Rate telephone services (thank goodness), and so one has a reverse of that, making things deliberately more expensive now than back then.

      In 1990 I was in a local Co-op queueing to pay for the items that I had brought and there was someone before me, who had purchased more than £100 of groceries which to me sounded like too much money to spend in a supermarket on ordinary items back then, unless you are doing a "Supermarket Sweep" and grabbing as much as you can in your trolley. Now of course, it doesn't anymore and I even spend around that amount with Tesco online.

      Something that cost 3p in 1971 would cost 8p in 1978 such as a newspaper - something that cost 8p in 1971 would be 25p in 1978, etc, such as a bottle of "corner shop" lemonade (remember the deposit). My class at school was reading from a book which was written in the 1970s and it got a laugh when the writer mentioned how much something was when the book was written.
      I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
      There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
      I'm having so much fun
      My lucky number's one
      Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

        Some time ago I mentioned stamp vending machines. I believe that the machines in the 1970s took 10p coins and the 50p coin machines replaced them after 1980.

        I'm not sure whether the cost of parcel post was cheaper in the 1970s adjusting for inflation. There also wasn't the extra charge for long letters back then.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

          In 1974 the average London wage was £3,200 and the average London house price was £5,000
          In 2019 the average London wage is £24,000 and the average house price is £450,000

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

            Whatever happened to stamp vending machines, indeed? Quite a few post boxes (mostly the ones outside Post Offices) had them on the side of the box. I think that they sold them in books of four, usually first class, when the cover of the book had a more glossier feel to it. The front cover had an illustration of a stamp with a diagonal line at the bottom right of the picture, so it cannot be used as a stamp itself, even though the texture of it was different to the stamps inside the book.

            Major Post Offices (Queen Street in Nottingham comes to mind) also had them on the wall outside. I am not certain whether the cost of them from there was the same as actually going into a shop and buying them - I have a feeling that the cost was higher because they didn't give change of course.
            I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
            There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
            I'm having so much fun
            My lucky number's one
            Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

              This is politically incorrect - cigarettes and tobacco.

              Prescription medicine charges. From 1971 to July 1979 the cost of a prescription was just 20p. The Thatcher government increased it to 45p, and in December 1980 it was £1. The price in 2019 is a staggering £9.00.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

                Originally posted by Arran View Post
                This is politically incorrect - cigarettes and tobacco.
                At least that is one thing that we can thank the annual Budget and the Chancellor of the Exchequer for (apart from Children's ITV programmes being cancelled for the day on the day itself) - the increase on tobacco, hopefully making people give up smoking before the smoking gives them up. I found it slightly ironic that Ken Clarke used to smoke cigars as he was a former Chancellor of the Exchequer himself.

                Regarding prescription charges, doesn't that only apply to England, whereas our Celtic counterparts don't have to pay?
                I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
                There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
                I'm having so much fun
                My lucky number's one
                Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

                  Some time ago I glanced a magazine article (it might have been a lad's mag) that listed the price of certain items in 1970, the price today, and how much they should cost adjusting for inflation. It also included the average weekly wages and its inflation adjusted equivalent. The article ended with some quote that things weren't just cheaper in your parent's days, they also got paid more.

                  I might have been light hearted entertainment and an inaccurate comparison more than anything else. Any ideas which magazine this article was published in?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

                    It's obviously before my time, but could have been some magazine like Private Eye, Punch or Titbits?

                    I read Private Eye myself, but I assume that the magazine was a lot different back then to how it is these days.

                    That magazine article could have been something linked to the forthcoming decimalisation issue.
                    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
                    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
                    I'm having so much fun
                    My lucky number's one
                    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

                      Before my time but I'm guessing beer!
                      Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

                        Originally posted by zabadak View Post
                        Before my time but I'm guessing beer!
                        Even in around 1978 a pint beer was just 30p, I believe - I sure that a Rovers scene from a Corrie episode which was made in that year, and someone ordered a pint and was quoted that price thereabouts.
                        I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
                        There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
                        I'm having so much fun
                        My lucky number's one
                        Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

                          Magazines, comic papers and softcover books seemed cheaper in the '70s, maybe adjusted for inflation they weren't really, but they seemed cheaper!
                          My virtual jigsaws: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/beccabear67/Original-photo-puzzles

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

                            ARTICLE FROM 2004
                            With the benefit of 34 years' hindsight, life in 1970 appears to have been ludicrously cheap. A loaf of bread cost 9p and the average weekly wage was around £32. Today, a loaf costs 53p and weekly wages are about £475.Property prices have also risen. In 1970, homebuyers could expect to pay £4,975 for a house. Today, their children would not get much change from £140,000.



                            It was a similar story on the roads. The Range Rover, which was launched in 1970, could have been yours for £1,998. Almost a quarter of a century later, a 4.4 litre Range Rover Vogue k £57,700.
                            will set you bacK 57,700




                            The Mini, which celebrated its 1
                            1th birthday in 1970, cost around £600. Its redesigned descendant now sells for £10,500.
                            A glance at Britain's social life in 1970 is equally intriguing. A trip for two to the cinema cost less than 90p, compared with at least £9 today, while a bottle of plonk was about £1. Today it is £4.55.


                            For those with more spirited and extravagant tastes, a bottle of whisky cost £2.69 back then, compared with £12 now.
                            Pub prices, too, seem foreign. A pint of lager in your local was 20p, a far cry from today's average of £2.10. And cigarettes, which enjoyed a lot more popularity then, were 20p for 20. Today, the habit costs abou
                            t £4.65 a pack.
                            Still, it's not all doom and gloom. Prices have gone up but so has our spending power.
                            And some things have even risen for the better. In 1970, the average life expectancy in Britain was 72. Today, it is 77 - giving us five more years of spending.
                            Last edited by darren; 22-05-2019, 21:08.
                            FOR THE HONOUR OF GRAYSKULL

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What was cheaper in the 1970s?

                              Originally posted by beccabear67 View Post
                              Magazines, comic papers and softcover books seemed cheaper in the '70s, maybe adjusted for inflation they weren't really, but they seemed cheaper!
                              Don't forget that back then, we didn't have too much of the Green Party "tree hugging" and recycling phenonium until around the late 1980s, and so people were not too bothered on how much paper was used - newspapers and magazines had few pages than now as well. It took until around 1979 for most newspapers to cost at least 10p, and magazines were probably only 16p around that time.
                              I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
                              There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
                              I'm having so much fun
                              My lucky number's one
                              Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

                              Comment

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