Looking back at the 80s and 90s, it is clear that our parents’ financial situation was completely different from ours today.
From technology to lifestyle choices, here are 10 expenses we take for granted now, but were virtually non-existent in our parents’ time. ”
1. Mobile phone charges and data plans
Mobile phones have become a necessity these days, but they come at a cost. Unlike the old landline days, we don’t just pay for phone service. There are data plans, but they can be expensive, especially if you use a lot of internet on the go.
In our parents’ time, such expenses did not exist. It’s now built into most budgets, and for many of us, it’s no small feat.
2. Internet service
It’s hard to imagine life without high-speed internet at home these days, but this is an expense our parents didn’t have.
Whether it’s for work, streaming a movie, or just staying connected, paying your internet bill is becoming as common as your electricity bill. It’s one of those things that has gone from a luxury to a necessity over the years, adding a significant amount of money to your monthly expenses.
3. Childcare fees
Childcare costs have risen dramatically over the past 30 years. Approximately 220%. This rapid increase has made childcare fees one of the most important expenses for families today. It’s a stark contrast to what our parents experienced.
Now, with both parents often working, many families find themselves devoting a significant portion of their budget to childcare, an expense that was much more manageable or non-existent in previous generations. There have even been times.
4. Student loan payments
The landscape of student loan debt has changed dramatically over the past few years.
average 1996 college graduates had approximately $12,750 in student loan debt., which in today’s money would be about $24,740. Fast forward to today, the average student loan debt upon graduation is estimated at $37,650.
5. Streaming services
Gone are the days when TV meant just a handful of channels. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ are now part of our daily entertainment. While each service itself may not cost much, signing up for multiple platforms can quickly add up.
6. Online subscription
In addition to streaming movies and shows, you can now also subscribe to various online services. From music platforms like Spotify to software subscriptions like Adobe Creative Cloud and even online learning sites like MasterClass, these monthly or annual fees are part of today’s digital lifestyle.
7. Increase in health insurance premiums
Health insurance premiums have increased significantly. For example, the average annual premium for employer-sponsored family coverage plan health insurance increased from about $5,791 in 1999 to about $20,576 in 2019, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
These numbers are in sharp contrast to past decades, when health insurance was more affordable and often covered a larger portion of medical costs.
8. Environmentally friendly products
Rising environmental awareness has increased the demand for environmentally friendly products. From biodegradable detergents to sustainable clothing, these items are often expensive compared to their traditional counterparts.
While our parents may not have been exposed to or concerned about environmental impacts, today’s consumers are more willing to rely on products that promise to be earth-friendly. Increasingly, people are willing to pay more for it.
9. Organic food
Similarly, organic foods are an important part of the modern grocery market. Organic produce, meat, and processed products are typically more expensive than non-organic produce due to more expensive farming methods and certification processes. This trend towards organic foods for health and environmental reasons is a relatively new phenomenon.
In our parents’ time, much of what they ate was organic by default, as industrial farming practices and the use of pesticides were not as widespread at the time.
10. Vehicle maintenance costs
In the past, mechanics could repair any car. But that’s no longer the case. Modern vehicles are equipped with advanced technology and complex systems, so repairs and maintenance often require specialized knowledge and tools.
This change has increased vehicle maintenance costs. The need for unique parts for different models and the specialized training required by today’s mechanics increases overall expenses.
Dollar Sanity details:
10 Job Apps Like Wonolo to Find Flexible Side Jobs
7 important steps to take when your savings reach $30,000
10+ ways to watch TV without internet or cable
David Bakke is a personal finance expert and author of the book Don’t Be A Mule. He earned his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of South Florida, specializing in money management, investing, retirement, income generation, and entrepreneurship. David started his own blog YourFinances101 in 2009. His work has been featured in Investopedia, Business Insider, US News, and Money Crashers.