We had lots of good conversations at the MMM gathering, but towards the end we had a debate about the effects of inflation. I thought I would do some antidotal comparisons based on my mothers recurring expense journal that she kept from 1959 to 1977 and my own sporadic expense records. I’m not going to do the math to calculate the rate of inflation because not everything is equal. My point is that inflation assumes a constant rate of consumption of the same things every year, but we don’t consume the same things, or even consume things in the same manner every year because we don’t need the same things.

So here are some numbers for fun:

Category 1959 1977 2006 2017
Food Couldn’t find an expense record 341.76 Family of 5 and we didn’t dine out except maybe once a month at McDonalds when you could get a meal for a $1 320.00 Family of 2 and including all dining out dollars. 333.00 Family of 2 including all dining out dollars.
Housing/Mortgage 63.10 134.00 The house was refinanced for an addition to the house for the growing family. 455.00 Does not include insurance or taxes 0 house is paid for
Power 33.53 84 77 202
Phone 8.52 10.12 25 73.52
Car insurance 33.00 80.81 183.57 204

Other fun expenses.

Drivers license March 1959 $2.50

Book of the month club May 1959 4.09


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