A while back, I wrote about how, when I was in my late teens, I could go out and have a stupendous weekend for $20.
You can read it https://morgansmithauthor.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/the-magic-20/
In short, though, it cost me $20 to go drinking and dancing on Friday, shop for things on Saturday afternoon, buy a little pot and some halvah (for the munchies) and party on Saturday night, and still have money for a bottomless cup of coffee and a toasted danish at a restaurant on Sunday morning.
Now, it is true that wages were lower. Much lower. I think, at the time, the minimum wage was about $2/hour.
You need to keep in mind that without the advent of on line shopping and music streaming and so on, we troglodytes of the mid-twentieth century had to pay full price for practically everything.
A new t-shirt ran between $2-$5, but they were good quality. A brightly patterned hippie skirt probably ran about the same, or a little bit higher. Jeans, as I recall, cost about $7 at Thrifty’s, which in those days, was a single, dusty, disorganized warehouse-y shop in a decidedly unappetizing neighbourhood, where the owner sat behind the counter smoking a rancid cigar, and growling at you.
So I thought I’d revisit the question and work out what an equivalent weekend would cost nowadays.
One might think that the costs of things would have risen only in the same proportion as the wages. In a sane world, that ought to apply. In some ways, this is sort of true, although a skimpy $3 tank top from Walmart is not even slightly comparable to a long-sleeved, all-cotton, Grateful Dead t-shirt, or that a polyester off-the-rack item is the equivalent of a one-of-a-kind peasant blouse, stiff with embroidery, or a hand-printed dashiki from Africa.
Today, in Edmonton, Alberta, here’s what you might pay for the same kind of social weekend:
Beer $4-$6 per beer (but that’s for domestic…Guinness will run you about $8/can)
Le Chateau new arrivals Knit top $39.95
Music cd Selena Gomes “Rare” on Amazon $12.88
Halvah at Safeway $1.75/oz = $14 for half pound
Sunday a.m. at Starbucks Tall brewed coffee $2.15 Dessert bar $2.75
Cost of a joint at standard pot store chain 1 oz $84-$120 (AB 1 gram medium grade $7. A “nickel bag” back in the day would have been 5 grams)
Total $112.731 (but that assumes you only drink one beer in a place that has no cover charge.)
The current minimum wage in Alberta is $15/hour for adults. (There is another, lower rate for “young people”.)
Inflation, my ass.