How Much I Spend vs How Much my Grandma Spent
We often hear how frivolous millennials are with their money. But are they really? Taking into account the value of money over time and the inflation rate, do millennials really have that much more money to spend than their grandparents did? Let’s look at how much I spend vs how much my grandma spent and find out who, in the battle of millennials vs baby boomers, spent their money more frivolously.
Average income over timeIn 2018, the median income for individuals was $34,200 before taxes and just under $30,900 after taxes, according to the Vanier Institute. Of course, your income will be much higher if you have one of the highest-paying in-demand jobs in Canada.
How much our grandparents earnedAccording to Statistics Canada, the average personal income in Canada was $313 per year in 1935, $1,672 per year in 1960, $15,903 in 1985 and $37,700 in 2008.
Hourly wages over timeAccording to Global News, the average hourly earnings for millennials in Canada was $27.70 in 2016.
How much our grandparents earned at our ageIn 1977, when our grandparents were our age, their average hourly wages were $24.50, if you use an inflation formula/equation to adjust it to 2016 dollars.
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The value of money over timeJust because millennials earn more money per year doesn’t mean that their money can buy much more than what their grandparents’ could. So far in 2019, the inflation rate has been 1.99%, according to In2013dollars.com.
Inflation rate in 1969In 1969, the inflation rate was 4.69%. However, monetary inflation over the past 50 years has been cumulative. A dollar value chart shows that you now need $663.68 to buy what your grandmother could buy for $100 in 1969.
Interesting to keep in mind as we talk about millennial spending habits.
How much money you need to retireThere is no real rule of thumb to calculate how much money you’ll need to retire comfortably in Canada. To give you an idea of how to save for retirement (remember: women need to save more than men), you may want to use a future inflation calculator. This will show you how the cost of living is expected to have risen by the time you reach retirement age.
How much money our grandparents need to retireFor our grandparents to retire comfortably in Canada now, Savvy New Canadians says that the general rule of thumb is to have saved at least $1 million. Many of those who haven’t been able to save this much are looking at the best places for Canadians to retire globally and make their money go further.
The value of the Canadian dollar vs the US dollarWith the United States as our main trading partner, Canadians often look at how much the loonie is worth against the US dollar. For most of the currency’s history, the Canadian dollar was worth less than the US dollar. According to X-rates, the monthly average exchange rate in 2019 has hovered around 0.75 Canadian dollar for 1 US dollar.
The exchange rate in the pastIn 1957, the Canadian dollar was worth slightly more than the US dollar. Its value dropped during the 1960s and in 1970 it was allowed to float to combat inflation. During the 1970s it became worth more than the greenback but, except for a short period in 2007, it has been worth less than the US dollar since the 1990s.
At least there are still things Canadians pay less for.
How much millennials spend on housingGlobal News says that housing prices in 2016 averaged $490,000. It’s probably no surprise that millennials tend to rent rather than buy, then. In fact, housing is one of the places where millennials are bleeding their money.
How much our grandparents spent on housingIn 1976, according to Global News, housing prices worked out to an average of around $210,000, adjusted to 2016 dollars.
How much a university degree costsGlobal News says that in 2016, 30% of employees had a university degree, compared to 10% in 1976. However, RBC says that university tuition costs now average $7,200 per domestic student in Canada, with the exception of Quebec.
How much our grandparents paid for tuitionIn the second half of the 1970s, university tuition costs in Canada averaged at a little over $2,000. It was really only from the mid-1990s that tuition costs skyrocketed as government funding for universities dropped. It’s good to know then that there are still high-paying jobs that don’t need a degree.
How much millennials spend on student debtWith rising tuition costs, more students have had to borrow money to pay for their education. In fact, according to RBC, in 2015 full-time students borrowed an average of a little under $6,000 to pay for their studies. If you worked a minimum-wage job, it would take you 505 hours of work to pay your tuition costs.
How much student debt our grandparents hadIn the late 1970s, the average amount that full-time students borrowed was around $1,000. This meant that after graduation, our grandparents could use more of their money supply on other things instead of finding ways to pay off student loans fast.
How much millennials spend on new carsThe average cost of a new car in Canada in 2017 was $33,464, according to Automotive News Canada. That may help to explain why fewer millennials own cars and are opting for public transport and greener options like biking instead.
How much our grandparents paid for a new carAccording to In the 70s, a new car cost an average of US$5,012 in the United States in 1979. Car prices for Canadians at the time wouldn’t be much different.
How much millennials spend on gasIf you have a car, you probably think twice about those must-do Canadian road trips when you look at gas prices. After all, depending on where in Canada you were in August 2019, a litre of gas cost anything between 99.9 cents and 148.2 cents, according to StatsCan.
How much our grandparents spent on gasAccording to the blog Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, the average national price for gas in 1979 was 23.6 cents per litre.
How much millennials spend on meatMore and more millennials are becoming vegan and are even looking for the best vegan-friendly jobs. Embracing a meat-free diet makes economic sense too, considering that according to StatsCan, in April 2019 the average price of 500 g of bacon was $7.01, 1 kg of ground beef was $11.19 and 1 kg of chicken was $7.44.
How much our grandparents spent on meatIn April 1995, 500 g of bacon cost an average of $2,68; 1 kg of ground beef cost $3.83 and 1 kg of chicken cost $3.71.
How much millennials spend on eggsEggs are one of those things you should eat for beautiful, clear skin. According to StatsCan, a dozen eggs cost $3.17 on average in April 2019, which is much less than a line of state-of-the-art skin products.
How much our grandparents spent on eggsOur grandparents could truly afford eating for clear skin. StatsCan says that in April 1995, a dozen eggs cost $1.59.
How much millennials spend on breadA 675 g loaf of bread, according to StatsCan, cost an average of $2.73 in April 2019. So, living on avocado toast is actually not that frivolous after all.
How much our grandparents spent on breadIn April 1995, a 675 g loaf of bread cost an average of $1.26.
How much millennials spend on pastaMillennials love pasta: it’s cheap, versatile and is the perfect food to carry with you on the best hiking trails in Canada. In April 2019, according to StaCan, a 500 g pack of macaroni cost an average of $1.45.
How much our grandparents spent on pastaThere’s a good reason Grandma used to make all those macaroni-based casseroles. In April 1995, a 500 g pack of macaroni cost an $0.98 on average.
How much millennials spend on coffeeMoney-wise and environmentally savvy millennials have learned that making your own coffee at home instead of getting a cup to go is a great way to save. In April 2019, according to StatsCan, 300 g of roasted coffee cost an average of $7.15 while 200 g of instant would set you back $6.95. But who wants to drink instant anyway?
How much our grandparents spent on coffeeOur grandparents tended to opt for instant coffee, which cost $5.35 for 200 g in April 1995. It’s a mystery why they would do this, since 300 g of roasted coffee was cheaper at $3.99.
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How much millennials spend on corn flakesEvery millennial who has run out of money by the end of the month knows that you can eat corn flakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you have to. In April 2019, according to StatsCan, a 675 g box of corn flakes cost an average of $5.53.
How much our grandparents spent on corn flakesIn April 1995, a 675 g box of corn flakes cost only $2.99. No wonder Grandma used breakfast cereal in everything from casseroles to cookies.
How much millennials spend on fruitPacking your own lunch is one of the ways you can save $1,000 a month. You can also make sure that you get enough fruit without breaking the bank. A 1 kg bag of apples, according to StatsCan, cost an average of $4.69 in April 2019.
How much our grandparents spent on fruitOur grandparents definitely could afford to keep the doctor away with an apple a day. In April 1995, a 1 kg bag of apples cost $2.22 on average.
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How much millennials spend on peanut butterPeanut butter is one of those staples everyone should have in their kitchen, since it’s a cheap and delicious source of protein. StatsCan says that in April 2019, a 500 g jar of peanut butter cost $3.09.
How much our grandparents spent on peanut butterPeanut butter isn’t that much more expensive now than it was to our grandparents. In April 1995, a 500 g jar cost an average of $2.60.
How much millennials spend on potatoesPotatoes are another one of those kitchen staples that millennials love because of their versatility, health benefits and low price. It’s also one of the things Canadians pay less for than their neighbours to the south. StatsCan says that in April 2019, the average price of a 4.54 kg bag of potatoes was $8.98.
How much our grandparents spent on potatoesIf you think that potatoes are one of the most economical foods to have on your grocery list, wait until you see how little our grandparents had to pay for them. In April 1995, a 4.54 kg bag of potatoes cost only $2.88.
How much millennials spend on cigarettesYou know that quitting smoking is one of the things that can make you live longer. It will be great for your finances too, considering that 200 cigarettes cost an average of $119.50 in April 2019, according to StatsCan.
How much our grandparents spent on cigarettesWhile they pay the price for it now with smoking-related health problems, our grandparents could afford to light up back in the day. In April 1995, 200 cigarettes cost an average of only $30.73.