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The Cost Of Living

May 2024
1min read

What we spent to get through 1964

The Home

Three-bedroom ranch house in Parsippany, New Jersey: $23,000
Three-bedroom, two-bath house in Crystal Lake, Illinois: $20,900
Four-bedroom, two-bath house in South Bend, Indiana: $16,000
“Penthouse view” in doorman building on East Sixty-ninth Street, Manhattan: $245 per month
Furnished apartment with heated pool “convenient 10 minutes to Long Beach or Los Angeles,” two bedrooms: $120 per month
GE washing machine: $169
GE dryer: $99.95
Sears 16.5-cubic-foot refrigerator: $349
GE Thinette air conditioner: $119.95
Mohawk carpet: $9.95 per square yard
Admiral AM/FM clock radio: $39.95
Simmons Hide-a-Bed sofas: $199.95–$599.95
Simmons Beauty Rest mattress: double, $89.50; queen, $199.50; king, $299
Hoover Slimline vacuum cleaner: $40
RCA color television: $549.95
GE 11-inch portable television: $199.50
Tensor “fold-a-way” lamp: $9.95

Food & Drink

Orange juice (frozen): five 6-ounce cans for $.99Fresh whole pineapple: $.39 Chicken of the Sea tuna fish: three 6.5-ounce cans for $1 Hershey chocolate bar: $.05 McDonald’s hamburger: $.15 Slice of pizza: $.15 Sabrett’s hot dog: $.15 Cup of coffee: $.10 Howard Johnson’s turkey dinner (with gravy, cranberry sauce, peas and carrots, whipped potatoes): $1.49 Dinner at the Forum of the Twelve Caesars restaurant in Manhattan: $12 Steak dinner at the Palm in Manhattan: $8


Brooks Brothers suit, worsted and navy serge: from $150; tropical weight: from $115Men’s Dacron and cotton suit: $45 Jockey T-shirts (three): $4.39 Warner original Stretchbra: $5.95 Thom McAn “upholstered” leather shoes: $9.95 Ranger Oxford shoes from L. L. Bean: $12.85 Rainfair cotton raincoat: $32.50 Fruit of the Loom boxer shorts: $.69 Hand-crocheted blouse from Henri Bendel, Manhattan: $245


Honda 50 motorbike: $245Ford Mustang: starting at $2,368 Volvo sedan: starting at $2,330 Ride on New York City subway: $.15 Rental cars: Falcon, $5 per day, $.08 per mile; Thunderbird, $9 per day, $.12 per mile Gasoline (gallon of regular): $.27

Cosmetics & Toiletries

Cover Girl powder and liquid makeup: $1.50 (each)Max Factor California Bronze tanning oil: $1.35 Maybelline Ultra Lash mascara: $1 Rex razor blades (10): $.88 Blistex: $.39 Scott tissues (two boxes of 400 each): $.49 Crest toothpaste (extra large): $.44 Rexall toothbrush: $.69


American Airlines, first class, New York to Los Angeles: $160.90BOAC, first class, New York to London: $712.50; coach, $300 Moore McCormick Cruises, 35-day tour of Scandinavia, the Baltic, and northern Europe: from $1,285 El Al Airlines, twenty-one-day European Tableau tour: $505 Matson Line, five-night Hawaiian cruise: $414 Imperial 500 motel room: single, $7.50; double, $9.50 Williamsburg Inn in Colonial Williamsburg: double, from $16 The St. Moritz on the Park, Manhattan: single, $12; double, $16


Chris-Craft 27-foot Constellation (sleeps four): $9,345Bulova President wristwatch: from $39.95 De Beers one-carat diamond: $500–$1,800 First-class postage stamp: $.06 Pack of Camel cigarettes: $.50 Zippo chrome cigarette lighter: $3.95 Term’s tuition at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York: $750 Year’s tuition at Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina: $1,815 Year’s tuition at Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts: $2,400 Typical visit to a doctor’s office: $25 Ticket to Hello, Dolly! with Carol Channing: Monday through Thursday, $3.60–$8.80; Friday and Saturday: $3.60–$9.40 Ticket to Goldfinger with Sean Connery: $1

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