Kids are incredibly expensive. We all have a tendency to recoil at every cost associated with raising children. From the day they’re born, they spend our money. Prices for infant clothes can be as expensive as the clothes you’re wearing right now. Those clothes are quickly stained and then the child has “the nerve” to grow right out of them! After that, it’s preschool or child care, a new pair of shoes every week (it seems) and heaven forbid they need glasses because they’re going to lose them every other month or so.
Finally, they might even want you to spend money on something they want. It might be the latest fashion or the season’s hottest toy, but they’ll ask if they can get it, and when you look at the price tag, you’ll be floored. The natural reaction to this kind of sticker shock is “When I was your age, toys were so much cheaper.” The natural reaction to realizing you said such a sentence is to call your parents and apologize for thinking they were lame throughout your teenage years.
But, maybe they’re not that expensive. You probably didn’t buy Legos for a couple of decades before you bought them for your first child. You might never have bought them, only received them. In fact, Legos are one of the most commonly complained about toy prices by parents. However, believe it or not, Lego sets are not more expensive than they used to be. A wonderful piece of analysis from Reality Prose compared the prices over the years and found that prices have stayed roughly the same when adjusted for inflation and the number of bricks per box. We remember it differently, in all likelihood, because we weren’t the ones paying for those toys. The same is true for other things your kids want.
Those Air Jordans? In 1991, they only cost $125, and the price is $170 now. Except that when you adjust that for inflation, the $125 is about $225 in today’s equivalent. So you’re actually saving $55, or enough to buy you a pair of clearance running shoes because you spent all your money on the kids’ sneakers. (Side note: This is why your dad wore lame shoes and it’s why your kids think you wear lame shoes.)
How about video game systems? The Xbox One debuted at $500! That’s a ridiculous amount of money! After all, the price of the NES was only $199 when it came out. Well, actually, once you adjust for the difference in value between 1984 dollars and our money today, it comes out to around $470 for an NES, or $570 if you got the model with R.O.B. the Robot. Plus, today’s consoles are better machines: They can go online, play Blu-Rays, and watch Netflix. You may not be experiencing it, but you’re getting a lot more for roughly the same money.
So, take a deep breath. Today’s kids aren’t more materialistic or more luxury-oriented than you were. If saying “Back in my day…” makes you feel like you’re turning into your parents, it’s just because your kids are turning into you.
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