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We all like to think of ourselves as independent, responsible humans, determined to provide for our families and stay positive no matter what life throws at us.
But while it’s important to stay disciplined and frugal in many respects, there are some luxurious necessities that we now take for granted that used to be out-of-reach luxuries.
From almond milk lattes and high-speed internet access to streaming services like Netflix, it’s time we admitted how spoiled modern society has become.
So buckle up because today, let’s take a stroll down memory lane: let’s explore 14 once lavish items now considered necessities!
#1. High-Speed Internet
Remember the days of dial-up internet?
We can thank modern technology for allowing us to access information at lightning speed.
Now, most people take high-speed internet access for granted as a part of day-to-day life.
Utilizing broadband connections, we can download music and movies in seconds, shop for necessities online with ease, check emails on the go, and stay connected with friends around the globe.
From surfing the web to streaming our favorite shows without interruption, high-speed internet is a necessity that most of us couldn’t do without!
#2. Cell Phones
Once only owned by the elite, cell phones are now necessities in our lives.
Whether it’s keeping in contact with loved ones, setting reminders, or just passing the time, cell phones are essential for almost every adult and teen alike.
Cell phones can allow you to stay connected with friends, family, and coworkers; share your life through photos and videos; shop online or order food from anywhere; find directions on the go; book tickets for events quickly and conveniently.
TVs took a while to enter households.
Before TVs, there was radio.
When TVs did enter the picture, they were relatively small or very large, and color TVs wouldn’t begin to make their way into every household until this form of entertainment picked up.
Almost everyone has a TV as they’re very affordable, and consumers have a wide range of media to enjoy.
Were vacations as big back in the day?
Emphasis on travel is more of a modern thing, especially as technology has caught up to offer a wide range of benefits like discount travel sites that allow us to go to our favorite places for much cheaper.
One should also consider that transportation has become much more reliable in recent years, making it easier to get to places we might not otherwise have considered.
Overall, vacations are much more common for people today.
#5. School Options
Modern parents have a host of schooling options that they can take advantage of.
Whether they want to homeschool or send their kids to a charter, public, or private school, they have plenty of choices.
But was this always the case?
Parents only used to be able to send their kids to public school, and that was the only option they had.
#6. Going Out to Eat
Home-cooked meals were the staple of the family unit, especially during times of war.
But as modern conveniences and fast food establishments began to work their way into American life, it started happening that families would venture out to get their food and then come back home and eat it.
More importantly, various sit-down dining establishments started opening for those who wanted to treat themselves to a nice dinner.
After all, why not go out and get food instead of cooking it at home?
It’s far more convenient and often quite affordable, which is why it has grown in popularity today.
#7. Second Car
A second car was unheard of in years past, especially given that these were also times when only one person needed to bring in income.
Nowadays, finding multiple cars in a household wouldn’t be a surprise, especially if they both need transportation to get to work.
Of course, it’s also important to consider where people live.
Suburbs used to be where you only needed one car, but walkability and cities designed around it (as well as public transportation) have become scarcer.
As such, second cars have become quite common and a necessity for many.
#8. Video Games
If you were around for the advent of video games, you might fondly look back on games like Pong.
But video games weren’t that prominent for a while, especially as arcades opened up and video game consoles were still big and limited in their range of cartridges.
Now, gaming culture has grown substantially.
Whether it’s PC gaming, console gaming, or even VR gaming, video games have come a long way.
#9. Central Air
It used to be that, in the summer, you would have to break out the fans, open the windows, and fill up the kiddie pool or go down to the local pool to cool off.
Then came the advent of central air.
Like many other modern inventions, central air in homes wasn’t the norm.
However, installation began in most new homes around the 60s, especially in places where high temperatures reigned.
Now, everyone benefits from cool air at the click of a button.
#10. Higher Education
Higher education is often promoted as the only path to today’s youth, but that wasn’t always the case.
Going to college was only a choice for a select few, while others found a job and worked their way up in the company.
But given that everything requires you to have a degree (even entry-level jobs that don’t require any use of higher education), college is something that nearly everyone attends.
Speaking of transportation and travel, flying is another thing that has since taken off.
Flying was a novelty when it was first introduced.
Not only were the safety standards completely different, but the experience was also different.
Air travel used to be slower than other forms of travel, and planes seemed less stable and desirable to be in than they are now.
As flying became more glamorous, we started to rely more and more on planes to get to where we needed to go.
There are some challenges that the aviation industry faces today, but planes are very unlikely to go anywhere in the modern age.
Casinos have grown quite popular, and gambling specifically has always been around.
That said, it’s not the same degree we see today.
Whereas people would often have to travel to gamble or to try to scour their area for somewhere they could bet their hard-earned cash, gambling is much more accessible today.
From sports betting to online poker and everything in between, you don’t need to look far to be able to gamble.
The digital age has made gambling a popular pastime for many.
#13. Cable TV
Believe it or not, cable TV was once a novelty.
It was also extremely limited in entertainment, boasting only a few channels without all the bells and whistles that we have today (like being able to record your show).
But while cable TV wasn’t in every household back then, almost everyone has it now.
It’s quite common and more than affordable for most people who need entertainment.
#14. Big House
Bigger homes weren’t the norm, nor were they needed previously.
Now, big houses are often what people are looking for.
The more square footage a house has, the more potential it has for many prospective homeowners.
It offers more space inside and outside, allowing people to grow into the home rather than outgrow it.
The tiny home trend is still there, but it doesn’t beat out the desire or growth of big homes tailored to modern homeowners.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.