16 Things People Used To Have In Everyday Life That Is Now Considered Luxury

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What was once considered normal can now be seen as a luxury in the span of just 20-30 years. The question arises: “What was normal 20-30 years ago but is considered a luxury now?” This prompts us to reflect on the shifting landscape of our lifestyles and societal expectations. Join us as we explore the fascinating stories and insights shared by contributors, shedding light on the rapid changes that have redefined our perception of what is now deemed indulgent. Through these shared experiences, we gain a fresh perspective on the evolving nature of our desires and the ever-changing definition of luxury in today’s world.

Non-Digital Photography

woman with tea thinking and looking up
Image credits: Depositphotos Dirima

To start, one user replied, “Photographs on actual photographic paper. I know it’s still possible, but oh so rare.”


woman upset at a wedding sitting on the couch
Image credits: Depositphotos ArturVerkhovetskiy

One person said, “New furniture made out of real wood.”

Another person added, “Furniture that didn’t fall apart when you moved it to a different room.” 


Your Own House large brick house
Image credits: Depositphotos Imphot.

A popular comment was, ‘Single-income families buying a home.”

Another comment said, “Yeah, my dad, as a college dropout restaurant manager made six figures, had two houses and two new cars in the 1980s. Mom just raised us, kids. 35 years later, my wife and I have two bachelor’s and a master’s between us, three jobs, and can just barely afford a house that’s 50% the size of one of my parents’ houses from the ‘80s. We make less combined than our dads did alone with no degrees.”


toilet and someone's hand putting money in the toilet.
Image credit: Depositphotos AndreyPopov.

A comment said, “paying no more than 30% of your income in rent.”

A second comment said, “Leaving your family behind to start your life at 18 or even younger. Now, folks be livin’ with their parents until they’re 45, saving up for a 100 sq. ft. closet that costs $2000 a month in what barely passes as not a slum.”


happy woman shopping
Image credits: Depositphotos IgorVetushko.

One user replied, “Good quality fabric in clothing. I have clothes from the 90s (and 80s from my mother) that still hold up today. These days, I’m lucky if my shirt isn’t saggy and misshapen within a year.”

Another said, “When my grandpa died, I inherited a lot of his clothes. I wear so many of his LLBean clothes from the late 90s/20000’s. They hold up better than most things I could buy.”


couple flirting by the pool
Image credits: Depositphotos [email protected]

A person said, “Being able to go out every Friday after work and being able to afford it.”


woman looking out the window with a book and pen
Image credits: Depositphotos danr13

A person said, “Getting a handwritten letter.”

Another person added, “Writing letters to your grandparents on vacation or sending fun postcards to friends!”

Fax Machines

man thinking with hand on his chin
Image credits: Depositphotos khosrork

Ownership Rights

Ad Blocker man sitting at computer
Image credits: Depositphotos yacobchuck1.

A comment said, “Owning the software you purchased.”

A second comment was, “Buying something and, just like, owning it.”

A third comment said, “Lots of people are saying owning a house but owning anything is at this point with how much subscription services are pushed.”


woman making a nasty face
Image credits: Depositphotos creatista

A user replied, “Household products that didn’t break within the first few years of use. My grandma had the same fridge from 1993 for a good while before deciding to switch to a newer, bigger one 2 years ago. Yes, it broke within those 2 years; my mom’s wedding cookware is still going strong 25 years later, but whenever she needs new pans, they start flaking Teflon into the food within a few months.”

Another user said, “Getting things repaired instead of buying new.”

Landline Telephones

confused woman talking on a shoe
Image credits: Depositphotos IgorVetushko.

One popular comment was, “Not being expected to be reachable 24/7.”


Image credits: Depositphotos Wavebreakmedia.

A user said, “Free driver’s education classes taught in all high schools.”

A second user added, “Education that didn’t revolve around standards but allowed students to learn, a lot!”


China Cabinets older couple lying outside with wine glasses.
Image credits: Depositphotos Dmyrto_z.

Someone said, “Retirement plan built-in to your job.”

Someone else added, “A company-funded pension plan in the private sector. My wife’s grandmother retired from one of our local health insurance companies over 30 years ago with a full pension. She’s 91 and still receives her pension, although the insurance company was acquired by a larger organization a few years back. It’s a modest pension, but it allows her to live a comfortable and independent life. Nowadays, companies only offer 401k or similar retirement plans. Outside of education/government, very few private sector companies offer pensions. I’m fortunate enough to be employed by one that still does.”

Farmer’s Markets

Food Catchphrases mother and daughter in kitchen with vegetables
Image credits: Depositphotos HayDmitriy.

A popular comment was, “Farmer’s markets. You used to be able to go down and get fruit and vegetables cheaper than the grocery store. Now it seems like they charge 3x more than stores do.”


woman smiling
Image credits: Depositphotos glougass

A user replied, “Family vacations. I remember going on road trips regularly and even flying once or twice as a kid. Now that I have kids, there’s no way I can afford a week-long trip to the Badlands, Grand Canyon, Disney/Universal Studios, etc. The best I can do is a day trip to the Dells maybe once a year.”

Another user added, “I’m almost 40 and haven’t been on anything longer than an extended 3-4 day weekend road trip since I was 18 when my dad’s side of the family went on a cruise and footed the bill for all our kids. Money was definitely part of the issue until the last few years when I finally locked down a decent-paying job. But it’s also about getting a significant amount of time off. I’ve literally had a manager laugh and walk away when I suggested taking 2 weeks off to go to Europe.”


Woman holding a glass rolling her eyes
Image Credit: Depositphotos nicoletaionescu.

A funny comment said, “Avoiding people by simply not answering the landline phone, this would make the person calling assume you are just not home. We introverts no longer have this luxury with cell phones, texting, “online” status when logged in a PC so co-workers can IM you, etc.”

Image Credit Depositphotos GaudiLab

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