Friday, April 15, 2016

What 80's Kids Saved Their Pennies For Versus Today's Kids

The 1980s were great for kids and adolescents.  The technology available to us, Atari to Nintendo, was slowly changing our lives, but unlike today's technology, not smothering it.  It was the last great decade of free-range kid upbringing, and I think those who grew up in those times still have fond memories of being out all day with friends, doing whatever.  Coming home in time for dinner was our only rule, whether we biked to the mall, rode the bus across the city to the museum, or walked to a friend's house.

We needed money for our all day escapades (summer months).  Most of us earned our money doing chores, helping our parents at work, or by doing odd jobs for the neighbors.  Trends dictated what we spent that money on, other than fast food of course.  Below is a list of things sure to make you nostalgic, because unless you had a rich parent, you worked hard and saved your pennies to buy these items.

1.  Tony Hawk skateboard.  Everyone wanted one!  Doing an ollie on a cheap skateboard made you a poser.

2.  Comic books.  Taking a trip to the comic book store with your buddies to get the latest Uncanny X-Men was totally rad, and you got bonus points if your dad was equally into comics like you and your friends.

3.  Baseball cards.  Remember the conventions?  You would save for months whenever you got wind of a baseball card show or convention coming to your area.  Oh how I coveted a Mickey Mantle rookie card.

4.  Cabbage Patch dolls. many of these did you own?

5.  A Haro or GT Performer.  With pegs of course!  What a sweet bike this was.  Jumping ramps and doing a 360 bunny hop was every boy's dream.   

6.  Casettes (Music).  Did you purchase MC Hammer, NWA, Run DMC, Guns N Roses, Metallica, or Beastie Boys tapes as a kid in the eighties?  I did!

7.  The arcade.  Even though Nintendo was out, there was still the need to socialize and compete with other players.  $20 kept you fed and entertained for hours at the arcade with friends.  

8.  A Starter Jacket.  The guy in the picture above is wearing an Oakland Raiders version.  You weren't cool at school without one.

9.  Nike Air Jordan tennis shoes.  I saved for months to get myself low-top Jordan's.  Cost me about $110 back then.  They looked like this:

10.  Concert tickets.  Going to a concert was like a rite of passage.  It didn't matter who you went to see...okay, maybe it did (New Kids On The Block lamest band ever!)...but you had major news to share at school if you got tickets to see a popular group.  The Monday after the event you made all of the kids at their hallway locker look up at you by wearing a brand new concert sold t-shirt.
11. Nintendo games.  I couldn't leave this one out.  I had a small collection of games...nothing too impressive.  I stopped spending money on video games with the advent of Super Nintendo, seeing that new consoles were to be introduced every two-three years.

There were certainly a lot more things kids in the 1980s spent their money on, but I can tell you for sure that one of those things we did not save for  That's right.  College was not as in demand back then as it is today.  Colleges weren't actively recruiting kids out of middle school like they do today, and so the thought of needing to save for higher education was not in our young minds.  Our parents equally did not worry as much about affording college as parents of today do.  No one imagined the cost of a college education skyrocketing.

Today's kids may spend some of their allowance (or earned money) on toys, superior gaming technology, apps, and even expensive tennis shoes.  But I can assure you that with college being so unaffordable these days, they may be being pressured by their folks to put money aside in a college fund.  It was a luxury for us in the eighties to have freedom to do whatever we wanted with our earned money.  Sometimes we even helped our parents out.  Today's kids have our national debt (over 19 trillion), the biggest wealth-inequality gap ever, and a college education tab that keeps expanding, to deal with.  So not fair.

Thanks for reading.     

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