Needs Were Simpler in the 1970s

Needs Were Simpler in the 1970s

The other day on Facebook, I posted a tweet comparing the cost of living in the 1970s to life in 2021. Homes are much larger now. Most families own two cars which are expensive with the upkeep and insurance, whereas they used to own one. More women are using daycare rather than staying home with their children. There was no cell phones and limited cable. People didn’t eat out like they do now and vacations weren’t often. The needs were much simpler in the 1970s. There also weren’t children’s sports that cost a fortune.

At the end of the tweet, I asked, “There needs to be two incomes for mothers to stay home, why?” Here are some of the best comments under this tweet:

“I get to stay home. It is all about priorities. We have two cars, a 1500 sq. ft. home, one vacation (if lucky), two cellphones, one TV, one maybe two dinners out a month, and no daycare. We could even be more frugal, but it’s surprising the money you save when cooking at home, having time to garden and can, and providing for your family even without a ‘job.’ I am so thankful I get to do what I do.”

“We have two cars both paid off that are 20 and 18 years old. Our home is 860 square feet. We have had one vacation in 8 years. We do have cell phone but no home phone. We do not have cable. We get take out about two times a month. I am a SAHM so no daycare. These things aren’t necessarily wrong. But we need to put God first in all we do. Honor God and our husbands and be proud keepers of our home.”

“I had the advantage of an extremely financially poor childhood, so I was accustomed to living a frugal life. When I married and we had one average middle class salary, I found it easy to stay at home, raise the kids, and manage on one income! I had many friends who would insist you ‘had to have two incomes’ to survive. I was completely confused. I analyzed the difference in our lives. They had new cars; I drove the same one for 13 years. They had more STUFF, and we had more PEACE. I would be beyond depressed if I had traded those days of raising our children for STUFF. None of which they still have. I have all the memories, and they don’t after going to work and being too tired to love and care for my family.”

“I have two cars both paid with cash. Two phones for me and my husband. Building our own house hopefully out of pocket (thanks to milling our own lumber and my husband is a plumber by trade. We barter out plumbing work for what we won’t be able to do with our friends in a different trade.) We haven’t had a vacation since 2014 and don’t want one. We are homebodies. We don’t have cable but love old-fashioned movies. We have kids at home on one income. We also farm. We spend a lot of time together and wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“One income. 3,200 sq. ft. home. One car. Five kids at home. No daycare. No cable. Two cell phones. One vacation every other year. We eat out one to two times a week. It’s about priorities. I know couples with no kids that are ‘barely making it’ on an income much more than ours.”

“There ‘needs’ to be two incomes for mom to stay home because many have bought into the lie that they ‘need’ more to survive. The focus is no longer on what is best for the long-term growth and development of the children but rather, “How can we make and amass more money so we can provide a ‘better’ life and buy more ‘things’?” Contentment has gone out of the window. We want more. But more is not always better.

“Exactly. When we broke down the financial cost of me working, paired with the emotional cost of me not being as available to my kids and husband, it wasn’t worth it. Childcare, quick meals, cleaning services, etc. added up quickly.”

“I’ve never understood people that basically work for the cost of child care and gas. Like, what are you gaining? All you’re doing is losing time with your children.”

But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:6

34 thoughts on “Needs Were Simpler in the 1970s

  1. Thrift and modesty go hand in hand. Our daughters are home schooled, make their own clothes, and tend our chickens, milk goat, and garden. They even make their own sandals (we live in the interior of Florida). You better believe they take care of their clothes because they know how many hours a new dress costs. And they put those sandals on only when I insist for church and formal times. These girls cost us almost nothing and contribute in labor far more than what they cost. Even from age six the food they raised and the chores they did were worth more than what they cost.

  2. I remember being confused as a teen when I noticed that the women around me who worked and said they “had to” also had husbands with great jobs, yet the women whose husbands had less prestigious jobs , and I was sure were paid much less, were at home. That didn’t make sense to me.

    Instead of asking my mom about it I watched these women over many months (we rotated Bible studies in homes) and I realized that it truly was the “wants” keeping these women away from their homes. Their lifestyles were completely different.

    There are hundreds of ways to cut expenses and make it work…if you really want to be at home.

    I went from breadwinner to at-home mom 15 years ago and have had a wonderful time “making do”. So many people we know live in chaos, but we live in peace. My being at home makes such a pleasant difference in our lives!

  3. You could be a zillionaire and getting rid of cable would still be a good idea.

  4. Families have always faced hardship. But it is wilfulness and misguided priorities which is keeping most women away from home, not need.

  5. What I remember about the 70s is that kids still went barefoot when parents let them and fashion sneakers hadn’t been invented yet.

  6. My mother since she was pregnant have been a stay at home mother . Growing up I never have the last devices or stuff and we didnt go to eat out that often and our house is small but it is and was totally worthy to have a stay ar home mother despite the sacrifice and stuff.

  7. God bless the women who make it their duty to care for their homes, husbands, and children, and avoid the worthless materialism which lures tens of millions of Americans away from serving God and having large families.

    That said, the prime problem is not women, as studies have consistently shown married women will have as many children as their husbands desire.

    The problem is men, who have been violating the two laws which create a successful society for nearly 100 years. As much as I get frustrated with women, and the majorities reluctance to marry and have children, I know the problem goes back to men.

    The unprecedented increase of sexual sin in America, highlights, by the violation of them, the two main tenets of every great society. Not only are these two tenets in the Bible, though the dysfunctional modern Christian church has badly lost its way, but, the brilliant British agnostic anthropologist J.D. Unwin, highlighted them in his seminal 1934 exhaustive study of both civilized and uncivilized societies. The two rules he found that led to successful societies were, sex must be delayed until heterosexual marriage, and it must be confined there after marriage.

    Incredibly, he began his studies to prove the Freudian psychobabble that societies that did not freely indulge in sex were “repressed” and inferior. He found exactly the opposite. He studied 80 uncivilized societies and 6 civilized societies and found the exact same pattern repeating itself. Every society that left these two tenets, collapsed on the third generation. America is on the third generation now.

    This is in the Bible too. Pharaoh went about destroying the Jews the wrong way. He tried to kill their male children, and work them hard. The family unit and religion was left intact. In America, not only are babies being slaughtered, and we are being worked hard by taxes, inflation, and regulations, but the family unit and church are under unprecedented attack, with milquetoast pastors failing to protect their churches and preach truth. Balaam advised the Moabite King Balak what to do to destroy a culture.

    Revelation 2:14. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

    And that is what Balak did, sending in the Moabite women to seduce the Jewish men, leading to 1 Cor 10:8, “Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.”

    Not only did 23,000 Jews die in one day from a plague, for fornication, but, Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, took a javelin and gave a leading prince of the tribe of Simeon, Zimri, the death penalty for taking a Princess of Moab in a tent and fornicating with her in full view of the congregation. He literally killed them both in the act of coitus.

    And, until America has men with the zeal and moral compass of Phinehas, our slavery and plagues will not end.

  8. “There also weren’t children’s sports that cost a fortune.”


    When I was a kid, I didn’t need or want youth sports. If we wanted to play baseball or football, we got a bunch of our friends together and played in our back yards, or in empty fields.

    And we had a LOT more fun doing it because we did it for FUN, not for competition.

    And if we weren’t playing baseball, football, dodgeball, or any of a dozen other things, we were swimming in the old rock quarry, catching lizards, putting grasshoppers onto fire ant mounds, or exploring woodlands, or going on hikes, or flying kites, or riding our bikes, or jumping them off home made ramps.

    And, best of all, sometimes we did nothing at all but sit around and talk or READ BOOKS. And we were perfectly OK with that.

  9. My preschool job in HS gave me such a bad image of daycare that I began to question the idea that I “should” get a job per the common brainwashing of society. I already knew I wanted to be the one raising my children so I was hoping to find a way. The clincher for me was The Tightwad Gazette. I knew without question that staying home was not only possible, but much easier than I ever expected. The better part was discovering that it wasn’t just my will to take care of my family, it was the Lord’s, as well. I always knew my Grandma was wise but now I know just how wise she was that home and my Grandpa were her priorities.

  10. I remember playing outside with friends and my sisters until sunset! We roamed the hills behind us, played school, and found many ways to be creative. This has been stolen from most children these days.

  11. This is so true! It’s all about priorities. Truly no one can “have it all” so you have to focus on what’s most important, both overall (which should be your family) and to your family personally. My husband and I are fortunate enough to be able to afford a few things that people find super cool, and it always makes me uncomfortable when other people with good incomes say that they could never afford that. It’s simply making different choices because we’re different people–there are definitely things they would miss if they swapped lives with me! 😀

  12. Yes!! I have always considered myself very lucky that I was so bad at sports and my parents couldn’t afford it anyway that I didn’t face the same pressure as other kids my age to be in sports. I had a much more rich childhood as a result!

  13. This is spot on. I am a stay at home mom. We bought much less house than we could “afford.” We buy secondhand items for the most part, stay home a lot, cook from scratch, garden, use our things until they are done instead of constantly upgrading, etc. I think most people would look at our life and think “they must be miserable.” Not so! Finding ways to stretch our finances is both satisfying and creative. And, it has paid off immensely! All the little things we’ve done to save money added up, and allowed us to pay off our mortgage decades early. We are completely debt free today, and looking at a possible early retirement for my husband.

  14. Thank you Lori for being a mother in the faith to me. My mother died when I was 18 and was sick all of my life. She loved Jesus and the foundation she laid for me led me to Jesus at 7 and then again at 18. I was a career minded woman who was successful and I even adopted a teenager as a single woman. I got married at the age of 35 to a man who had a daughter from a previous marriage and my husband and I now have 2 beautiful girls. Jesus has been so gracious to me by leading me to Godly women who have been mothers to me and helped me to be a better wife and mother. I have failed so many times but as I read your blog I am convicted and I am now reading “Created To Be His Help Meet” to understand how to be a better wife. My husband deals with anger and it has been very very hard but Jesus keeps licking me back up and giving me another chance to obey Him and when I do I see Him change my husbands heart and temperament. I just wanted to say thank you to you for your words and example.

  15. You’re welcome, J! I love the ministry that the Lord has given to me. We’re all promised tribulation in this world, but reminding ourselves daily who we are in Christ and that are true treasures are in heaven gives us the strength to endure.

  16. wasn’t going to comment, as there are plenty of comments here. However, I decided I wanted to add my voice to hopefully encourage those who are considering trusting God to provide their needs and be a stay at home mom or encourage their wives to be a stay at home mom. I made very little when my wife and I decided, fairly early in our marriage, to start a family. I worked two jobs for many years to make it work, and still didn’t have an excess; less than 22K a year. We went down to one car, had a very modest house that didn’t even have a basement, and never went out to eat. It was all worth it. Our kids were able to see their mom every time they walked through the door. It also allowed me to fully invest in work, which allowed me to be promoted and improve my income, along with hard work of course. We are now at the time where half of the kids are on their own and we look back with no regrets. None of the things that many people think are necessities have been missed. If you have not taken the step to be a stay at home mom, or if you are a husband that is concerned with your wife becoming a stay at home mom, trust God, downsize where needed, and go for it. It isn’t an easy journey, but so worth it.

  17. Such a great point! It actually makes it easier on men to provide a living for their families WHEN their wives are home full time! They can spend more time working harder and figuring out ways to make more money instead of having to worry about the children and the home!

  18. The reason why they say that they need to income is just because they want to live the same luxury lifestyle that they had growing up with their parents.

  19. We live like it’s the 70s. One car, 1300 sq ft 60s home. Internet, 1 house phone (Ooma is $6 a month). All food is cooked from scratch and eaten at home on a stove, oven or in a crockpot. We live on 1 income well below $100k and save half husband’s income. I plan on never returning to the workforce after studying Scripture on the matter.

  20. What are some resources/books you would recommend for developing frugal habits or on penny pinching in general? I’m a first time mother to a 3.5 month old girl and slowly figuring out how to be a true homemaker.

  21. As a person who grew up with a split family and a mom working 3 jobs at times but always 2 and my step dad working as well . I wanted different in my home. Myboarents were great they gave us everything even what we didn’t need we were a “keep up with the joneses ” family. But as I grew in my love for the lord I knew less was more.. when I met my husband and we were planning to be married we made a verbal prenuptial agreement. He wouldn’t give up hunting for food and I wouldn’t work out of our home while raising kids at least. And maybe never. We have 7 kids 8 with the boy we let stay with us most the year. We have a small house, 2 vehicles . Mine is old. His is newer due to his job. We have a small income but not many bills.. we do have cheep cell phones. But no other devices. And 1 TV now but have had years without and we loved it. We have a garden can most everything you can think of raise our own meat. Learning to sew and we make soap and so many thing just for fun but so useful. I look back and wish my mom was like this , we may not of been cool back then but we sure would of had the love we needed. Nothing better than a home running according to the scriptures. GODS WORD IS SO AMAZING AND IF WE FOLLOW IT LIFE IS SO MUCH MORE PEACEFUL .

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