Funny. I once read a quote from someone (can't remember his name now) who once said "the high cost of living is really just the cost of living high"
As I fiddle with this inflation calulator it really drives the point home and proves that a saying from over a century ago is still just as true today as it was then.
Kept in mind when playing with this calculator that the average middle class individual income is a bit more today than the equivelent of 1955 for example. Also keep in mind that we enjoy much more discounted prices on many products today than we had even 25 years ago due to large big-box retailers and wholesalers like Costco and Walmart, and all the super stores out there. Most people today will say it's their car that is their money pit, but you also have to keep in mind that todays modern automobiles last on average over 200K if treated right as opposed to the 100K limit vehicles had prior to the early 1980's and todays vehicles are much more fuel efficient than those in our parents or grandparents day. The main thing that really has increased in price today are home prices, but most everything else today is about the equivelent in price as our parents and grandparents paid for them years ago. Many products were much more expensive in their time than those same products are for us today.