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13News Now Vault: The cost to live in 1986

Do you remember when a pocket full of change could buy a gallon of gas?

NORFOLK, Va. — Almost everywhere you turn, costs are going up.

Increases in gas prices, home prices, and the general rise in inflation is giving many people financial anxiety.

If only there was a way to go back in time when life just didn’t cost as much.

We dug up stories from our archives in 1986, when things were a lot different.

In March of that year, one Norfolk Exxon was selling a gallon of gas for $0.39 gallon. Granted, that price was a one-day special, and there was a line that stretched all the way down the block to take advantage of the deal.

But in 1986, the average price for a gallon of gas was still just $0.86 cents – which would be the equivalent of $2.21 by today’s standards.

Unfortunately, the United States is close to doubling that average price right now. Tuesday, the average price for a gallon of gas in Virginia was $4.10.

It's not just gasoline. Home prices were a lot different in 1986, too.

The median home price in 1986 was about $76,000 – which would be about $200,000 adjusted for today's inflation.

You don’t have to be in the real estate industry to know people are paying much more for a place to live in 2022. According to Realtor.com, the average price of a home right now is about $392,000.

The general cost of living in 1986 was also a lot better.

Inflation was at 1.86%, considered by economists to be right at the sweet spot. It was a level that encouraged investing, saving, and financial stability.

Today, the inflation rate has soared to a 40-year high at 7.5%.

Along with it, demand outpaces supply, which has led to a further increase in prices from car rentals to plane tickets to groceries.

That means your paycheck won’t go as far as it once did, at least for the time being.

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