Gransnet forums


How We Used To Live

(123 Posts)
Musicgirl Thu 29-Sep-22 14:00:04

The thread on microwaves got me thinking about other gadgets that were new in our lifetime but now standard. On Mumsnet, many younger people complain about how we are sitting on goldmines and bought our houses cheaply but they are now worth gazillions and how selfish we are. I realise that it is much harder to get onto the housing ladder now than perhaps it was for many of us but l can well remember high inflation and negative equity on mortgages. Appliances were much more expensive relatively then than now, too. We got married in 1989 and my husband already had a house. It had a washing machine, a gas cooker, a fridge-freezer and a television and that was it for gadgets. We considered ourselves very fortunate, too. A lot of our furniture was second hand (quite a bit of it still is) and we bought things as we could afford them. A cheque from my husband’s parents for Christmas 1991 bought us our first microwave. We had very little space for drying clothes indoors and bought a second hand tumble dryer for £50. It was already around five years old and lasted for about fifteen years after this. A small windfall a few years later bought us a video recorder and, in the year 2000, we bought a nearly new dishwasher. Many of these things are normal in houses now and expected on moving in but I think we appreciated them far more because it took some time to acquire them. I realise that we had more than many who are older than us. My parents were married in 1963 and had my grandparents’ old TV that had been bought for the Coronation ten years previously and considered themselves very fortunate to have a fridge and a Burko boiler. They bought a single tub washing machine and separate spin dryer a little later. I would be very interested to hear your reminisces on this topic.

SusieB50 Thu 29-Sep-22 14:45:49

We got married in 1971 - we had very little money only appliances were a twin tub and a fridge. I remember going to my parents house on a Saturday or Sunday evening to watch the wonderful serial War and Peace in colour as we only had a black and white TV !!
My husband made our bed ( still in the spare room ) and our dining room table that is now in the kitchen .

kircubbin2000 Thu 29-Sep-22 14:50:06

We were able to buy a nice house due to getting a loan from husbands uncle who was very grateful for a favour husband had done after the uncle suffered a tragedy.Wedding gifts helped with some furniture.

Juliet27 Thu 29-Sep-22 14:51:46

Much of this link is familiar!
What were houses like 100 years ago

Much of it’s familiar

Juliet27 Thu 29-Sep-22 14:53:21

Ooops doubly familiar!!

AGAA4 Thu 29-Sep-22 14:56:09

Most of our large items of furniture was bought by our parents when we married. We bought the smaller items bit by bit. The one thing I scrimped and saved for was an automatic washing machine when our first son was born. I had been washing by hand till then.
I remember it used to do a dance and scuttle about when it was spinning. The good old days.

bluebird243 Thu 29-Sep-22 15:10:26

I got married in 1967. We saved like mad for our house, going without holidays, meals/nights out, even clothes. No car, we couldn't afford one, my DH had a scooter and had to go to work 10 miles away in the cold and wet a lot of the time. I walked to work.

In our house we had no carpets upstairs just a couple of rugs/lino downstairs. No central heating, but a Parkray in the front room. Cooker left by previous owners and after using the launderette for ages I eventually got a twin tub. Second hand furniture and a small black and white rented TV.

This isn't to moan as we were perfectly happy and slowly we got a car [Robin Reliant!], went on cheap holidays, bought newer furniture by putting money into the furniture shop weekly until we had enough for a swivel chair....then a sofa.

We didn't have to pull out for mobile phones, the internet, tv channel subscriptions, foreign holidays, weekends away, pay for gyms, tanning studios, nail bars or tattoos. If a group came to our area we'd go to see them, if they were miles away we didn't. Hen and stag parties were quite local and just on one evening. No dishwashers or tumble driers and still don't have [or want] them now.

Sounds grim but we were fine, we had a home/garden/transport/friends and then the babies came along...

Ashcombe Thu 29-Sep-22 15:15:38

For the first few years, we visited the launderette to do our washing. We saved up for the furniture we needed. My parents bought our fridge with a small freezer at the top for a wedding present. We were married for nearly 10 years before we acquired a microwave.

Our children were incredulous when I mentioned mortgages with 15% interest! They thought I had misremembered.

Ashcombe Thu 29-Sep-22 15:17:08

I forgot to say we married in 1971.

varian Thu 29-Sep-22 15:20:41

We rented our first home when we married in 1966. There was an electric cooker belonging to the landlord, but no fridge or washing machine. We had a radio and a record player, but no tv at first. We had an immersion heater, a small electric fire, an iron and fairly soon I was given a hairdryer as a present and later we got a vaccum cleaner. There was a landline phone installed by the landlord. That was it as far as gadgets were concerned.

When I was a small child my parents, who were not desperately hard up by the standards of the late 40's / early 50s, only had a radio and a phone. The phone was associated with my father's work. Mum cooked and the flat iron on the black range in the kitchen. She had a mechanical washing machine and wringer and carpets were cleaned with a carpet sweeper or put on the clothes line and beaten with a carpet beater. I think hot water was supplied by a gas fired water heater.

I could hardly count the number of electrical and electronic gadgets we have now and we are certainly not exceptional by today's standards..

TwiceAsNice Thu 29-Sep-22 16:12:17

We had a new fridge and double bed as wedding presents from parents. We had two wooden rocking chairs and a very cheap sofa. No washing machine and dishwashers were hardly heard of.

Our bedside tables were packing cases with a tablecloth to hide them , no wardrobe just a clothes rail. No carpets, one small rug and vinyl tiles.

Everything else , bedding, China etc were wedding presents or bought second hand or as cheaply as possible. We were over the moon to have central heating but I used a laundrette or hand washed for two years before we could afford a washing machine.

The flat was rented as our house seller gazumped us at the last minute and we couldn’t afford to match the extra price because yes interest rates in 1972 were 15%. And so young people we didn’t have it as easy as you think. It was 3 years before we could manage to buy a house again

welbeck Thu 29-Sep-22 16:32:05

one of the biggest differences seems to be the attitude to debt.
i would strive never to be in debt.
i realise it's unavoidable for most re housing.
but for other expenditure, i'd rather save up than go into debt for something. in the meantime i may realise that i don't actually need it after all, so save the money.
youngers all seem to run expensive nearly/ new cars. whereas i saved for something i could buy outright.
i can see some argument for having a more modern vehicle, better build quality, reliability, spares etc, but they don't seem to go for the basic model but vast 4x4s.
i can't see the need. means greater insurance too.

Sara1954 Thu 29-Sep-22 16:39:18

I think young people expect far more than us, but again, we expected more than our parents.

Most things you are saying are familiar, when we bought our first house, almost every penny went on our mortgage, we couldn’t afford to turn on the storage heaters, we had one paraffin heater to heat the whole house, furniture all second hand, no land line. an old black and white television, our reconditioned washing machine broke down, so I trailed up and down to the launderette for months.

Don’t remember feeling particularly hard done by, cold, yes, but not resentful.

Blondiescot Thu 29-Sep-22 16:40:27

welbeck, I totally agree with you. We were also brought up to save for something rather than get into debt, and fortunately, both of our children feel the same way. I can see a lot of younger families getting into real difficulties very soon if interest rates do go up as predicted. Many already have massive mortgages on their houses, which are filled with all the latest stuff bought on credit, and driving the latest top spec models of cars, again all bought on credit of one kind of another. It's not going to take much for all of that to come tumbling around their ears...

Callistemon21 Thu 29-Sep-22 16:48:08

I remember when we replaced our old black and white TV with a larger coloured one.

We didn't buy it - we rented it as so many did in the 197s.

In about 1981 we bought a video recorder because we wanted to record something very special which was broadcast on BBC.
I can't remember how much it cost but it was a disproportionate amount of money compared to salary, a huge amount.

ginny Thu 29-Sep-22 17:14:35

Married in 1976. New house , mortgage rates soon started to rise .
No carpets. Grandmas old rugs and curtains. Deckchairs in the lounge.
No meals out, no take always. No trips to concerts, theatres, cinemas. No new clothes for a couple of years.
Holidays were cheap and cheerful and anywhere we went we took our own food. One phone in the house, no mobile. TV was rented. I can tell you plenty of ways to use a pound of mince.
Even taking photos was rationed . Take 20 photos, pay a fortune to have them developed and find just one of them was with keeping !

BridgetPark Thu 29-Sep-22 17:35:15

I can so remember the extortionate interest rates of the late 70's and early 80's. Our mortgage was so expensive, we struggled so much bringing up our 3 children. I was very jealous of my in-laws, who had some savings, earning them enough interest to have foreign holidays and new furnishings when they fancied. I hope those times aren't coming again, and I hope the young people realise that we had tough times and got through them. Having said that, I would welcome a bit more interest on my little savings I have got, but I bet the balance will be for mortgage rates going up, not savings rates!!

Thorntrees Thu 29-Sep-22 17:50:19

We married in 1972 and lived in service quarters which were fully furnished which was lucky as we had no real savings. The kitchen equipment consisted of a gas cooker,no fridge,washing machine etc. Mother in law gave us a spin dryer. We managed to buy a small fridge when our first daughter was born but no washing machine until she was about 3 years old. When we bought our first house in 1977 with help from parents everything apart from the carpets was given by relatives or was second hand,I think the only thing we bought new was a double bed. Like others have said I think we really appreciated gadgets when we finally could afford them and now can’t imagine life without them.

Kim19 Thu 29-Sep-22 17:52:10

We married in 1967 when husband was in the RAF. Went straight to a beautifully extended honeymoon in Cyprus in a married quarter where everything was provided. I had been in a council flat and put my furniture into storage. My husband had purchased a little farmhouse cottage as a hobby to work on before he met me. By combining our two pasts and a little bit of upgrading we had a tolerable home to start in when we left the service. Bit by bit we improved until we sold up and moved to a different district. Quite a wrench but a positive move. My Mum helped us with her hand me down items. Very happy memories even in impoverished times.

Sara1954 Thu 29-Sep-22 17:57:55

Our first colour television was rented, which was just as well, because it seemed to go wrong quite often.

We bought a video recorder quite a few years later, our oldest daughter was in the school play, they filmed it and sold copies, the video recorder was a Panasonic, and cost £400 an enormous amount.

J52 Thu 29-Sep-22 17:58:03

We married in 1974, DH was still a student on a long professional course. Having just qualified, I worked. Fortunately a friend lent us a house, we only paid the bills. All our furniture was second hand, given by other family members. We saved a good deposit for our first house. Then we were able to buy carpets, a new cooker and bed.

Margiknot Thu 29-Sep-22 17:58:31

We did not have a TV when I was a child - but my father ( an engineer) would occasionally try to fix other peoples so we occasionally got to watch whilst he fiddled with the valves at the back! My youngest brother was born in the cottage hospital (small maternity unit and clinics only) just across the road.
We married in the 80s. I think interests rates on the mortgage for our flat was 12% when we married- but went nearer to 14% later, and many people lost their homes due to the increased payments. Almost all both our salaries ( plus husbands overtime) went on the mortgage. We seemed to have very little time together!
Our first appliance was the microwave ( wedding gift) - we had no fridge or cooker or washing machine at first. I used to take the washing to the launderette once a week ( they had a drop off wash, fold and leave wet system - collect on the way home from work - we too skint for the dryer cycle too) and I hand washed the rest. I bought an iron from the corner hardware shop- now there is no hardware shop in our village. There used to be a butchers shop, bakers and bank too - but now only a little supermarket and offices etc.
Eventually we got a second hand fridge and then a second hand washing machine a couple of years later. Oddly we got a dishwasher fairly early on- a trial model that lasted and lasted . We had only one storage heater in our flat ( in the lounge), so the bedroom and bathroom were very cold in the winter - ice on the inside of the windows. I managed to buy another rather older thick storage heater from a building about to be demolished. It was so heavy - it took 3 of us to move it-and a friends car - but it made the bedroom warmer. When we moved to a house some years later - we put in proper central heating!

biglouis Thu 29-Sep-22 18:08:42

many younger people complain about how we are sitting on goldmines and bought our houses cheaply but they are now worth gazillions and how selfish we are

Ive never had this conversation with a younger person.

However I would sternly remind them that while I have already made my contribution to the community they are still in process of doing so. I would tell them to come back in XX years when they have made their contribution and we will finish this conversation.

I rented until 15 years ago. However I was left a modest inheritance and made more money speculating in crypto currency so was able to buy with a very small mortgage. I also got the house (my former buy to let) at 80% market value because the owner was leaving the country and wanted a quick sale. So I got onto the so called "property ladder" (I hate that phrase) by using nerve and skill to increase my assets and not by squatting like a vampire on a property which simply accumulated value.

M0nica Thu 29-Sep-22 18:09:25

Married in 1968, rented a flat where we shared the bathroom with the elderly lady owner and another lady who lived on the attic floor.

After 18 months we bought a house. We didn't have a phone, a tv or a washing machine. We were both in professional jobs so not particularly strapped for cash, but could see no point in getting them until we were home enough to need them. We got all three when our first child was born.

£ years of flat living meant I had kitchen equipment, saucepans, knives and such like and since for various complicated reasons it took 9 months from the time we put a deposit down on a new house until we finally moved in, each week on my way home, I would go into Woolworths and buy a lamp shade, or light bulbs or front door bell or clothes pegs etc. These were stashed into boxes in my parent's house awaiting the move

Mortgage rate was around 7% when we bought our first house and never went below that until about 2000, when it was just about paid off.

Most of our furniture was secondhand, again not unsurprising. DH's grandfather was an antique dealer and ran the local china and household goods shop - we didn't get any discount - his children got discounts, but not grandchildren. My grandmother loved antiques but on a war widow's pension, relied on having a good eye, buying things 'at fault' and being a good negotiator. So we went to auctions, haunted junk shops, gratefully accepted gifts from our parents. Most of this furniture we still have

Witzend Thu 29-Sep-22 18:11:03

As far as I recall, virtually everything except housing was relatively a lot more expensive! Electrical items, clothes and household goods…..
Who else remembers ordinary glasses being given away with petrol - who’d bother now, when you can buy basic ones for relative peanuts?

Presumably it’s because so much is now made in countries with much lower labour costs. Anyone else remember the signs in M&S saying over 99% of their goods were British made?
I doubt if it’s even 1% now.

I well remember buying a small, basic cassette player in the early 1970s - IIRC the first thing I ever bought on my new Access credit card. It cost a quarter of my monthly take-home salary at the time, and I was earning reasonable money - enough to be completely independent in a house share, anyway.