5 ways the cost of living has changed since 1966

UK Bobby Moore World Cup postage stampHas ‘fifty years of hurt’ come by already? Saturday 30 July marks the fiftieth anniversary of English football’s finest moment, when they thought it was all over (and it was) and England’s XI won the World Cup for the first and only time with a 4-2 win over West Germany at a sun-drenched Wembley Stadium.

We thought it would be interesting to look at five ways the cost of living may have changed since 1966 – in real terms – which brought up some surprises.

1.       Buying a house – In 1966 the average cost of a house was £3,620, which equates to about £60,848 in today’s money. In contrast, the average cost of a house in the UK broke the £200,000 barrier for the first time in April 2016, going up to £313,000 in the south of England.  

2.       Buying a car – Cars were far less frequent on the streets in 1966 than they are now, and the boom in car ownership had yet to take full effect.  One reason was the cost – the average cost of a new car was £950, which is around £15,968 in today’s money.  Figures for 2015 show that the average transaction cost for new cars was £22,000.

3.       Pint of beer – A pint of beer in 1966 would have set you back an average 2 shillings, equal to 10p, which amounts to around £1.75 comparatively in today’s money.  In late 2015, the average price of a pint in the UK was £3.46 – the county with the lowest average cost was Herefordshire with £3.10, while in London it was £3.92.

4.       Gallon of petrol – in 1966 it would have cost you 5s 3d – which translates to 26p. This would be around £4.58 in today’s money. Now today we don’t buy gallons of petrol, we buy litres – and the average cost in the UK is around £1.01 per litre. However, with the gallon/litre equation being 1 gallon = 4.54, the figures are not too different at the moment to what they effectively were in 1966.

 5.       Wages – the average annual UK salary in 1966 was £891, which sounds ridiculously small nowadays but it equates to upwards of £14,977 in modern terms. The most recent figures from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) show that the average gross annual earnings for full-time employees was £27,600, up by 1.6% from the previous year.  However, someone working full-time on the national minimum wage (£7.20) could gross around £14,976 a year, a figure similar to the average in 1966.

And finally, footballer’s wages – the average salary for a top league footballer in 1966, the kind that might be playing at Wembley for the World Cup, was around £5,200 a year, which we calculated to be about £90,812 in today’s money – a figure that a large number of today’s top footballers would earn in a week or so!

9 thoughts on “5 ways the cost of living has changed since 1966

  1. Charles

    Basically £1 had the buying power of about £16.80 today. However the median wage was only £15k not £27k which effectively means the buying power of the average salary back then is 15/27 times what it is now. This makes the relative expense of things like a 10p pint for the average earner the same as £3.10 today. A gallon of petrol effectively £8. A properly £111k, and a new car £29k. The two relating to car and fuel prices explains why less cars were on the road as they were less affordable than they are today.

  2. Mary Harnett-Williams

    I love your site. I’m writing a little story which starts in 1966, a week before the world cup. Does anyone know what a child would have been paid doing a Saturday job, my disability means I’ve forgotten so much,
    very grateful for any help.

    1. CreditExpert Neil

      Hi Mary, Sadly we don’t have the figures for this but we certainly hope that your story is going well!
      Kind regards Neil.

    2. John Gannon

      I was paid 5/- for doing a “Saturday” job. That equates to just 25p. Although i did get tips which were significant probably just over doubling my wage.

    3. Dave

      I was 12 in 1963. I worked Saturdays in my Dads Cafe and earned 6 shillings. I think this was a bit better than helping the milkman on his rounds which was 5 bob. I lived on the borders of Essex and London



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