Remembering The Prices Of Long Ago

I am going on 82 and it really amuses me to remember the prices in the good old days. For instance, in 1966, I could fill up my secondhand car with about 30 liters of gasoline for just P5. Today, if I load 30 liters of diesel in my Nissan pickup, I have to pay P1,260 for the same number of liters. How many percent higher is that? Honestly, it is hard for me to figure out. Maybe you easily can.

When we constructed our first house in 1971, cement was really cheap. We paid exactly P2.40 per bag, delivered to the construction site. Today (2019) when we did some minor repairs in our farm, we had to Pay P225 per bag. In the 1970s, if you ordered a thousand bags, you only had to pay P2,400! That’s equivalent to only about 10.4 bags of cement today!

In the 1960s and 70s, the minimum wage was P4 a day. At that time, an average family can already survive with three meals a day. In those days a “salop” or “ganta” of rice, which is more than a kilo, cost 85 centavos versus an average of P40 per kilo today. In Metro Manila, wage earners usually make P500 or more a day. Yet they claim that they can hardly make both ends meet.

From 1960 to March 31, 1964, we worked at UP Los Baños as newsletter editor and press release writer. During September when lanzones was in season, we would go to San Pablo City to buy the fruit. The price? P0.25 or 25 centavos per kilo. Today, the price of the same is at least P80 per kilo. It could be double in Manila.

When we come to think about the low monthly income we received in the early 1960s (P10 daily wage, P240 a month because there was no pay on Saturdays and Sundays), it was still possible to set aside a portion as savings. And that’s why at the end of four years when we decided to seek employment in a newspaper in Manila, we had enough savings to buy a second hand car and still had some in the bank. You really have to save a portion of whatever you make monthly no matter how small. Learn to save and invest what you save.

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