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The designated "This hobby is so expensive" thread Locked

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, March 29, 2015 10:03 PM

andrechapelon
Why? $60 today is the equivalent of $8.05 in 1965. By the time you assembled a Walthers kit together including trucks, couplers, super details , interior, etc., in 1965, you would have been well over $8. Andre

The truth be known very few modelers took those steps or bought a AHM passenger car for $2.99 at Woolco.Back in the 60s the  majority of the modelers was still using X2F couplers.It was a different hobby.

If you going to the 60s as examples remember that $8 could buy a lot of stuff including taking your teenage sweetie to diner and a movie.

That $60.00 would buy you a brass steam engine or two brass diesels.

Or that $60.00 would pay your  monthly rent or buy a month's supply of groceries.

$60.00 today don't buy very much like it did in the 60s.

Those often quoted feel good "inflation calculators" don't tell you that.

Larry

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Posted by andrechapelon on Sunday, March 29, 2015 11:48 PM

BRAKIE
 
andrechapelon
Why? $60 today is the equivalent of $8.05 in 1965. By the time you assembled a Walthers kit together including trucks, couplers, super details , interior, etc., in 1965, you would have been well over $8. Andre

 

The truth be known very few modelers took those steps or bought a AHM passenger car for $2.99 at Woolco.Back in the 60s the  majority of the modelers was still using X2F couplers.It was a different hobby.

If you going to the 60s as examples remember that $8 could buy a lot of stuff including taking your teenage sweetie to diner and a movie.

That $60.00 would buy you a brass steam engine or two brass diesels.

Or that $60.00 would pay your  monthly rent or buy a month's supply of groceries.

$60.00 today don't buy very much like it did in the 60s.

Those often quoted feel good "inflation calculators" don't tell you that.

 

We're not talking $60 in 1965, we're talking $8. The $60 is today's equivalent. A $60 brass engine in 1965 would go for close to $450 today if they were still being made the same way. A set of Central Valley 6 wheel passenger trucks that went for $3.25 in 1965 would go for over $24 today. My parent's 1965 Buick Special that they paid $3350 for would be nearly $25,000 today (and, BTW, would not have air conditioning, electric windows, intermittent wipers, disc brakes at all four corners, or cruise control).

There were people who bought Walthers cars, equipped them with Central Valley trucks, added the superdetail kit, interiors, Kadee couplere, etc. The Walthers bare bones body kit by itself went for about $3.25-3.50. If you wanted full length heavyweight passenger cars with a lot of variety in configurations, you bought Walthers.

When I got out of the service in 1969 as an E-4 with over 3 years in (and before the 1st of July pay raise), I was earning $251.70 in base pay. It was the equivalent of getting $1,736/month today (around $20,800/year). You can''t compare absolute amounts from 50 years ago.  $271.50 in 1969 had the same buying power as $1,736 today. That's all. There's no "feel good" about it. It doesn't matter whether or not you could get a brass engine for $60 then because that $60 had the same buying power as $447 does today.

Things were not cheaper then relative to what your income was at the. If I deflate my current income to 1965 levels, it's under $10,000. Is it so hard to understand the concept?

I can still take my sweetie to dinner and a movie for the inflation adjusted equivalent of 1965's $8. In 1965, I had a part time gig in the UC Santa Barbara dining commons. It paid $1.56/hour. If it had been a full time job at that rate, I would have been making $3245/year (the equivalent of $24,180 in today's terms). I'm retired now. Our current income on an inflation adjusted basis is more than 3 times that.  In REAL terms, I'm much better off now than then.

Andre

PS. In 2012 we bought a 2012 Honda CR-V EX.  Deflating what we paid for the car back to 1965 levels, it cost us, on an inflation adjusted basis, $350 more than my parents' Buick. For the extra $350 (adjusted of course), we got 4 wheel disc brakes, power windows, rear view camera, Blue Tooth, cruise control, air conditions, power moon roof, 30 more horsepower (from 2 fewer cylinders), intermittent wipers, fog lamps, and 50% better highway fuel mileage.

I lived through the "good old days". They weren't that good

 

 

 

 

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by andrechapelon on Monday, March 30, 2015 12:00 AM

Exactly, but even the new ones I buy loose the rigid plastic trucks and plastic couplers in favor of my prefered equipment. But the new rigid trucks with the metal wheel sets sell really well on Ebay, right along with the Bachmann DCC decoders I remove.......... 

Oh for the good old days of Central Valley trucks. Not cheap, but they were probably the best ones ever manufactured. I heard the molds got destroyed when they were being transported from one site to another.

Andre

 

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, March 30, 2015 5:22 AM

BRAKIE
 
andrechapelon
Why? $60 today is the equivalent of $8.05 in 1965. By the time you assembled a Walthers kit together including trucks, couplers, super details , interior, etc., in 1965, you would have been well over $8. Andre

 

The truth be known very few modelers took those steps or bought a AHM passenger car for $2.99 at Woolco.Back in the 60s the  majority of the modelers was still using X2F couplers.It was a different hobby.

If you going to the 60s as examples remember that $8 could buy a lot of stuff including taking your teenage sweetie to diner and a movie.

That $60.00 would buy you a brass steam engine or two brass diesels.

Or that $60.00 would pay your  monthly rent or buy a month's supply of groceries.

$60.00 today don't buy very much like it did in the 60s.

Those often quoted feel good "inflation calculators" don't tell you that.

 

Every body I knew in the hobby in 1968 was using kadee couplers?

And lots of people were building Walthers passenger cars and Silver Streak freight car kits, myself included - I was only 11.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, March 30, 2015 6:58 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Every body I knew in the hobby in 1968 was using kadee couplers? And lots of people were building Walthers passenger cars and Silver Streak freight car kits, myself included - I was only 11.

I know for a fact X2F couplers was still very popular in the 60s.The Columbus Model Railroad Club didn't adapt KD couplers as a club standard until after the move in 68..

Athearn and Roundhouse cars had all but replace those wooden car kits simply because they was easier to build and looked so much better.

AHM passenger cars was far better then the Walthers as far as detail-as limited as it was.

One could safely say the hobby started shifting in the 60s from locomotive  and wooden car kits to the better plastic cars and locomotives..Brass steam engines was all the rage.

We had fun times back then since many new modeling and layout ideas was being presented..Realistic operation was getting a strong foot hold too.

During the early 60's I was a teenager and after 1966 a young brakeman.I remember the 60s well..

Never did become a hippie though..

--------------------------------------------------------

Andre,I don't put much stock in those feel good "inflation calculators" since you can't really compare today's dollar on yesteryears.Today's dollar  just don't buy as much today as the dollar did back then.

 

 

 

Larry

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Posted by jecorbett on Monday, March 30, 2015 8:17 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
 
jecorbett
 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
 
Lone Wolf and Santa Fe

While this hobby is more expensive than some hobbies it is cheaper than others. Skiing is one of my hobbies which is more expensive than model railroading. Lift tickets cost a days pay, plus gasoline, lodging, skis, clothing and accessories. Music is another of my hobbies which is more expensive. Guitars cost far more than digital locos, plus amplifiers, effects, microphones, mixers, and PAs. And then there is my muscle car hobby. I just dropped $10,000 into my camaro and it could use another $10,000. That could buy a lot of boxcars. Did I mention how much my RV costs or the fact that it costs $1 a mile to drive it?

What is sad about this hobby is that it used to be you built everything from a kit. Now you pay some factory worker in a foreign country to have your fun.

On the other hand, riding my bike at the beach and girl watching cost almost nothing!

 

 

 

But back in the day this hobby only attracted those who thought building a kit was was fun - today that is not the case.

Today there are a vast number of people in the hobby who do not enjoy building the models.

Read this forum, that issue alone in another one of the "great divides" that has the hobby more fragmented than ever.

Sheldon 

 

 

 

While I won't say I enjoy kit building, it's not a part of the hobby I hate. I still buy lots of Accurail. I can throw one of those together in 10 minues with KD 148s and P2K wheel sets. 15 minutes if I take the time to weather it.

Structure building I find a little more tedious, especially the ones that have the detail molded on and have to be hand painted. To me that is about as enjoyable as root canal.

 

 

 

Wow, I mean no disrepect, but as I have said in the past, you are not in the same hobby as me, or at best you are in a completely different version of it.

While I buy my share of RTR, very little of it reaches the layout without some personal touch or modification.

I like running trains, but the real pleasure is creating the whole thing - the layout, the structures, the scenery, the controls, and most importantly the trains and the imaginary premise under which they exist.

Again, no disrepect, I understand how the hobby has evolved and diversified. Actually, I have cut back on the "social" side of the hobby because I found myself having less and less in common with the modelers I was spending time with.

I don't have much interest in what other people buy, I'm much more interested in what they have built or created.

Sheldon

 

To me the creation is in how the various components are put together to create a unique railroad. My layout consists of a combination of kit built and RTR rolling stock and both kit built and ready built structures. I've never built a locomotive from a kit nor laid an inch of handlaid track and have no desire to ever do so. You could give ten modelers the same locos, rolling stock, structures and track that I have and they would all create a completely different railroad. A kit is nothing but a collection of components. So too is a layout regardless of what components go into it. Since a kit is designed to go together just one way, it could be argued that there is far more creativity in the way the various components of the layout are arranged since there are far more choices to be made.   

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, March 30, 2015 8:59 AM

To me the creation is in how the various components are put together to create a unique railroad. My layout consists of a combination of kit built and RTR rolling stock and both kit built and ready built structures. I've never built a locomotive from a kit nor laid an inch of handlaid track and have no desire to ever do so. You could give ten modelers the same locos, rolling stock, structures and track that I have and they would all create a completely different railroad. A kit is nothing but a collection of components. So too is a layout regardless of what components go into it. Since a kit is designed to go together just one way, it could be argued that there is far more creativity in the way the various components of the layout are arranged since there are far more choices to be made. 

I agree that how the whole thing is put togther is the most important/creative part. But kits don't just "go together one way" and in most cases should be modified, customized or kit bashed to fit the situation, especialy structures, but locos and rolling stock as well.

I did hand lay track, I still do for special situations. I take "basic" kits, like the Athearn BB 50' piggyback cars, and rather than just "snap" them together the way Athearn designed them, I modifiy them to be more correct, and to add the variety that exisited among that type of car in its era.

I use mostly Athearn passenger cars - but they are far from stock - lots of details and mods to make them better.

I much prefer that kind of approach rather than waiting/hoping/preordering that the models I want will be manufactured one day.

Not the best pictures, model photography is a skill I need to improve, but a few examples none the less.

 

 This is a heavy Mikado kit bashed from a Bachmann 2-8-4 - fictional but very simialar to the ones owned by the DT&I

 

 

 

Most of my current steam came RTR, but not one of them is "stock" - details changed, different tenders, different trailing trucks - all to give the ATLANTIC CENTRAL a "family feel" or to more accurately model the B&O, C&O and WM that interchange here.

Sheldon 

 

    

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, March 30, 2015 9:03 AM

I'm just finishing up adding a set of working crossing gates and flashers.  Between the gates, electronics and mechanical driver and linkage, I'm into this for about a hundred dollars.  I put a set of flashers only at another crossing for $50.

But, I could have easily spent twice as much.  I could have bought more expensive gates, or ready-built flashers instead of the Oregon Rail Supply kit.  There are far more expensive electronics packages around, too, and I could have bought my Tortoise and linkages for MSRP instead of clicking on M.B. Klein.

Have patience and observe, Grasshopper, and bargains will come to you.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by jecorbett on Monday, March 30, 2015 3:30 PM

MisterBeasley

I'm just finishing up adding a set of working crossing gates and flashers.  Between the gates, electronics and mechanical driver and linkage, I'm into this for about a hundred dollars.  I put a set of flashers only at another crossing for $50.

But, I could have easily spent twice as much.  I could have bought more expensive gates, or ready-built flashers instead of the Oregon Rail Supply kit.  There are far more expensive electronics packages around, too, and I could have bought my Tortoise and linkages for MSRP instead of clicking on M.B. Klein.

Have patience and observe, Grasshopper, and bargains will come to you.

 

I remember when I did a cost estimate a few years ago and I figured between the flashers, the crossing gates, a controller for the flashers, a Tortise for the gates, and  automatic detectors for a double track mainline, I could have spent around $200 for a single crossing. That was a budget buster. I think the components have gotten a little cheaper now, but still  more than I want to spend. I have since put in a few flashers which turn on with a slide switch rather than automated. I have a few crossing gates but a raise and lower them manually right now. I do have some Tortises but just haven't gotten to installing them on the crossing gates. That's one of those one-of-these-days projects.   

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Posted by jecorbett on Monday, March 30, 2015 3:36 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

To me the creation is in how the various components are put together to create a unique railroad. My layout consists of a combination of kit built and RTR rolling stock and both kit built and ready built structures. I've never built a locomotive from a kit nor laid an inch of handlaid track and have no desire to ever do so. You could give ten modelers the same locos, rolling stock, structures and track that I have and they would all create a completely different railroad. A kit is nothing but a collection of components. So too is a layout regardless of what components go into it. Since a kit is designed to go together just one way, it could be argued that there is far more creativity in the way the various components of the layout are arranged since there are far more choices to be made. 

I agree that how the whole thing is put togther is the most important/creative part. But kits don't just "go together one way" and in most cases should be modified, customized or kit bashed to fit the situation, especialy structures, but locos and rolling stock as well.

I did hand lay track, I still do for special situations. I take "basic" kits, like the Athearn BB 50' piggyback cars, and rather than just "snap" them together the way Athearn designed them, I modifiy them to be more correct, and to add the variety that exisited among that type of car in its era.

I use mostly Athearn passenger cars - but they are far from stock - lots of details and mods to make them better.

I much prefer that kind of approach rather than waiting/hoping/preordering that the models I want will be manufactured one day.

Not the best pictures, model photography is a skill I need to improve, but a few examples none the less.

 

 

 This is a heavy Mikado kit bashed from a Bachmann 2-8-4 - fictional but very simialar to the ones owned by the DT&I

 

 

 

 

Most of my current steam came RTR, but not one of them is "stock" - details changed, different tenders, different trailing trucks - all to give the ATLANTIC CENTRAL a "family feel" or to more accurately model the B&O, C&O and WM that interchange here.

Sheldon 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess that's the big advantage to being a freelancer. I don't have any need or desire to be true to a prototype. My layout is the prototype. Generic equipment works fine for me. Other than coupler and wheel replacements, the only personal touch I put on a piece of rolling stock is the weathering. I even allow myself to cheat. My layout is set in 1956 but Jade Green NYC boxcars have been seen on my layout and there have even been reports of some 1959 Fords being spotted.

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Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 12:54 AM

Just for a giggle, I took the BLS inflation calculator back to 1915 (100 years ago). Athearn's new NP Challenger would have an MSRP of $27.11 back then and Brakie could take his sweetie to dinner and a movie (preferably a Mack Sennett Keystone Kops flick) for around $2.60. Average wage was $687/year (just under $16,000 in today's dollars).     

It's not what a dollar will buy that's germane in any age, but how many dollars in income you get compared to the overall price level.

Some more info on then vs. now: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/01/02/a-glimpse-at-your-expenses-100-years-ago 

Andre

P.S. In 1954, a color TV would have cost you $1,000 or about $8,725 in today's money. A couple of months ago, we picked up a 40" Samsung HD TV for $450. My wife and I are splitting the $8275.  My $4137.50 is going for trains (but not an NP Challenger)  Laugh

 

 

 

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 7:22 AM

andrechapelon
It's not what a dollar will buy that's germane in any age, but how many dollars in income you get compared to the overall price level.

True enough but,there was lots of high paying blue collar jobs back then-unless one actually wanted a low paying job.

When I was 15-I lied about my age and thankfully they never checked-I was making $35-50.00 a day unloading boxcars which wasn't easy money.The $50.00 was unloading lumber by the board foot..The faster you worked the more you made.The slower you work,well, you started loosing money.

A good week I was bringhing home $140.00 after taxes.A tidy sum for  a 15 year old in 1963...I must say that was my hardest summer job but,I wanted to buy some brass diesel engines.

Larry

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Posted by jecorbett on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 9:11 AM

andrechapelon

Just for a giggle, I took the BLS inflation calculator back to 1915 (100 years ago). Athearn's new NP Challenger would have an MSRP of $27.11 back then and Brakie could take his sweetie to dinner and a movie (preferably a Mack Sennett Keystone Kops flick) for around $2.60. Average wage was $687/year (just under $16,000 in today's dollars).     

It's not what a dollar will buy that's germane in any age, but how many dollars in income you get compared to the overall price level.

Some more info on then vs. now: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/01/02/a-glimpse-at-your-expenses-100-years-ago 

Andre

P.S. In 1954, a color TV would have cost you $1,000 or about $8,725 in today's money. A couple of months ago, we picked up a 40" Samsung HD TV for $450. My wife and I are splitting the $8275.  My $4137.50 is going for trains (but not an NP Challenger)  Laugh

 

 

 

 

A long time ago, somebody explained a very simple thing to me that seems obvious but is lost on a lot of people. Inflation is not a rise in wages and prices. It is a devaluation of the currency. In order to get the same goods and services, you have to pay more devalued dollars.

Then there are items which truly do become cheaper. This is usually new technologies such as the color TV you mentioned. Those who want to be among the first to get something are going to be paying a premium to cover the cost of the R&D that went into it. Once those costs are recovered, manufacturers are able to produce those items much more cheaply and prices fall. Around 1985 I bought one of the earliest MacIntosh computers. 512K of memory and a tiny little monochrome screen. Data was stored on the 3.5 inch floppies. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. I paid $2800 for it which would be over $6000 in today's dollars and it had only a small fraction of the computing power of today's PCs which sell for about a 10th of what the Mac cost in inflation adjusted dollars. We get so much more for so much less.   

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 9:51 AM

jecorbett
 
andrechapelon

Just for a giggle, I took the BLS inflation calculator back to 1915 (100 years ago). Athearn's new NP Challenger would have an MSRP of $27.11 back then and Brakie could take his sweetie to dinner and a movie (preferably a Mack Sennett Keystone Kops flick) for around $2.60. Average wage was $687/year (just under $16,000 in today's dollars).     

It's not what a dollar will buy that's germane in any age, but how many dollars in income you get compared to the overall price level.

Some more info on then vs. now: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/01/02/a-glimpse-at-your-expenses-100-years-ago 

Andre

P.S. In 1954, a color TV would have cost you $1,000 or about $8,725 in today's money. A couple of months ago, we picked up a 40" Samsung HD TV for $450. My wife and I are splitting the $8275.  My $4137.50 is going for trains (but not an NP Challenger)  Laugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

A long time ago, somebody explained a very simple thing to me that seems obvious but is lost on a lot of people. Inflation is not a rise in wages and prices. It is a devaluation of the currency. In order to get the same goods and services, you have to pay more devalued dollars.

Then there are items which truly do become cheaper. This is usually new technologies such as the color TV you mentioned. Those who want to be among the first to get something are going to be paying a premium to cover the cost of the R&D that went into it. Once those costs are recovered, manufacturers are able to produce those items much more cheaply and prices fall. Around 1985 I bought one of the earliest MacIntosh computers. 512K of memory and a tiny little monochrome screen. Data was stored on the 3.5 inch floppies. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. I paid $2800 for it which would be over $6000 in today's dollars and it had only a small fraction of the computing power of today's PCs which sell for about a 10th of what the Mac cost in inflation adjusted dollars. We get so much more for so much less.   

 

EXACTLY!

Most normal basic things stay about the same price adjusted for "devaluation of the currency" - houses, cars, food, clothes.

New tech does just what Andre and you pointed out.

SOMETIMES, market conditions hold some prices artifically low - like oil in the 1990's - or Athearn Blue Box kits in the 1980's......


Sometimes some items are artificaly high - because of mismatched supply and demand.

Lesson from history:

If you had $650 in face value US gold coins in 1930 - you could buy a new car (loaded model A FORD), and for an additional $50 in gold coin, you could put gas in all year.

Today, if you have $650 in face value US gold coins, you can still buy a new car, and the extra $50 will still run it all year.

Those gold coins are worth at least $38,000 in Federal Reserve Notes.

The $50 is $2900 in Federal Reserve Notes.

Considering how long they last, the features they have, and comfort and safety they offer, my $48,000 FORD Flex, or any new car today, is a bargin compared to 1930.

Point is the gold and the car still have very similar values - the Federal Reserve Notes - not so much.

And as Andre pointed out earlier, the amount of work one had to do back then for this "value" was similar to today.

The average anual wage in 1930 was similar to the value of an average car, and today the mean average anual wage is similar to the price of an average car - amazing!

There is one catch - taxes in 1930, on middle class people, were less than 5% of their income. Today.............

So your purchasing power did NOT get stolen by the bankers or the robber barons........

So for all these reasons and more, model trains are no more expensive than they ever were, and in the 1990's they were likely the cheapest they have EVER been.

Want to be wealthy? Buy land, they are not making and more of it. Don't borrow money unless it is absolutely necessary. Strive to be debt free.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 10:15 AM

Steven Otte

No matter how many threads there already are on the topic of how expensive the hobby is, people always want to start a new one, so here's what we're going to do.

If you want to complain about how much more it costs to be a model railroader now compared to way back when boxcars were selling for 49 cents and two Weetabix box-tops, this is where you do it.

Any other such threads will be merged into this thread, to make it that much easier to ignore.

Now, rant away. SoapBox

 

LOL

Rich

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Posted by jecorbett on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 10:39 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Want to be wealthy? Buy land, they are not making and more of it. Don't borrow money unless it is absolutely necessary. Strive to be debt free.

Sheldon

 

 

This last piece of advice should be hammered into the heads of every kid before he graduates high school but unfortunately isn't unless it is learned from his or her parents. Sadly, most of those parents never learned it either. I had to learn it the hard way. Back in the 1970s when I was just starting in my profession as computer programmer, credit cards were easily obtained and made it so easy to buy things I didn't have the cash for (a lot of it went to MR stuff). Interest rates were about 18% on credit cards but inflation was running 10-12% so I told myself I was repaying them in inflated dollars, which was true, and I could deduct the full 18% interest charges from my taxes so it seemed to me the credit was pretty cheap. Then came the 1980s and they did away with interest deductions on just about everything except mortgages and inflation was brought under control. Suddenly those credit cards didn't look so cheap but by then I was pretty much maxed out. I got a debt consolidation loan and took several years to pay it off. After that, I continued to use credit cars as a convenience but I always paid them off in full each month so I didn't pay any interest. Carrying credit card debt and paying high interest rates are like burning money. Borrowing should be limited to major purchases such as a house or a car and when you get those paid off, don't feel you need to go out and buy a bigger fancier one of either. Instead start socking that extra cash away for your kid's tuition or your retirement. Most people won't get rich quick but most people can get rich slowly over time using common sense money management.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 3:41 PM

Skipping lightly over the misuse of devaluation above. 

The real problem in terms of the hobby is how much you have left over after covering basic necessities such as rent/mortgage, utilities, healthcare, food, etc..  Otherwise known as discretionary income or dollars that can be spent on dining out, hobbies, entertainment such as movies, football games, and other non-necessities.  Unfortunately for the hobby, the middle class has been losing ground both in terms of income (adjusted for inflation) and necessities such as healthcare that rise faster than inflation as measured by the CPI.  Discretionary spending is the first to be affected - i.e spend less on trains.

Having less to spend on trains will make them much more expensive in relative terms.  That is relative to you and what you can spend.

You can of course buy at train shows, eBay, etc. where trains of yesterday are available for low prices - sometimes lower than actual cost 10 or 20 years ago.  This is an advantage of model railroading over other things like football tickets or movies tickets or greens fees, etc.

Paul

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 4:00 PM

BRAKIE

The truth be known very few modelers took those steps or bought a AHM passenger car for $2.99 at Woolco.Back in the 60s the  majority of the modelers was still using X2F couplers.It was a different hobby.

If you going to the 60s as examples remember that $8 could buy a lot of stuff including taking your teenage sweetie to diner and a movie.

That $60.00 would buy you a brass steam engine or two brass diesels.

Or that $60.00 would pay your  monthly rent or buy a month's supply of groceries.

$60.00 today don't buy very much like it did in the 60s.

Those often quoted feel good "inflation calculators" don't tell you that.

 

 
What the actual heck?

Do you even know what inflation MEANS??  Because your post makes no fluffing sense at all.

$8 in 1965 would buy you the same as $60 today.  That's what it means.

Period.
 
 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 4:04 PM

IRONROOSTER

Having less to spend on trains will make them much more expensive in relative terms.  That is relative to you and what you can spend.

Paul

 

 
 
Halleluja, somebody who understands basic economics.
 
Next lesson, building on Paul's excellent foundation:

1) Model railroad items are luxury goods.
2) The way you price luxury goods is to keep increasing price as long as production runs sell out.
3) Production runs are still selling out, therefore manufacturers keep raising prices.
 
And don't give me any codswallop about the "good of the hobby."  The rules above are sound economic planning.  And back in 1987 when I got my MBA we had a secret, esoteric, technical term for companies that didn't pay attention to sound economic planning.

That term is "out of business."
 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 4:12 PM

IRONROOSTER

Skipping lightly over the misuse of devaluation above. 

The real problem in terms of the hobby is how much you have left over after covering basic necessities such as rent/mortgage, utilities, healthcare, food, etc..  Otherwise known as discretionary income or dollars that can be spent on dining out, hobbies, entertainment such as movies, football games, and other non-necessities.  Unfortunately for the hobby, the middle class has been losing ground both in terms of income (adjusted for inflation) and necessities such as healthcare that rise faster than inflation as measured by the CPI.  Discretionary spending is the first to be affected - i.e spend less on trains.

Having less to spend on trains will make them much more expensive in relative terms.  That is relative to you and what you can spend.

You can of course buy at train shows, eBay, etc. where trains of yesterday are available for low prices - sometimes lower than actual cost 10 or 20 years ago.  This is an advantage of model railroading over other things like football tickets or movies tickets or greens fees, etc.

Paul

 

Paul,

As we drift into the political side of this issue.......

Declining purchasing power is not the fault or under the control of model train manufacturers, it hurts them as much as it hurts their customers. I think I outlined who is responsable for that.....

But all those issues, and the issue of the use/misuse of the term devaluation, are a topic for a different forum.

Sheldon

PS - the CPI is not the "real" rate of inflation or devaluation. 

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 4:19 PM

Bayfield Transfer Railway
 
IRONROOSTER

Having less to spend on trains will make them much more expensive in relative terms.  That is relative to you and what you can spend.

Paul

 

 

 
 
Halleluja, somebody who understands basic economics.
 
Next lesson, building on Paul's excellent foundation:

1) Model railroad items are luxury goods.
2) The way you price luxury goods is to keep increasing price as long as production runs sell out.
3) Production runs are still selling out, therefore manufacturers keep raising prices.
 
And don't give me any codswallop about the "good of the hobby."  The rules above are sound economic planning.  And back in 1987 when I got my MBA we had a secret, esoteric, technical term for companies that didn't pay attention to sound economic planning.

That term is "out of business."
 
 

 

Gee, I don't have an MBA, but I live in a paid for house, drive a paid for car, and have been in business for myself most of my life........since before 1987.

But I seriously doubt that model train manufacturers are just "seeing what the market will bare", because there is almost always some guy who will take the other approach and sell at lower prices, and I don't see that guy anywhere in this market.

Sheldon   

    

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Posted by floridaflyer on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 5:44 PM

In 1965, an auto worker, who was considered highly paid, was earning $2.73 per hour. Those jobs, and others like them, were the backbone of the middle class. Seems like poverty wages to us now, but at the time it allowed people to support families and purchase needs and wants. Easy to quote past low prices, but they must be compared to the earning power of the folks back then. As with anything, some things have gotten relatively cheaper, others more expensive. As a retiree my retirement in in excess of 10 times my starting wage. I am more comfortable now than at any other time. I do choke at the thought of paying close to $100.00 for a lighted caboose and a Y6 I saw at the hobby shop today was going for $640.00. But fortunately most of what I need or desire is way more inexpensive than that. Compared to other hobbies I don't think pricing is too bad, and the opportunities for bargan hunting are huge. I find it a challenge to hunt out bargans at shows, it is part of the fun. 

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 8:04 PM

Let's all calm down fellows.  From one who was there in the early 1960s, I think it is enough to say that some stuff that seems cheap to us (brass engines being one good example) certainly did not seem cheap at the time.  $50!  But Athearn seemed reasonably priced then and now, and perhaps those who worked and were not school age regarded it as cheap at the time.  Balsa wood seemed cheap even to me as a school kid.

The answer is not to be found just in inflation adjustment calculators but rather in changing views about what things were worth.  Some of those who choked on the idea of a $50 or $100 brass locomotive were comparing it in their mind to the time and effort it would take to scratchbuild such a locomotive.  Few of us go through that particular mental comparison today.  

 

To put things in some perspective, back when a McDonalds hamburger was 18 cents it seemed reasonable, even cheap.  They still seem cheap today at the current price, which may indeed be cheaper on a relative basis than it was back then.

 

No matter what Mad Magazine charged, the cover always insisted it was cheap.

Dave Nelson 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 8:35 PM

In 1965, an auto worker, who was considered highly paid, was earning $2.73 per hour.

And that's the equivalent of someone earning $20.34/hour today. Assuming a 40 hour work week and 2 weeks paid vacation with no overtime, that's $42,307.20/year today.

Athearn's MSRP for the upcoming modernized SP MT-4 4-8-2 (DC only, to make it comparable to the unpainted Balboa brass engine back in 1965) is $319.98. The equivalent 1965 price is $42.94. The Balboa brass engine went for $59.95 ($446.72 in today's money). IOW, Athearn's MSRP for its painted and lettered version is, on an inflation adjusted basis, $17.00 less in 1965 prices and $126.74 in today's prices. When you consider the Athearn engine will have a street of around $266 ($35.70 in 1965), it's a screaming bargain.

Andre

 

 

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by PM Railfan on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 9:08 PM

I yelled "FIRE" when I fell into the chocolate because no one would save me if I yelled "CHOCOLATE"!!!!!  "

 

Laugh  Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh.   Thats a really cool slogan.

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Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 9:22 PM

Gee, I don't have an MBA, but I live in a paid for house, drive a paid for car, and have been in business for myself most of my life........since before 1987.

Same here (except for being self employed), and trust me, no one wants to hear my opinion of MBA's. I did meet one once I could actually respect, but he had 15 years of  real world business experience before getting the degree and only did it to have the piece of paper to wave around to hypnotize clueless senior managers.

Both my wife and myself are inherently cheapskates. It's not that we're unwilling to spend money, it means that we think about it long and hard before we do. It's amazing how little you can live on if you have no debt, even in a high cost area of the country. If you don't have debt, you don't need income to service that debt. As for the tax "savings" for a mortgage, forget it. You're paying $1 in interest to save cents in taxes.

Andre

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 9:29 PM

PM Railfan

I yelled "FIRE" when I fell into the chocolate because no one would save me if I yelled "CHOCOLATE"!!!!!  "

 

Laugh  Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh.   Thats a really cool slogan.

It's from an old Smothers Brothers routine.

Andre

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by jecorbett on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 9:37 PM

dknelson

Let's all calm down fellows.  From one who was there in the early 1960s, I think it is enough to say that some stuff that seems cheap to us (brass engines being one good example) certainly did not seem cheap at the time.  $50!  But Athearn seemed reasonably priced then and now, and perhaps those who worked and were not school age regarded it as cheap at the time.  Balsa wood seemed cheap even to me as a school kid.

The answer is not to be found just in inflation adjustment calculators but rather in changing views about what things were worth.  Some of those who choked on the idea of a $50 or $100 brass locomotive were comparing it in their mind to the time and effort it would take to scratchbuild such a locomotive.  Few of us go through that particular mental comparison today.  

 

To put things in some perspective, back when a McDonalds hamburger was 18 cents it seemed reasonable, even cheap.  They still seem cheap today at the current price, which may indeed be cheaper on a relative basis than it was back then.

 

No matter what Mad Magazine charged, the cover always insisted it was cheap.

Dave Nelson 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I first heard of MacDonald's in the early 1960s hamburgers were 15 cents apiece. It was up to 20 cents when I took my first job with them in 1968 at $1.15 an hour. Drink choices were limited to Coke, root beer, orange (no diet), coffee or 3 flavors of shakes. Two sizes of soft drinks, small and large and the large was 16oz. I think that is the small now. Sandwich choices were hamburger, cheeseburger, Big Mac,filet-o-fish or roast beef(which was a short lived experiment). One size of french fries which we made from scratch. Except for filet-o-fish which is about 50% more expensive, everything else today is pretty much what it used to be if you adjust for inflation.

I would guess that 90% of the things we routinely buy are about the same. There are outliers which do to greater or lesser supply are more or less expensive than they used to be. Gasoline is the commodity that seems to have the greatest price swings. Right now gasoline costs about what it did when I started driving in 1969. My Olds 88 got a whopping 8mph. We've gone through periods where gasoline has cost much more and others where it was quite a bit cheaper. I remember the last time I bought it for lest than a buck a gallon was early last decade. That was right before it spiked to around $1.70. Last month using my Kroger discount points which took 30 cents off the price I filled up for $1.55.

The great thing about a free market economy is no one forces you to buy anything. If you think someone is charging too much don't buy it. Or as the long time host of the #1 morning radio show in Columbus, OH put it, "If you think a company is making excess profits, buy their stock".

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 9:40 PM

Bayfield Transfer Railway
8 in 1965 would buy you the same as $60 today. That's what it means.

That $8.00 would buy a lot but,not as much as $60.00 today if you watch your spending.

You may think that but,you would be mistaken.$8.00 would buy some things but,try feeding your family on $8.00 unless your planing on eating one meal a day.

To many relies on that feel good inflation calculator or what some professor taught them..I lived back then..Times was good with high paying jobs but,the cost of living was on equal bases--just like today.

Nothing changed all that much.You,provide for your family,pay your bills and spend alloted cash for hobbies.The middle class complain back then too.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Stay Alert, Don't get hurt  Safety First!"

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Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 10:00 PM

To many relies on that feel good inflation calculator or what some professor taught them..I lived back then..Times was good with high paying jobs but,the cost of living was on equal bases--just like today.

Feel good has nothing to do with it and I speak from personal experience, not what some professor taught me. I lived back then, too and I just use the BLS inflation calculator to check on the accuracy of what I remember.

You may think that but,you would be mistaken.$8.00 would buy some things but,try feeding your family on $8.00 unless your planing on eating one meal a day.

My mother did just that. She spent $50/week on groceries back then. There were 5 of us kids, so she fed all 7 in the family for a shade over $7/day or $1/per person/day. The current equivalent would be about $7.50/person/day. That pretty much corresponds to what we pay for meals prepared at home on average.

Andre

 

 

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.

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