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What would Don Draper pay?

The cost of our favorite ad guy's lifestyle has shot up since he dominated Madison Avenue creativity 5 decades ago. What would it cost Don today?

By Karen Datko Mar 22, 2012 4:24PM

Don Draper, our favorite among TV's "Mad Men," had a somewhat lavish lifestyle -- a Cadillac Coup de Ville, a lovely house in Westchester County (before the divorce), not to mention all the Lucky Strikes, Old Fashioneds and a stash of dry-cleaned shirts at the office, just in case he didn't make it home for the night.


He didn't live like Roger Sterling, who inherited his substantial wealth. But Don clearly didn't track every penny he spent.


In honor of the long-awaited return of "Mad Men" to AMC for Season 5, Credit Sesame, the source of a free "educational" credit score, compared what Don's noteworthy purchases cost in 1962 or thereabouts with what they'd be today. It's eye-opening.


Some examples:

  • Gasoline. About 22 gallons cost Don $6.91, which, adjusted for inflation in 2012 dollars, would be $51.86. Reality check: That gas would actually cost Don about $85 right now.
  • The house. Don would have spent $15,300 for the suburban house (Don's house was in Ossining, N.Y., but Credit Sesame provides a White Plains 1960 median price -- close enough.) The median home price there now is $363,000. Bonus detail: The 1960 price, adjusted for inflation, would be only $117,161.
  • Round-trip ticket between New York City and Los Angeles. Don would have paid $225 in 1960. That round-trip ticket now costs $325. Here's a shocker: The inflation-adjusted 1960 price would be nearly $1,723. It seems the airlines are providing a heckuva deal.
  • Cigarettes. That 35-cent pack of Lucky Strikes would be $11 now in Manhattan.

Credit Sesame: From the desk of Don Draper


You can find a larger and more detailed version of the graphic here.


More on MSN Money:

Mar 22, 2012 6:16PM

But what if you don't have Don Draper’s sense of style, rugged good looks or exaggerated sense of self-worth? I don't, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to miss out on some authentic Mad Men-style partying.  I've been archiving original promo cocktail party planning pamphlets from the early 60s and I've got the perfect party planner with swinging vintage hors d'oeuvres and cocktail recipes displayed with real Mad Men-era style. I especially like the Avocado Dip (like a frothy guacamole) and a Moscow Mule to wash it down. Here’s my guide to throwing the perfect 60s vintage cocktail party: www [dot] TheVodkaParty [dot] com

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