Nostalgia hits us hard, reminding us of the good old times and the simplicity we once had. Today’s progressive world may bring us some awesome trends, but let’s not forget to raise a glass to the ‘90s, when life seemed simpler for most of us.
Here is the question that someone asked, “What is one thing from the ’90s that you miss?”
This got thousands of comments, but we have compiled the 20 most nostalgic items.
Ah, the glory of mixtapes! The ultimate expression of musical taste and a symbol of love, friendship, and rebellion.
Do you remember sitting by the radio, finger hovering over the record button, ready to capture your favorite jams? Or trading mixtapes with your buddies, discovering new tunes like a treasure hunt?
One user said, “Going through the cd cover on a first listen of a cd.”
Another commented, “Nothing like getting a new CD or two and chilling with a few (or several) bong hits.”
Nowadays, we have fancy streaming services and digital playlists, but they don’t hold a candle to the nostalgia-inducing awesomeness of a mixtape!
While mobile phones have undoubtedly revolutionized our lives, we can’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia for the landlines we left behind!
One person wrote, “In the 90s, your phone was attached to the wall in the kitchen. That was the only phone.”
Landlines were surely once the lifeline of our homes. So, let’s never forget the fun of speed-dialing, memorizing phone numbers, and showing off our telephonic skills to our friends!
3. Free Items
It’s time to take a groovy trip down memory lane to dive into the world of giveaways and free prizes!
Someone said, “Free stuff in general. We got free pizza hut and McDonald’s if we had all A’s on report cards.”
A user replied, “Gifts in cereal boxes. And real ones in happy meal, like a tiny radio.”
Another wrote, “Winning a free soda under the bottle cap.”
4. The Choice of Privacy
A user commented, “Four words to accurately describe what I was about to write an essay on. This. I miss not being expected to be reachable 24/7 by work, friends, family… it’s exhausting.”
Another replied, “No social media or mobile phones. If you wanted to disappear for the day, you could without anyone questioning it. D*mb stuff you did wasn’t recorded and uploaded online.”
In a world where privacy seems to be slipping through our fingers, it’s only natural to yearn for the days when our personal lives were truly personal!
5. Concerts Without Phones
Remember the time when we used to attend concerts for the sake of music and the energy of the crowd? We miss those moments when we could wholeheartedly focus on the live performance rather than record it for likes and views!
One Redditor shared their personal experience: “God, I just went to a concert, and the frontman made a video to play before asking not to film so that we can all enjoy and basically be a community. Guess what happened as soon as they came on? Phones and cameras came out, some with literal cam sticks. I was actually angry. I think it was because if you’re going to a concert, you’re paying to see someone you respect, and hopefully, you want to respect their wishes. I am also short and couldn’t see well even though I was pretty close.”
Without phones in hand, we danced and connected with the music in a way that was just pure. We didn’t need to worry about capturing the perfect video or taking the sharpest photo; we were fully present in the moment, feeling the music deep in our souls!
6. Family Time!
Someone said, “Yes, and watching tv with family. That seems to be something a lot of people no longer do anymore. Also, renting a movie and family gathers around the tv to enjoy it. I miss those days.”
Another added, “My kids (teenagers) and I still watch TV together fairly regularly. Probably helps that we didn’t have internet when they were little, so they grew up watching dvds as a family.”
Gathered around the TV, the whole family shared laughter, tears, and love together – a true ode to the ‘90s.
7. Food Prices
A user commented, “Man. I remember going grocery shopping with my mom, we’d pile the shopping cart high, and it was like forty bucks. I don’t think I even saw a fifty-dollar bill until I was like eight years old, and my grandpa busted one out to pay for dinner for our family at a nice restaurant. It was years before we got a Taco Bell, but when one finally opened, they had tacos for like 59¢ each. KFC had Toonie Tuesday, two bucks for a 2 piece meal with fries and a side. A sit-down restaurant called Rosie’s claim to fame was that nothing on their menu was over $4.99, even if you went Christmas Eve and got a full turkey dinner.”
Another replied, “And most of that food tasted like food…”
It’s clear that the food prices of the ‘90s hold a special place in our hearts—and our wallets!
8. No Social Media
In a world dominated by social media, we sometimes miss the bliss of living in the present moment. Don’t we all miss the freedom of enjoying a beautiful sunset without thinking about capturing the perfect Instagram shot?
As one Redditor responded, “So many things, but the biggest one is no social media.”
Another added, “Remember just having email? When actually receiving email was meaningful before spam? Equivalent to actually receiving a real letter from someone?”
Back in the ‘90s, cartoons were always the talk of the town.
Saturday mornings were like a sacred holiday. We’d roll out of bed, plop ourselves on the couch, and let the TV be our best friend for hours.
Someone wrote, “And on the big screen, you had hit after hit coming out. Disney had one of their strongest stretches ever in the 90s (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, etc.), and they were matched by all sorts of new up-and-comers looking to cash in (including some groundbreaking works by Pixar, then an independent studio).”
Another shared their throwback to the ‘90s: “I remember as a kid in the 90s I used to wake up really early around 4 am and the shows on Australian TVs on I think channel 7 on Saturdays were the Beverly hillbillies from 4:30-5, then 2 episodes of tom and jerry from 5-6 am then the Powerpuff girls. It was awesome.”
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and talk about something we all miss—cheap prices!
A user said, “That kid feeling of not understanding money, but there being enough to be happy. I went on a few vacations, always had a full pantry, and lived in a generally safe neighborhood. It all felt “standard.” Now I bust my a** trying to recreate this feeling for my family. But my husband has health issues, and even making okay-ish money for my area doesn’t get me the same middle class as what I had growing up.”
Another replied, “My grandpa was able to afford a nice 4 bedroom house, support a large family (wife, 4 kids, one grandkid), had 4 or 5 cars at a time, we were able to take trips to Disney world every year…all on one salary of under 6 figures. It really shows you how much the times have changed. I’m making almost as much as he was, and I can barely afford my apartment rent and two cats.”
A Redditor wrote, “an overwhelming sense of optimism for the future.”
Another responded, “Yup. My answer was going to be “hope,” but that works too.”
Someone else added, “This one hurts. Yes, hope. Now it’s despair. How am I supposed to live in this economy? Wages don’t rise, but the price of everything does.”
Arcades were more than just a place to play games—they were social hubs.
Someone said, “Proper arcades. Not “play for tickets for bad prizes” arcades, but back when the newest, hottest games (especially fighting games) would hit the arcade first, and you’d go there and pump tokens in with your friends. And then eventually get a cr**pier version as a home port. By far, the biggest thing I’m nostalgic for.”
While arcades may have faded into the background, their spirit lives on in the hearts of gamers everywhere!
13. Coffee Houses
A Reddit user wrote, “Independent coffee houses. EDIT: funky independent coffee houses with old chairs and sofas that were comfortable to hang out in for more than 10 minutes, yet you didn’t need to be a coffee connoisseur to fit in.”
Another added, “With big couches and cozy chairs? No smartphones, just talked with people?”
Stepping into a coffee house meant leaving our worries at the door and immersing ourselves in a haven of warmth and comfort. Don’t we all miss that?
14. The ‘90s NBA
The ‘90s NBA was a rough and tough game, no doubt. We’re talking about an era when ballers were straight-up legends who got our blood pumping and had us picking sides.
Someone wrote, “The ‘92 Dream Team is still the greatest collection of basketball talent ever put together. I’ve tried to explain to my kids how popular Michael Jordan was before we had social media or anything. He was the biggest athlete in the world.”
Another user replied, “90s NBA was unreal.”
15. The Clear Craze
Nostalgia plays a significant role in our love for clear electronics.
Remember when you’d look at your radio and see all the intricate wires inside of it? Transparent electronics had a unique charm and were quite the talk of the town in the ‘90s.
One user said, “Clear electronics. How have these not come back in style in some way? I realize we don’t have thick chunky house phones anymore, but come on, I’m begging.”
Another suggested their favorite clear gadgets: “Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, some iMac models, etc.”
Do you ever catch yourself daydreaming about the good old days when we felt safe and secure in the ‘90s? Ah, those were simpler times, weren’t they?
We could roam the streets without a care in the world, riding our bikes until dusk and playing games until our energy fizzled out.
One Redditor shared, “A general feeling of safety. Pre columbine. Pre 9/11. Pre-internet recording every damn thing you’ve done. Kids have it a lot tougher these days than we did.”
17. Being Face-to-Face
Remember when we could strike up conversations with total strangers and actually trust them? It was like the unwritten rule of the ‘90s—everyone was cool and looked out for each other.
Someone wrote, “Striking up conversations with a stranger without it seeming as “creep move.” I’m a woman, and I prefer to naturally strike up conversations since I don’t have social anxiety, nor am I an extrovert. Nowadays, everyone is behind their phones and shaking like a leaf with in-person interactions. Just makes me feel sad and missing the 90s/early 2000s.”
Another user added, “Human contact. Tech-free style”
A person commented, “Actual music videos on MTV.”
Another said, “R&B music like Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey”
A Redditor replied, “90’s rock, metal, and grunge. Well, I don’t miss it because I still listen to it, but I miss getting new albums in those specific styles.”
19. Being Young
As we take this wild ride down memory lane, it’s hard not to miss the good old days of being young and innocent in the ‘90s. Remember those carefree days when our only worries were picking the right cereal and catching our favorite cartoons?
One user said, “The blissful innocence of childhood and ignorance of adulthood.”
Others responded with: “My innocence” and “My childhood.”
20. The Economy
One user responded, “I miss the economy. It just wasn’t so hard. We came of age in the sweet spot. With a high school diploma, I was able to work an entry-level office job and rent my own apartment in 1993. I believed that if I just worked hard enough, everything would be ok. In 1994, I packed up a Uhaul and moved to Seattle by myself, with no job or place to live and only $1200 in my pocket. It never occurred to me that this was risky. Of course, there would be an apartment to rent, and of course, I would land a great job. And it worked out fine. I never worried about downsizing, layoffs, outsourcing, etc. If I could work, I could make it.
Now my own son is graduating college and still can’t afford to rent an apartment in the Seattle area even with a degree. The middle class is now something to aspire to for these young adults starting off on their own. You can work really hard, and there’s no guarantee that it will work out,” and we couldn’t agree more!
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.