I suspect that you are much younger than me. When I was a young man with a young family things you call necessities were not necessities. Lived in a rented mobile home, drove an old VW bug, didn’t have health insurance but since insurance hadn’t driven up cost that was not a big deal. Cell phones, cable TV and internet didn’t exist. People didn’t have thousands of dollars worth of ink on their skin. Credit was harder to get so we lived within our means instead of accumulating debt. Middle class then and now.