In many ways, times were very tough. The war began in Europe in 1939, and while US was not yet "in" the war, it definitely affected many Americans with relatives in Europe, or business interests in Europe. Not yet recovered from a decade of the Depression. Then came war with millions off to fight, hundreds of thousands of deaths, rationing, and shortages of all kinds of products. People often started their own gardens for food (most continued gardens started during the Depression!). For lack of gasoline rations, tire rations, etc, public transportation was essential, crowded, slow. At war end, jobs were again hard to find, and women had to be "encouraged" to quit their jobs to open jobs for returning military. Manufacturing disruptions, trying to get back into consumer goods from military needs, meant limited manufacturing jobs for a couple of years. Severe housing shortage, thus the invention of "Levittowns" - tiny houses on tiny plots for newlyweds. It took until the end of the 1940s to really start recovering from the Depression of the 1930s and the war.
Imagine a world without TV, only radio. 48-hour standard work week (6 days a week), and 75 cents/hr was very good pay, if you could get it. If you had 5-6 dresses, or 5-6 dress shirts to wear to work, you were affluent. Many washed out their clothes one night after work, ironed them the next, to have enough clean clothes for the work week. If you could sew, you could make a cotton chintz dress for about $3, and afford a couple a year (after the war, when you could get fabrics again). Familiar with those tiny closets, about 3 feet wide, single rail? That easily held all the clothing for a husband & wife. A chocolate bar was a nickel, but so was an egg, or a loaf of bread. Bringing home a straight-A report card at year-end might get you a reward of a chocolate bar! Safety net in any personal financial disaster was whatever your relatives might be able to help with.
Then came the Korean War.