Note: Tracking the origins for the majority of popular sayings isn't easy, in fact, it's often impossible. Usually what you will find are plausible theories that try to explain a phrase's origin, but remember, they are just theories.
The quotes on this website come from older books, poems, newspapers, etc. They can be used as an indicator to determine how old some of these sayings are. Keep in mind, however, that if a saying is being used in an old newspaper, it's probably already well-known, so it's likely older than that.
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knowyourphrase.com - Meanings and Origins of Phrases
Practical or humble; unpretentious; reasonable.
The source of this phrase is not certain. By the looks of it, this phrase looks to
have emerged somewhere within the early 20th century, as that is the earliest
I could find of this expression appearing in writing. For example, in the Newark
Advocate newspaper from 1922, there is a section in the paper about women's
clothing and the idiom is used to describe their so-called practical prices:
"Here are four groups of worth-while garments at 'down to earth' prices."
This saying is used in an identical way, written in the Sandusky Star Journal newspaper, 1935:
"And, while our fashions are as new as tomorrow, our prices are the good down-to-earth prices that
save you money."
Thus, this idiom was a way to describe how the costs of things were both reasonable and affordable for the average consumer.
Reference: Newspaperarchive had digital copies of the newspapers with the phrases in the quote above.
* My car broken down and I had to take it in to the repair shop. I thought it would cost me an exorbant amount of money, but their prices were down to earth and very reasonable.