There’s a cliché about grandparents loving to talk about how cheap everything was back in their day. And it’s true; many consumer goods cost considerably less back in the mid-century years than they do today. There were plenty of things you could buy for one dollar in 1940.
Adjusting for inflation, though, $1.00 in 1940 is worth about $19.00 as of this writing, in 2021. So, while some of the things you could buy for one dollar in 1940 might seem like a real bargain, they weren’t actually much cheaper than their going rate today. On the other hand, some of them were much more affordable than today, even adjusting for inflation.
And, if you’re interested for some other mid-century shopping value insight, we’ve also covered some things you could buy for one dollar in 1950.
What Could You Buy with a Buck in 1940?
1. 20 trips on the New York City subway, which cost a nickel for a one-way ride
2. Four jars of mayonnaise
3. Four 1-pound cans of coffee
4. A flannel shirt
5. Three pounds of top sirloin steak from your butcher
6. Five boxes of cereal
7. About 5.5 gallons of gas (which averaged 18 cents per gallon in 1940)