There’s that cliché about how grandparents love to tell stories 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 so many things you could buy for one dollar in 1950.
Adjusting for inflation, though, $1.00 in 1950 is worth about $10.75 in 2020. So, while some of the things you could buy for one dollar in 1950 might seem like a real steal, they weren’t actually much cheaper than the going rate today. On the other hand, some of them were indeed much more affordable than today, even adjusting for inflation.
What Could You Buy with a Buck in 1950?
- Four gallons of gas (the average price for a gallon in 1950 was 27 cents)
- A pound of coffee (and actually, you’d get about 20 cents in change on average)
- Four pulp paperbacks, which retailed for about a quarter each
- Three movie tickets (though at the average price of 36 cents per ticket, you might need a few cents more in some places)
- One week of round trips for work on the New York City subway, with each one-way ride costing 10 cents
- Six or seven packs of cigarettes, which went for around 15 cents per pack in 1950
- A ticket the the Major League Baseball All-Star game; for comparison, this could run you several hundred dollars these days