Although 99-cent stores and extra value menus would seem to disagree, a person with only a dollar doesn't have a whole lot of purchasing power these days. If they could time travel backwards to 1900, though, they'd find far more things that used to cost one dollar. While many of the items on display in 1900 were probably quite different from those today, turn-of-the-century grocery stores and catalogs sold lots of goods we still use, but at far cheaper prices.
Local grocery stores, the Sears Roebuck catalog, and general stores (that later evolved into big-box establishments like Wal-Mart) provided shoppers with the items they needed for their daily lives. The first official shopping mall was still a little over 20 years away.
Things that cost a dollar at the turn of the century included food, clothing, and many household items. One could even get a night of entertainment for a single buck. So exactly what could you buy for one dollar in 1900?
One Pound Of Bacon
In 1900, it cost about 14 cents a pound to bring home the bacon. Today, the price of bacon depends on the ingredients and how fancy it is, but it can cost about $5 or more.
A Men's Dress Shirt
A 20-Pound Box Of Oyster Crackers
Twenty pounds of oyster crackers would last you through a lot of soup and would only cost you 99 cents from the Sear Roebuck Catalog in the 1900s. Today, a nine-ounce package from Nabisco costs about $3.