money 18 Things You Could Buy For One Dollar In 1900  

Erin McCann
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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


One Pound Of Bacon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 18 Things You Could Buy For One Dollar In 1900
Photo: National Library NZ on The Commons Follow/via Flickr

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 Men's Dress Shirt is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 18 Things You Could Buy For One Dollar In 1900
Photo: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland/via Wikimedia Commons

A man could afford to add a dress shirt to his wardrobe for only $1 in 1900. Today, a nifty new shirt from Express will cost you $69.99.

A 20-Pound Box Of Oyster Crackers


A 20-Pound Box Of Oyster Crack... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 18 Things You Could Buy For One Dollar In 1900
Photo: Boston Public Library/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

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.

One Pound Of Coffee


One Pound Of Coffee is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 18 Things You Could Buy For One Dollar In 1900
Photo: thegraphicaddict/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Coffee in 1900 cost consumers around 35 cents a pound. Depending on your location, a grande freshly brewed coffee from Starbucks costs about $2.10, and a 22.6-ounce canister of Folgers ground coffee is about $8.