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?
30 Bars Of Laundry Soap
One Pound Of Chocolate
10 Movie Tickets
50 Postage Stamps
People could send postcards and other correspondence via the US Postal Service for an average of 2 cents per stamp. Currently, a First Class postage stamp costs 49 cents, but the design selection is most likely better than the 1900s.