What $100 was worth in the decade you were born

Save Through Each Decade of Your Life

American women won the right to vote in 1920, a few months in advance of the national election that anointed Warren G. Harding president of the United States. A lot has changed in the 95-plus years since then, including what a "Benjamin," or $100 bill, can buy.

That economic evolution is driven by inflation, an ongoing rise in the general level of prices as measured in monetary units. Occasionally, as they did during the Great Depression, prices experience deflation. The inflation — or deflation — rate is usually reported as the annual percentage growth or decline of some broad index of prices.

In the United States, that index is the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, or CPI-U. Through April 2016, the year-to-date inflation rate is 1.16 percent. It's also worth noting that inflation impacts wages as well, meaning we earn much more on average than we did almost a century ago. What's more, a wide variety of factors impact product pricing.

To illustrate how much the value of $100 has changed over the years, GOBankingRates used the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator to determine what a $100 bill could buy in today's world as its purchasing power changed over the decades. Starting in 1920, click through to see what $100 was worth the decade you were born.

Read: 10 Things You Never Knew About the $100 Bill

What $100 was worth the decade you were born
See Gallery
What $100 was worth the decade you were born


Value of $100 in 1920: $1,196.30

What you can buy in 2016: 511 gallons of gas

In 1920, a $100 bill would be worth the equivalent of $1,196.30, and you could buy 511 gallons of gas at modern prices. The national average price for a gallon of gas on June 3 was $2.34, according to AAA.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/Braun5


Value of $100 in 1925: $1,367.21

What you can buy in 2016: 18 pairs of Nikes

These days, a mid-range pair of Nike running shoes cost consumers around $74.60, according to Numbeo. The inflation-adjusted equivalent of $100 in 1925 would allow consumers to purchase 18 pairs and take home some pocket change.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/Onnes


Value of $100 in 1930: $1,432.70

What you can buy in 2016: 33 pairs of jeans

These days, a single pair of Levi’s 501s, or a comparable pair of jeans, will set buyers back about $42.38, according to Numbeo. That means you could purchase 33 pairs and have $37.46 — almost enough for another pair — to put in one of your many pockets.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/mapodile


Value of $100 in 1935: $1,746.43

What you can buy in 2016: Four round-trip plane tickets

Today’s $100 bill would have been worth the equivalent of $1,709.01 during the depths of the Depression. And, with the average domestic round-trip airfare at $363 in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, that means you could purchase tickets for four round-trips these days.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/AZarubaika


Value of $100 in 1940: $ 1,709.01

What you can buy in 2016: 417 Dairy Queen Blizzards

By 1940, the American economy was recovering after the Depression. Still, today’s $100 bill would have been worth the equivalent of $1,709.01, enough to buy 417 medium-sized Blizzards from Dairy Queen, which cost $4.09 each these days, according to FastFoodMenuPrices.com. That would get you more than 27 of every flavor listed on the DQ website or — if you prefer — a whole lot of Butterfinger Blizzard Treats.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/RiverNorthPhotography


Value of $100 in 1945: $1,329.23

What you can buy in 2016: one refrigerator

A $100 bill wouldn’t cover the cost of many mini-fridges today, but it was worth the equivalent of $1,329.23 in 1945, enough to buy a 25.4-cubic foot Whirlpool side-by-side refrigerator from Best Buy and leave you with a little grocery money to fill it.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/kupicoo


Value of $100 in 1950: $992.78

What you can buy in 2016: 60 movie theater tickets and 60 large tubs of popcorn

The average movie ticket cost $8.42 in 2015, according to The Hollywood Reporter. And a tub of popcorn could set you back around $8, according to an ABC News story. In 1950, $100 was worth the equivalent of $992.78, enough to buy 60 movie tickets, plus a large tub of popcorn for each flick.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/ktsimage


Value of $100 in 1955: $892.76

What you can buy in 2016: eight MLB game tickets and 26 hot dogs at the game

In 1950, $100 was worth the equivalent of $892.76, enough to buy eight premium Major League Baseball game tickets, which averaged $96.94 each league-wide, and 26 hot dogs, which averaged $4.39 each, according to Team Marketing Report, a sports marketing information firm.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/Avram Golden


Value of $100 in 1960: $808.31

What you can buy in 2016: 16 one-hour massages

A one-hour introductory massage session at Massage Envy will set you back $49.99 today. If $100 had the purchasing power it did about a decade ago, you could book 16 sessions, although you wouldn’t have much cash left over for tips.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/Braun5


Value of $100 in 1965: $759.56

What you can buy in 2016: Five 32-inch TVs

Consumers in 1965 would probably be blown away by the technology seen in today’s flat-screen HDTVs. Likewise, modern shoppers might be surprised to learn $100 would be worth the equivalent of nearly $760, enough to buy five 32-inch Insignia brand HDTVs at Best Buy.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/RapidEye


Value of $100 in 1970: $616.65

What you can buy in 2016: 154 Big Macs

Those two all-beef patties, special sauce and more cost $3.99, according to the website Fast Food Menu Prices. Even at that price, you could buy 154 Big Macs for $100 if it were worth its 1970 inflation-adjusted equivalent. Fries would be extra, of course.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/urbanbuzz


Value of $100 in 1975: $444.72

What you can buy in 2016: Two tickets to a Rolling Stones concert

The average Rolling Stones concert ticket cost $153.81, according to a recent report from concert industry trade publication Pollstar. So even though $100 would be worth a lot more in 1975 dollars, you could still only buy two tickets, although you would have almost $140 left over for merchandise.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/EdStock


Value of $100 in 1980: $290.37

What you can buy in 2016: Two tickets to a New England Patriots game

At $122, the New England Patriots have one of the highest average ticket prices in the NFL, according to Team Marketing Report. If $100 had the purchasing power it did in 1980, you could buy two tickets with enough left over for a stadium snack or two.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com /Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com


Value of $100 in 1985: $222.36

What you can buy in 2016: Four Costco memberships

Today’s $100 bill was worth the equivalent of more than almost $222.36 in 1985. That's enough to buy four Business or Gold Star memberships at Costco, available for $55 a pop, according to its website, and leave $2.36 for a fountain soda or snack to power you through your first wholesale club shopping trip.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/Yvan DubA


Value of $100 in 1990: $183.06

What you can buy in 2016: 50 Starbucks lattes

In 1990, today’s $100 would be worth $183.06, taking into account the effects of inflation. That would buy 50 Starbucks Grande Caffè Lattes, priced at $3.65 each, according to the website Fast Food Menu Prices. That’s nearly one a week for a whole year.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com /iStock.com/tomeng


Value of $100 in 1995: $157.00

What you can buy in 2016: 24 Chipotle chicken burritos

A chicken burrito from Chipotle will set you back $6.50, according to the Fast Food Menu Prices website. If today’s $100 was worth its inflation-adjusted 1995 equivalent of $157, that would buy you two dozen burritos, with exactly $1 left in your wallet if you didn’t have to cover tax.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/SchulteProductions


Value of $100 in 2000: $138.94

What you can buy in 2016: One Beyoncé concert ticket

A modern $100 had the buying power of $138.94 in 2000, enough to buy one admission to a Beyoncé show, for which the average ticket was $132.08, according to a recent Pollstar report. That would leave Queen B fans just enough for a few iTunes downloads to practice singing along for the show.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/2009 Getty Images


Value of $100 in 2005: $122.51

What you can buy in 2016: Seven Sirius XM monthly subscriptions

A monthly Sirius Select subscription costs $15.99, according to the company website, meaning you could buy seven months of music, sports, comedy and talk radio for what $100 was worth about a decade ago. You’d even have $10.58 left over for a few gallons of gas.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/baona


Value of $100 in 2010: $109.72

What you can buy in 2016: 12 dozen eggs and 15 pounds of bacon

A pound of bacon cost about $5.61 in April 2016, and the price tag on a dozen eggs was around $1.79, according to the U.S. city average statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the beginning of the decade, $100 had slightly more buying power, which would allow you to take home an extra pound of bacon and two dozen more eggs than you could buy with $100 today.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/vm


Value of $100 in 2015/2016: $100

What you can buy in 2015/2016: 16-20 classic Subway footlong sandwiches

Whether you prefer the Classic Tuna or the Meatball Marinara, all Subway’s classic footlongs were $5 until February of this year, according to Fortune.com, meaning you could take home 20 for $100, not including tax. Alas, the sandwich chain recently raised prices for its classic footlongs to $6, adding up to four fewer sandwiches for $100, although you can now cover some of the taxes with your $4 in change.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GOBankingRates.com / iStock.com/tupungato


Read: The Cost of College the Year You Were Born

Methodology: GOBankingRates used the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator (http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm) to determine what $100 could buy in today's world as its purchasing power changed over the years, in five-year increments, from 1920 to 2015.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: What $100 Was Worth in the Decade You Were Born

RELATED: Useful tips to help teach your kids about money

Lessons that teach your kids to save money
See Gallery
Lessons that teach your kids to save money

Play money-centered board games or games on apps, like Monopoly or Money Race.
It's an interactive and fun way for your kids to learn about basic financial practices without feeling like they're being lectured.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Give them an allotted amount of cash to spend on lunch each week.
Your child will learn how to budget accordingly throughout the week, figuring out how to balance spending money on food some days vs bringing their own on other days (something that can be directly translated into the adult workplace).

Photo credit: Getty

Have them write down or tell you their absolute dream toy.
Then, show them that it's possible to have that toy if they save x enough money for x amount of weeks.

Photo credit: Getty

Give them an allowance.

Photo credit: Alamy

Stick to a set time and date each month for giving your child their allowance.
Practicing giving your children their allowance every other week or on certain dates of each month will help them prepare for set paydays in the working world--it will teach them to budget out and how to know when to save up in anticipation.

Photo credit: Getty

Match your child's savings each month.
This will imitate a 401K and show your child ways in which saving can (literally) pay off.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Have your kid organize their funds in to different jars to represent different accounts.
Examples could be "Saving", "Spending", "Charity", "Emergency", "College".

Photo credit: Getty

Take your kids grocery shopping and explain certain choices you make with your purchases to them.
Your children will benefit from knowing what's best to purchase name brand vs. generic, why some snacks are better to buy in bulk, etc.

Photo credit: Getty


More from GOBankingRates
16 makeup brands better than luxury brands
Red flags to know before joining the family business
How to master your 401k in your 50s

Read Full Story

From Our Partners