Traveling back in time has long been the stuff of dreams and fantasies, and most of us can only imagine what it would be like to experience a different time and place. But what would it be like to travel back more than a century and see what 20 dollars could buy you? A hundred years ago, before the advent of modern technology, 20 dollars could buy you a whole lot compared to today. In this blog post, we will explore exactly what 20 dollars could buy you in 1912!
In 1912, 20 dollars would have gone quite far when it came to transportation. A subway ticket from Manhattan to Brooklyn cost only a nickel, so a 20-dollar bill would have gotten you 400 trips. If you wanted to take the ferry, you could have hopped on a boat to Staten Island and back for a round-trip fare of only 10 cents. That would have given you 200 roundtrips on the ferry. And if you wanted to venture further afield, a rail ticket could have taken you to Philadelphia for just $2.50.
Shopping was also much cheaper in 1912. A pair of men’s leather shoes could be bought for only $2.50, while a woman’s dress could be purchased for around $7.50. And if you wanted something more luxurious, a fur coat could be yours for only $20! Even the most expensive items weren’t too expensive back then. A bicycle cost $40, a piano went for around $150 and a Ford Model T could be bought for just $600!
Food in 1912 was also relatively inexpensive. A loaf of bread was only 5 cents, a pound of butter was 20 cents, and a dozen eggs cost 25 cents. A steak dinner could be purchased for just 35 cents, while a 3-course meal at a restaurant would set you back only 50 cents. And if you had a sweet tooth, a pound of candy was only 15 cents and a pound of chocolate was only 20 cents.
Clothing was also much cheaper in 1912 than it is today. A man’s suit could be bought for as little as $15, and a woman’s dress could be purchased for only $7.50. A hat was only a quarter, and a pair of shoes would set you back only $2.50. Even the most luxurious items weren’t too expensive. A fur coat was only $20, and a silk dress would cost you $15.
Back then, 20 dollars would have gone a long way when it came to entertainment. For example, a ticket to the theater cost only 25 cents, and a movie ticket was only a dime. Even the most expensive shows weren’t too pricey. A ticket to a vaudeville show was 50 cents, and a seat at the opera would cost you only a dollar.
Books were also much cheaper in 1912 than they are today. A new hardcover book cost only 75 cents, while a paperback was only a quarter. Even the most luxurious editions weren’t too expensive. A three-volume set of the Encyclopedia Britannica was only $19.95, and a set of the Harvard Classics was only $15.
In 1912, 20 dollars would have gone a long way when it came to housing. A room in a boardinghouse could be rented for as little as $2 a week, while a furnished apartment could be rented for $6 a month. Even if you wanted to buy a house, you wouldn’t have to break the bank. A two-bedroom house could be bought for only $2,500.
There were plenty of other ways to spend your 20 dollars in 1912. You could buy a pair of skates for a dollar, a new toothbrush for a nickel, and a box of chocolates for 50 cents. You could also take in a barber’s shave for 10 cents and get an old-fashioned straight razor for only 25 cents.
It’s amazing to see how much things have changed over the past century. In 1912, 20 dollars could buy you a lot of goods and services, from transportation to housing to entertainment. Even the most luxurious items weren’t too expensive back then. So next time you’re feeling strapped for cash, just think back to 1912 and what 20 dollars could buy you!
I’m Kieran Walker, and I’m a Celebrity and Financial Expert. I live in Monaco, and I love helping people make the most of their money. Whether it’s through investments, or just making sure they’re getting the best deals on everything they buy, I want to help as many people as possible grow their wealth.
I’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the world when it comes to finance, and I’m always looking for new ways to help people save money. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that money can be a powerful tool – but only if you use it correctly.