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Prices Then and Now

We pay around $1.50 for a candy bar today, but remember when a whole bag of candy cost a dime, maybe even a nickel? Economic inflation has drastically changed the way we look at our purchases—what we see as expensive versus inexpensive. What may seem normal to teens and younger adults today might seem wildly pricey to seniors! Take a look at our list of prices then and now to see just how much expenses have changed . . .

Prices Then and Now

The 40s and 50s
This is likely the time when most of our seniors first learned about making purchases and managing money—childhood and adolescence. Did you ever take your sweetheart out for a five-cent bottle of Coke?

  • A bottle of Coke (there were no cans of Coke then) cost only five cents in 1944. Today, you can buy a bottle for about eighty-nine cents.
  • You could pick up a box of Corn Flakes for twelve cents in 1945. In 2016, the cereal costs around $3.89.
  • In 1950, the average new car would cost around $1,500 (what a steal!). Today, average new car buyers will pay around $31,000.
  • In 1954, a 24-pack of Budweiser beer cost less than $3.00. It costs you around $19.99 in 2016.
  • A child’s ticket to Disneyland would cost only thirty-five cents in 1956, the year just after the park opened. In 2016, a 1-day ticket costs a whopping $93.00 for a child.

The 60s and 70s
These prices should sound familiar! Seniors today would just be reaching adulthood in the 1960s, learning to manage a budget for themselves and for their families. See how much has changed since then . . .

  • You could buy your child a Barbie doll for $5.00 in the early sixties. Now, one will cost you around $15.00 to $20.00.
  • In 1962, a pair of Levi’s jeans cost $5.00. Today, they’ll cost around $50.00.
  • A ladies’ haircut might cost around $3.00 in 1962. In 2016, they can cost anywhere from $20.00 to $50.00, sometimes even higher!
  • In 1962 you could pick up a gallon of milk for less than fifty cents. Now, it will cost you around $4.00!
  • In 1963 a McDonald’s hamburger cost only twenty cents. Now, you buy them from the dollar menu.
  • College tuition at Yale was $1,950 in 1967. Tuition costs $47,600 today.
  • The price of one stamp in 1971 was eight cents. Today, a stamp will cost you forty-nine cents.


Prices then and now: did they surprise you? Some of them are pretty drastic! Are you still interested in seeing how inflation has affected expenses? Explore CNN Money’s inflation calculator. It’s easy: type in an amount and set it to a particular year, then see how much it would be worth today. This is especially fun if you remember your own significant purchases, like how much you paid for your first home and when you bought it!

Are you looking for an assisted living facility in Tennessee? If so, we hope you will look into Hearthside Senior Living Place. Located in Bartlett, TN, our facility strives to make senior living as comfortable and fulfilling as possible. Our staff would be happy to schedule a tour for you so that you can explore Hearthside Senior Living Place, meet some of the residents, and ask any questions you might have. We look forward to meeting you!

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