This past weekend my parents were in town and we visited lots of New York City attractions. One of the most fascinating was The Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As we toured the apartments, we learned the true stories of some of the more than 7,000 people who lived at 97 Orchard Street between 1863 and 1935.
One apartment we explored had been the home of a Sicilian family during the 1930s. When I stepped into the kitchen from the narrow hallway, my nutritionist eyes were immediately drawn to the food products in the cupboard, which included coffee, canned tomatoes, and imported olive oil.
As our guide talked about the average wages and expenses at that time, it really got me thinking about how much some things have and haven't changed. It also got me curious about just how much certain foods cost 70 or so years ago.
Here's what I found:
(about 13 times higher)
Bran flakes cereal
(about 45 times higher)
(about 50 times higher)
(about 65 times higher)
(about 23 times higher)
(about 8 times higher)
(about 35 times higher)
Wouldn't it be nice to roll back the clock on some of these prices right about now? When I was a kid, I remember riding my bike to the market to buy a Baby Ruth bar for a quarter. I also remember when popcorn at a movie theatre didn't cost more than the admission! What's your take on these comparisons? Do you have any nostalgic food cost stories? Please share!
P.S. The average salary in the 1930s was $1,368/year. According to the latest Census data, the median household income in the U.S. is now $48,201 (about 35 times higher).
More ways to save at the supermarket:
How to Be a Budget Organic
Smart Buys at the Health Food Store
Should You Splurge on Chicken?