How much was 5 dollars worth in 1960? This question popped in my head while I was reading an article on Insider, “ Here’s what a fast-food burger cost the year you were born.” It was surprising to see that a burger at McDonald’s cost only $0.21 (the Big Mac was 45 cents only) — while at Burger King, it was $0.37. While today the Big Mac costs $3.99 to $5.99 in a meal.
So basically, if you have a dollar, you could get your car filled with gallon gas for 31 cents. Flamboyantly, park it in your high school and take your friends (in rockabilly hairstyle like James Dean) to McDonald’s. At McDonald’s, the total splurge would be; 3 burgers, 2 fries, and 2 cokes for 88 cents. All these shenanigans of yours still would cost you a buck and 19 cents.
Keeping the theme of the article aside, the 60s was actually my favorite decade, as a lot happened during that period. Everything was changing culturally, socially, politically, and in music and movies. During this period, modern dressing replaced the conservative dressing style. Youth found dressing a way to express their individualities (dresses started getting shorter thanks to Mary Quant miniskirts revolution, and hair longer).
John.F. Kennedy’s assassination shook everyone, and Vietnam War weakened the financial and political system of the country. The Beatles came to the USA, and Bob Dylan was shining. Movies were exceptional, including Psycho, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Marry Poppins, Bonny & Clyde & Sound of music. Hippie culture was developing and spreading drugs and alcohol among the youth.
So much was happening during this decade, and we do not intend to discuss those events. In this article, we will answer, How much was 5 dollars worth in 1960? I will transport you back in the 60s with $5 and guide you on how much you can buy with it.
How much was 5 dollars worth in 1960?
Some technicalities | $5 in 1960 and its purchasing power in 2022
This is interesting to note, $5 in 1960 has the same purchasing power as $47.49 in 2022. Thus, this is an increase of $42.49 over 62 years. The average inflation rate of the dollar between this period (1960 to 2022) was 3.71% per year, producing a cumulative price increase of 849.82%. So today, a dollar can buy you 10.53% of what it can buy in 1960.
It is because inflation causes the purchasing power of money to decline and prices of goods and services to rise. Over the years, the inflation rate in the USA has increased, as it was 7.5 % in 2022 while it was 1.72% in 1960.
To cut long story short, the $5 in 1960 has the same buying power or worth as $47.49 in 2022. It is interesting to note that during this period, the average income of a household was $5,600 (way less than today), while the median house prices were $11,900. Similarly, the new car cost was $2,600, while today it is more than $30,000.
Now, let us figure out how or what you can buy with 5 bucks in your pocket if we transport you in the 60s era.
Transporting to 1960 with $5: How much can you buy with $5?
Now, you have successfully like Marty in Back to the Future transported to the year 1960 with only $5 in your pocket, let me guide you on what you can do with this $5.
You can buy a lot of grocery items
One thing you can do with this $5 is buy a lot of essential grocery items to keep you fed for some days at least. Let’s break the grocery items you can buy with $5 in 1960:
- A gallon of milk would cost only $1, and above all, the milkmen would drop milk at your doorsteps.
- A dozen eggs cost $0.57.
- Coffee would cost you $0.1.
- Meat: Chicken for $0.29 per pound & Round Steak for $1.08 on average.
- The price of 1 pound of bread was $0.23.
- The Butter in $0.75.
- Flour: $0.33 per 3 lb.
- Vegetables: Potatoes for $0.22 per 3 lb., Carrots for $0.22 per 3 lb., and Onions for $0.22 per 3 lb.
Now you can buy any grocery items you prefer, you do not have to adhere to my list. You can buy, for example, 5 gallons of milk with your $5 or 17 pounds of chicken with $5 or even 5 pounds of bread. The point is grocery was cheaper back in 1960 as compared to today.
Buying the toiletries in 1960 with $5
Gillette 195 Adjustable Safety Razor or Fatboy price was $1.95 in 1960. While shaving cream was for $0.55. Similarly, the beautiful Woodbury Shampoo glass bottle would cost you $0.59. If you want to look as flawless as Natalie Wood, then you ought to buy the Lux in 1960 for $0.39 or 2 for $0.78. Toothpaste would cost you $0.55. Hairspray was a staple back in the day, pricing only $0.42. And. Lastly, the cult favorite, Vaseline petroleum jelly costing $0.94, would also be under your budget.
In this way, you could buy many toiletries items from your $5 note back in 1960.
A night out with friends in 1960
Back in 1960, you could tag your friends along and go to the cinema to watch some classic Hollywood movie for just under $5. Let me break it for you:
- The average price of a movie ticket was $0.69 ($2.76 for 4).
- Bags of Popcorns for 4 for $0.4.
- Drinks for 4 for $0.4.
Then after the movie, you could go to a nearby café and have four hamburgers with your friends for $0.84 with four fries for $0.4. Still, after all of this shenanigan, you would have 20 cents spared.
Thus, just under $5 could have an amazing time with your friends along with popcorns and some coke.
Sweet cravings in 1960
If you had $5 in 1960 then you are in luck, as each candy cost $0.05. This included delicious Hershey and mars chocolate bars for 5 cents. You could buy 76 candy bars for $3.8 only.
Then, If you were looking for Oreo cookies back in 1960, then a pound of Oreo biscuits would cost you $0.45.
If all this still does not ease your sugar cravings, then you could get a pie slice for $0.35 and an ice-cream sundae for $0.4.
So, you can successfully satisfy your sweet tooth under $5 in 1960.
Live in Levi’s — for $5 only
Back in 1960, a good pair of Levi’s jeans were only $5, which is around $60 today.
Summing up: How much was 5 dollars worth in 1960?
In this article, we tried to answer the question; how much was 5 dollars worth in 1960?
After all the research and data collected, I can only say that the 60s had it all. It was cheaper to live life in the 60s. The necessities cost less, plus you can have a lot of fun for just under $5. We cannot ignore the fact that the household income and real estate prices in 1960 were lower than today. But, inflation was way below than inflation rate today, which accounts for the higher purchasing power of $5 back in 1960.