What $100 could buy you 100 years ago looks different than what $100 can buy you today.
According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, $100 in 1922 is worth the equivalent of $1,753 in 2022. In other words, in 1922, you could buy 365 gallons of gas at today’s prices, which stand at a national average of $4.80 per gallon, according to AAA.
The high rate of inflation in recent years means our dollars are worth even less. In 1922, the inflation rate was minus-0.59%; today it stands at 9.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While the economy has changed over the past century — and today $100 might get you only a tank or two of gas — there are still many items and experiences that you can buy for $100.
In 2022, gas prices look a little different than they did in 1922. For $100, most people can afford only a tank and a half or so of gas. For smaller cars, refilling a gas tank might cost around $58; for larger cars, a gas tank refill might cost closer to $77, using the national average gas prices from AAA.
Despite the steep increase gas prices have endured over the past few months, having a car with a full tank of gas allows you the freedom to get to school, work and other necessary daily activities. If gas prices are stretching your budget thin, you might want to consider carpooling to work with a friend or biking when going somewhere nearby.
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With inflation leading to many tighter budgets, more people are opting to make meals at home rather than go out. To assist in meal preparation, there are a variety of cookware appliances that cost under $100 that can help you make your meals faster and enjoy lots of variety in your kitchen.
- Air fryer
- Keurig coffee maker
- Instant Pot
- Cold press power juicer
- Hand blender
- Fresh popcorn maker
- Bread maker
There are many helpful and fun technology gadgets you can get with $100. Here’s a look at a few of our favorites:
- Ring video doorbell ($99)
- Echo Dot ($50)
- Bluetooth/wireless speakers ($100 or less)
- Polaroid instant camera ($100)
- GoPro camera ($80)
Bags and Luggage
While luggage may be an expensive purchase, a good suitcase or backpack investment might last as long as 50 years and allow you the freedom to travel anywhere you want, any time. Many durable outdoor and luggage brands have options under $100, including Patagonia, Fjallraven Kanken and The North Face.
- Fjallraven Kanken Classic Pack ($80)
- The North Face Jester Backpack ($69)
- Patagonia 22-Liter Arbor Zip Pack ($89)
- Lululemon 22-Liter On the Move New Crew Backpack ($98)
If you are looking for some new items to enjoy outside, there are several unique purchases you can consider that are under $100. Not only are these items practical and affordable, they might just help you enjoy nature in a new and exciting way.
- DoubleNest Hammock by Eagles Nest Outfitters ($70)
- Starlite II Mesh Backpack Tent ($60)
- Hydro Flask 35-Liter Insulated Tote ($75)
- Camelbak 50-ounce Hydration Pack ($50)
Admittedly, $100 won’t be enough to cover a new couch or dining room table set. However, it will go a long way toward some outdoor furniture and smaller household items. Brands including Wayfair and Amazon carry several outdoor chairs and table sets for under $100, allowing you to create an affordable seating area in your backyard or on your balcony. Additionally, for $100, you can purchase a side table, comfortable chair and more simple furniture pieces for your home.
While $100 might not be able to cover all bedding essentials, such as bed frames and mattresses, you can use this sum of money for many bedding items. A nice set of throw pillows, a memory foam mattress pad or a fluffy throw blanket can cost as little as $20 to $100. While a set of sheets has a greater price range depending on the size of the bed and thread count, it should fall between $50 and $150 for a queen bed, so $100 likely will at least make a sizable dent in this cost.
In addition to physical items, there are many experiences you can buy for under $100. You can visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum for $30 and most zoos and aquariums for $20 to $50, depending on the location. While Disneyland is going to be slightly over budget for adults, at $104, this experience is also near the $100 budget.
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