So you have a history project, or are researching ancestry; maybe you are a numbers fiend or just tired of hearing, “in my day bread cost a nickel.” Here are a few interesting websites you can use.
Try The Inflation Calculator HERE. It is an online form that adjusts any given amount of money for inflation, according to the Consumer Price Index. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices over time in a market basket of goods and services. The CPI is used to calculate how prices have changed over the years.
You can use years from 1800 to 2013.
For example, if you want to know how much $5.00 in 1802 was worth in today’s money, enter the amount of money (5.00), the year (1802) and this year (must be 2013) and hit “enter.” The calculator explains:
What cost $5.00 in 1802 would cost $80.05 in 2013.
Also, if you were to buy exactly the same products in 2013 and 1802, they would cost you $5.00 and $0.37 respectively.
This is an excellent tool for students, authors, historians, teachers, and for any research.
Check out the site of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the page “What is a dollar worth?” This site includes a link for teaching aids.
The example given is: Parents tell us that in 1950 a movie cost 25 cents. How could you tell if movies have increased in price? To convert that price into today’s dollars, use the CPI.
The CPI for 1950 = 24.1
The CPI for 2014 = 236.2*
A movie in 1950 = $0.25
Use the following formula to compute the calculation:
2014 Price = 1950 Price x (2014 CPI* / 1950 CPI)
$2.45 = $0.25 x (236.2 / 24.1)
The Titanic is probably the most luxurious cruise liner in history. But today, you can gamble, swim, shop, eat, drink, and play aboard a luxury cruise liner and never see the ocean. So what is the difference in prices for travel by ship from 1912 compared to 2013? See this site, The Ship’s List.
Also on this site, a copy of a letter from Thomas Elliot to William G. Smith listing the cost of passenger rates and rations on emigrant ships in 1847.
All of the above websites lead to more links about the history of money, the cost of living during various times, and more. Readers get a history lesson, a math lesson, and the research can prove invaluable. And the next time someone says, “In my day, a comic book cost a…” Whip out that calculator.
While you are online, visit my website HERE