How Much Did Things Cost in 1954?

Seattle Municipal Archives/CC-BY 2.0

For the most part, things cost significantly less in 1954 than they do in the 21st century. Many common household items were less than $1. A loaf of bread cost about 17 cents, and 1 pound of cheese cost between 50 cents and 70 cents, depending on the type.

Purchasing a postage stamp only required 3 cents, and steak for one person cost about 95 cents. A movie ticket was approximately 70 cents, and 1 gallon of gas was only 22 cents.

Not everything was significantly less expensive in 1954 than contemporary times, however. A gallon of milk cost about 91 cents, which is only about $1.25 less than the average price of 1 gallon of milk in 2014. A new washing machine cost about $155 in 1954, which is only about $100 less than a basic top-loading model costs today.

A person could purchase a new house for less than $20,000 in 1954, and for less than $2,000, he could put a new car in the driveway. A new, fashionable dress could be purchased for around $15. It’s also important to consider that the average annual salary during this era was less than $4,000. Adjusted for inflation, that would be the equivalent of about $35,000 per year in 2014.