What Can You Buy for $1 These Days?
Back in 1930, the humble dollar could get you a decent table lamp, a quality bathrobe, or roughly six gallons of regular gas. But these days, it’s hard to find anything that costs $1 or less. (See also: 50 Healthy Foods for Under $1 a Pound)
Now, in a previous post I listed 101 things you can do with a $1 bill, but that was a long time ago, and a lot has changed. I decided to compile a new list and look at the problem with fresh eyes (I tried to avoid the usual fare in here, like $1 menu items from fast food joints, an iTunes song, or canned goods from the supermarket).
So, here’s what I found that can be bought today for $1. Now, how creative can you get? Leave your ideas in the comments.
1. A Phone Call
You can place a four-minute call from your cell phone to the Cayman Islands with AT&T.
2. Quality Items
You can buy 100 different “quality” items from the One Cent Store. All you have to pay is shipping (which on 100 items will run you about $800).
3. A CEO
Own the CEO of a large corporation! Yes, Steve Jobs takes only $1 per year salary from Apple. The CEOs of Google reportedly do the same.
Travel to the Philippines, and you can get a 30-minute foot massage.
5. A Place to Put Your Car
In downtown Denver, you get one hour of street parking.
7. Penny Stocks
Buy penny stocks. Depending on which company you choose, you could get quite a chunk of them for $1, as many shares trade for just a fraction of a cent. Of course, they probably won’t go anywhere, but hey, everyone starts somewhere.
8. Little Stuff From Amazon
Get crazy with Amazon fillers. There are a bunch of items on Amazon that cost less than $1, and if you’re ordering something anyway, why not tag one of these on there? Often, they can bag you free Super Saver Shipping, so you spend a buck or less to save a lot more in postage.
9. Cell Phone Protection
Make 100 cell phone screen protectors.
10. 10 Memories
Stores like Walmart charge around 10 cents for a 4 x 6 photo print.
11. Crafty Plans
Some knitting and crochet patterns cost just 99 cents at Ravelry.com, and they are delivered as PDFs.
12. Almost Free Handmade Goods
Etsy artists often give away items for free. It's considered “paying it forward,” and shipping on some of these is $1 or less.
Half.com, eBay, and Amazon all offer used books for less than $1. If you are a member of Amazon Prime, you'll get your book with free shipping.
14. Mobile Phone Apps
While many are free, there are also a lot that you can pay for. Some are as low as 99 cents, and they’re great.
Buy a few glasses of lemonade from a child’s lemonade stand. You get freshly made lemonade, and children learn a little about the value of hard work.
Dropping your $1 bill into the bucket of a charity collection tin may not seem like much, but it all adds up.
Well, not a swimming pool, but a game of pool in a bar will usually cost you four quarters. If you’re really bad, that $1 could stretch for an hour of entertainment.
18. A House
Not a monopoly house either, but a real one. The current housing crash, coupled with some local economic factors, has produced some ridiculous deals. Of course, you may have to pay to move the house off some land that the government owns, or a small fortune in taxes and fees, but the actual deed could be yours for a buck. Read more about a home in Detroit that was on sale for just $1.
19. A Second Date
Research shows bad breath is a real turn off for either sex, so invest in a pack of gum or a roll of mints. Both can usually be found for less than $1.
But not much. With the prize of gold being $1516.99 an ounce, your $1 will get you 0.00066006601 ounces.
And finally, we’ll end with an easy one. At the time of publication, you can buy around 1/4 of a gallon of gas (the national average right now is $3.91 for regular). Depending on the fuel efficiency of your car, that’s enough for a round trip of 6–8 miles. More if you drive a hybrid.
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