Then vs. now: How prices have changed since 1999

Remember the giddy year of 1999, when many of us were convinced we were entering the new millennium and everyone was panicking about the Y2K bug?

During the subsequent decade, the stock market made us rich as kings, then poor as church mice. We've taken a look back to see how the years have affected the price of 50 things we buy, or wish we could buy. Thanks to inflation, it takes around $1.30 to buy what $1 bought in 1999.

You'll note that some items, such as an iMac, a home mortgage and Hummel figurines are relative bargains compared to their 1999 prices. Others, however, such as a Superman comic book, a gallon of gas or a trip to the observation deck of the Empire State Building have skyrocketed.
Yet other items haven't changed much at all, including the money Tom Cruise receives for starring in a turkey ("Eyes Wide Shut" vs. "Valkyrie").

How have your fortunes fared in the past ten years?

Product 1999 price 2009 price Change
Observation deck, Empire State Building, adult $4.00 $20.00 400.00%
Gold, one ounce $279.11 $1,106.00 296.26%
New York Times daily edition $0.75 $2.00 166.66%
Slurpee, largest, 7-11 $0.99 $2.12 114.14%
Superman comic book $1.99 $3.99 100.50%
Toll (auto), Golden Gate Bridge $3.00 $6.00 100.00%
Gallon of gasoline $1.30 $2.56 96.92%
Apple (AAPL) stock, one share $102.81 $198.10 92.69%
Average ticket price, Boston Red Sox $28.33 $50.24 77.34%
Cost to raise newborn to age 18 $165,630.00 $291,570.00 76.04%
Disneyland, one day adult ticket $41.00 $72.00 75.61%
NYC YMCA summer membership $125 $200 60.00%
Average expanded basic cable (per month) $31.22 $49.65 59.03%
Average ticket, NFL Denver Broncos $49.00 $76.65 56.63%
ATM transaction cost $2.28 $3.54 55.26%
Babysitting per hour $7-$10 $10-$15 50.00%
Budweiser, six pack of cans $4.01 $5.99 49.38%
Home value, average $119,600.00 $173,100.00 44.73%
Electricity per 500 kwh $45.38 $65.21 43.70%
Movie ticket $5.06 $7.18 41.90%
Time magazine, newsstand $3.50 $4.95 41.43%
Aspirin, Bayer, 100-count $3.47 $4.81 38.62%
Sugar, 5 lb. $2.13 $2.90 36.15%
Cheerios, one box $3.89 $5.15 32.39%
Stamp, USPS, 1st class $0.33 $0.44 33.33%
Cigarettes, Marlboro, per pack, Calif. $4.65 $5.95 27.96%
Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster $5,595.00 $6,999.00 25.09%
Average cell phone bill $40.24 $49.57 23.19%
McDonald's Big Mac $2.50 $2.99 19.60%
Levi's, men's, 505 $36.99 $44.00 18.95%
Coca-Cola, one liter $1.14 $1.34 17.54%
Ty Warner penthouse, Four Seasons, NYC, per night $30,000.00 $34,000.00 13.33%
Car, Toyota Camry,base model $17,518.00 $19,395.00 10.71%
Wedding, average cost $18,900.00 $20,398.00 7.93%
Nike shoes Jordon vs. LeBron James $150.00 $160.00 6.67%
Gallon of milk $2.88 $3.05 5.90%
Top 100 Music CD $13.65 $13.98 2.42%
Bestseller novel, Grisham vs.Patterson $27.95 $27.99 0.14%
Tom Cruise earnings, per movie $20 million $20 million 0.00%
Windows 1998 vs Windows 7 $209.00 $199.99 -4.31%
Coffee, Maxwell House, 34.5 oz. $9.99 $9.49 -5.01%
Average domestic airfare $329.00 $301.00 -8.51%
Credit card average APR 15.07% 13.71% -9.02%
Batteries, AA, 4, Energizer $3.99 $3.49 -12.53%
Wal-Mart stock $69.12 $52.80 -23.61%
$100,000 mortgage, 30 year fixed, total cost $265,154.54 $184,549.59 -30.40%
iMac desktop computer, Apple $1,499.00 $999.00 -33.36%
Hummel "To Market" #49 figurine $120.00 $79.95 -33.38%
Martini and Rossi Spumante, 375 ml $12.99 $8.29 -36.18%
Prime rate 8.50% 3.25% -61.76%

Notes: 1999 prices are in 1999 dollars, 2009 prices in 2009 dollars. For some items, a true apples-to-apples comparison is not possible, since the product/service has evolved; the iMac, for example. The earlier prices were taken from the last half of 1999 or the first half of 2000. For statistics that are only gathered annually, we have used the most recent figure available; usually at 2008 year end.

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