The good ole Benjamin. There’s nothing like the crispness of a fresh $100 bill. Especially if you have a healthy stack of them. But, what if you only had one hundred dollars? How far can you get? Depending on the state you live in, $100 can go a bit further. Or, if you’re unlucky in residency, that $100 isn’t quite $100 in purchasing power.

The non-profit Tax Foundation released a state-by-state breakdown of how prices affect the average consumer. For me, living in Alabama helps my wallet survive. Cost of living is relatively low, so $100 works out to $114.03 in purchasing power.

Granted, if I’m in Birmingham at Whole Foods, the overall cost of living in Alabama isn’t going to save me. I’m nearly certain organic food is either fed or watered in cash.

Which state has the most purchasing power? Mississippi has top honors. Prices are around 13 percent lower than the national average. A $100 bill will stretch to $115.21. My neighbor to the west has me by just over a dollar.

one hundred dollars purchasing power

What about the most expensive? Our nation’s capital wins out with one hundred dollars equalling $84.96 in purchasing power. Hawaii is the most expensive state. Prices top 16 percent above the national average. Money or paradise? You can’t have both in the United States.

Purchasing Power and Jobs

Technology jobs are hot right now. Using the Tax Foundation, what happens when you adjust income with actual purchasing power? That offer in Silicon Valley suddenly isn’t looking so hot. Unless you can convince employers you can remote work from a state like Nebraska.

Below is the chart showing Nebraska surging ahead of California in terms of purchasing power.

purchasing power comparison Nebraska and California

Focusing on purchasing power alone, the best areas to make $100 are in the South and Midwest.

California is on the list as one of the most expensive states to live. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego all have outsized costs. Though, you do get Southern California’s weather. LA weather, or Nebraska’s winter? I think I’d give up quite a few Benjamins to enjoy the sunshine over raging blizzards.

An interesting note? When Alaska raised its minimum wage to $9.75, it was hailed as a progressive move. The problem? In terms of purchasing power, it works out to around $8. That’s not quite the raise workers were looking for.

A $100 bill works out to $94.34 in purchasing power in the state. Not as stark as places like Hawaii, California or New York, but still well under the national average.

Tax Foundation and One Hundred Dollars

How did the Tax Foundation come up with the numbers? The group used a relatively new metric called Regional Price Parities. It offers a snapshot of prices for a variety of goods in all 50 states.

While new, the implications for the measurement are substantial. You can quickly compare job salary offers across the country to make educated decisions on relocations and what it will cost you and if you have a family.

For me in Gadsden, AL? If I avoid Starbucks, Whole Foods and the Birmingham malls, my dollar can stretch. Yeah, the key word there is if…

Damn you Whole Foods and Starbucks…

Sound off in the comments. How far does your $100 stretch according to the chart?


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