The phrase means “more value for your money,” and it has a more political origin than you might expect.
It all starts in the 1950’s with President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defense, Charles Erwin Wilson. He used the word “bang” quite literally as a reference to nuclear weapons because the new New Look security policy called for greater reliance on nuclear weapons. In this context, Wilson used the phrase as “more bombs for your money”. The U.S. Military wanted to use more weaponry power and the phrase “bigger bang for your buck” could hardly be a better summation.
Thanks to the phrase’s catchy alliteration, it stuck around. But it did lose its political connotation as time passed on, moving instead toward the meaning that we know and love today.
The first transcribed account of “bang for the buck” appeared in New Language of Politics in 1968, where the author William Safire recounts Wilson’s invention of the phrase.
The earlier equivalent of “more bang for your buck” was Pepsi’s 1950 slogan “more bounce to the ounce”.