One of the silly little things that I like about the holiday season is the publication of the Christmas Price Index. This is a calculation of the cost of all the items in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and has been done since 1984. It’s interesting to see how the prices track, both as a whole and as individual items.
This year, the CPI increased 8.1%. Why? Well, swans are scarce this year, and in general many of the birds are a bit expensive. (Amusingly, the press release notes that you can save money by not buying the swans, but it is not recommended, due to the sentimental nature of the gift.) But the price of gold rings has dropped, as retailers hope for an uptick in sales.
They also calculate whether it is better to buy online or in person. This is one area where buying in person wins by a long shot. Of course, that’s because birds are expensive to ship.
PNC does an excellent job putting together the Christmas Price Index, and they’ve revamped their website for this year. I highly recommend checking it out.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.