One thing I love about the season is the annual release of the Christmas Price Index. Now put out by PNC, this is an analysis of all of the costs of all of the gifts given by “my true love” in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas.” As you can guess, it’s an interesting look at the current state of the economy and how things have changed. Now put out by PNC, this is an analysis of all of the costs of all of the gifts given by “my true love” in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas.” As you can guess, it’s an interesting look at the current state of the economy and how things have changed.
This has been tracked for thirty-one years. Thirty-one years of gifts! Not surprisingly, in most years, the cost went up, but there were a few tough years for our economy, and that’s where we saw price drops, such as in 2002 and 1995.
(Fun fact – December of 2002 was when I was applying for most of my post-graduate jobs, as I finished college in May 2003. It definitely helped me pull the trigger on my law school plan.)
This year, the Price Index went up a whopping 1%. I sort of assumed that with the rapid drop in gas prices that the price of the goods would drop, so an increase is good. (There was no scientific reason for this assumption, of course.) According to the press release, this was the smallest increase since 2002 when the index fell over 7%.
The Index then drills down and tracks individually how the price of each item changed. Most items didn’t change very much in price. The biggest mover was six geese-a-laying. I hope you’re not planning on a Christmas Goose, because the price went up over 70%. French Hens are also up 10%. I guess it’s an expensive year for poultry.
The site added a bit of fun this year, trying to bring the song back into vogue. I guess kids these days (always said while shaking your fist) don’t sing this song much, so the site added interactive elements to highlight each gift in the song, from a story to a film to a number of music videos. It’s pretty adorable, and fun to show off to the small people in your life after you spend time scrolling through the numbers as I did.
Merry Christmas! And if you’re buying your true love some pipers and drummers this holiday (or rather, hiring them, I would assume), you will be glad to know that the cost of their wages has remained steady.
Megan is a 30-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.