It’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Did ya miss it?

Hope you saved your pennies in 2016.

Everyone that has listened to or sung the Christmas song “12 Days of Christmas.” But has anyone wondered how much all those gifts (including the animals and the people) would cost if you could actually purchase them?

Wonder no more. Get ready to write that check.

According to PNC Bank, the grand total for all the gifts (humans and animals included) will cost you a whopping total of
$34,363.49.

That’s for all the gifts in the song.

The Pittsburgh-based bank began the tradition 30 years ago as a way to measure inflation. But according to the bank, many middle and high school teachers also use the Christmas Price Index to teach students about inflation and economic trends. Most of the measurements mirror those used in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ U.S. Consumer Price Index, and even show similar growth patterns most of the time.

Of the 12 items measured by the index, eight prices remained the same as last year. Those that increased were the two turtle doves (+29.3%) due to a “lack of availability,” according to the PNC.

There is some history in this price index. A PNC predecessor bank in Philadelphia began estimating the cost of the 12 Christmas gifts in 1984 as a holiday client letter. This year’s price is 82 percent higher than the inaugural report 33 years ago. As part of its annual tradition, PNC also tabulates the “True Cost of Christmas,” which is the totalcost of items bestowed by a “true love” who repeats all the song’s verses.

Two sets of humans in the song did somewhat well this year. 2016 was a good year to be a piper or a drummer as their wages increased from last year. The pipers got a 2.8 percent increase (last year, they would cost you $2,635.20; this year, they’re gonna cost you $2,708.40), while the 12 drummers got a 2.8 percent hike, costing $2,934.10, up from the price tag of $2,854,80. As for the milk maids, the dancing ladies and the leaping lords, they stayed in the same price range as 2015 (the milk maids were $58, the dancing ladies were $7,552.84 and the leaping lords cost $5,508.70).

There are two real bargains in 2016 and one of them is the partridge in a pear tree. The price tag for that duo went down due to a surplus of birds. The bird/tree duo went down in price to $209.99, compared to $214.99, which is 2.3 percent less. As for the seven swans, they stayed the same at $13,125.00.

Here’s a breakdown of each item with last year’s price and this year’s (sales tax, shipping and handling not included)
1 Partridge in a Pear Tree (2015 – $214.99; 2016 – $209.99)
Patridge by itself (2015 – $25; 2015 – $20)
Pear tree by itself (2015 – $189.99; 2016 – $189.99)
Two Turtle Doves (2015 – $290; 2016 – $375)
Three French Hens (2015 – $181.50; 2016 – $181.50)
Four Calling Birds (2015 – $599.96; 2016 – $599.96)
Five Gold Rings (2015 – $750; 2016 – $750)
Six Geese Laying (2015 – $360; 2016 – $360)
Seven Swans (2015 – $13,125; 2016 – $13,125)
Eight Milk Maids (2015 – $58; 2016 – $58)
Nine Dancing Ladies (2015 – $7,552.84; 2016 – $7,552.84)
Ten Leaping Lords (2015 – $5,508.70; 2016 – $5,508.70)
Eleven Pipers (2015 – $2,635.20; 2016 – $2,708.40)
Twelve Drummers (2015 – $2,854.80; 2016 – $2,943.10)

Like we said, the total cost of all the items (364 of them) is $34,363.49 (in 2015, it was $34,130.99). The true cost of all the items ould run you $156,507.88, up 0.7 percent from last year’s price tag of $155,107.18. Now let’s say you don’t want the swans. That’ll run you $21,238.49, up 1.1 percent from 2015, which would have cost you $21,005.99.

Thomas P. Melcher, chief investment officer for PNC Asset Management Group, noted that consumers should consider shopping early to take advantage of this year’s bargains before a potential Federal Reserve rate increase, which will likely raise consumer borrowing costs.

“The economy continues to expand, and it is likely the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this month or early next year,” Melcher told the Pittsburgh Gazzette and KDKA-TV. “Consumers appear to be cautiously optimistic spenders this year and we’re anticipating a slight improvement in the holiday retail season.”

So save those pennies and get that shopping done. Hold on to the reciept and make sure you understand the return policies.

 

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