For nearly 4 decades, 4-Star PNC Bank, N.A., Wilmington, DE (formerly Provident National Bank) has provided us with a whimsical inflation reminder. It calculates how much it would cost to purchase all of the items from the “Twelve Days of Christmas” Holiday Song. Due to the pandemic and the fact that many of the gifts involve live performances, 2021 prices were compared to 2019 rather than 2020.
So, if your True Love (or anyone else) has any desire to buy you the extraordinary items mentioned in this song, it would cost 5.7% more this year than it did in 2019. That doesn’t seem that bad, but there are some major variances.
For example, at $222.68, a partridge in a pear tree is 6% more this year than in 2019. That’s because of the tree; the bird remained the same price. But two turtle doves will run you $450 today, or 50% more than in 2019.
The cost of six geese-a-laying rose the most (57.1%) to $660, whereas seven swans-a-swimming (the most expensive gift in the song) remained unchanged at $13,125.
The maids-a-milking and ladies dancing showed no change this year either. They will still cost $58 and $7,553, respectively. (Personally, I think those maids need a raise.) But in any case, these are only the costs if make your purchases locally. If you order your maids-a-milking online, you will spend almost 700% more than at your local farm.
The internet is convenient, but it will cost you. The PNC Christmas Price Index® puts internet prices 10.7% more than shopping locally and 7.9% more than the internet prices from 2019. Geese-a-Laying, in particular seem to be really difficult to ship. Calling birds not so much. Swans-a-swimming purchased online are the only item that saw a decrease in price in the past two years (down 0.3%). (The breakdown is below.)
While we enjoy reporting on whimsical fairytales, the fun is dampened when it hits so close to reality. That is sadly the case this year. The Labor Department reports that the actual CPI—the Consumer Price Index—had a 12 month increase of 6.8% in November (its largest jump since 1982).
So, while we would like to wish you the Merriest of Holidays and a Joyous and Prosperous (not to mention Healthy) New Year, we do so knowing that 2022 is going to be another tough one for savers and those on a fixed income.
In an effort to help, the banks listed on page 7 each had Jumbo CD growth of 100% (or more) during the 12 month period ended September 30, 2021. They are also each rated 3½-Stars or better. Since so many banks are no longer accepting deposits from outside their market area, we listed them alphabetically by state. You can look and see if any are near you. With an average 1 year Jumbo CD paying just 0.33%, you won’t come close to keeping up with inflation, but you can keep your deposits insured until CD rates go up, which the Federal Reserve is signaling may happen sooner than expected.