by Melanie Hasty-Grant

12-DaysAsk the Money Maven

Every year since 1984, PNC Wealth Management has released its Christmas Price Index. The PNC Christmas Price Index is a humorous national commodity price index based on the cost of the items in the popular Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” It measures the changing cost of goods over time. I thought it would be interesting to compare the cost of those items from local vendors, here in Oklahoma where possible, to see if the cost of the items would be less than what the national index numbers were. In other words, I wanted to try to do “The Twelve Days of Christmas” on a budget and see if I could do better. And low and behold, the cost in many cases (not all) were lower! Hallelujah! It is true that the cost of living is less in the great state of Oklahoma!

The following are my findings:

’12 Oklahoma          ’11 National

1 Partridge                           $23                      $15

1 Pear Tree                           $19                      $170

2 Turtle Doves                    $150                    $125

3 French Hens                      $36                     $150

4 Calling Birds                         $516                    $520

5 Gold Rings                             $975                    $64

6 Geese-a-Laying                     $67                      $162

7 Swans-a-Swimming              $8295                 $6300

8 Maids-a-Milking                    $58                      $58

9 Ladies Dancing                       $765                    $6294

10 Lords-a-Leaping                   $500                   $4767

11 Pipers Piping                          $1925                 $2428

12 Drummers Drumming         $2100                $2630

TOTAL                                         $15,429              $23,683 

So, just buying the items for the 12th day alone, with one round of all 12 presents, would cost $15,429.14. Now, as you can see, the biggest cost “savings” came from the dancing ladies, lords-a-leaping, pipers piping, and drummers drumming. That means that cost of services, therefore, wages are less. However, in all fairness, this savings may be because I hired each of these for only one hour of service. In the national study, they may have hired them for longer (their study is not specific about how many hours they used them). Being budget conscious, I figured an hour would do.

By far, the highest priced item are the silly swans. Who would have figured? And the lowest priced item on the index was the pear tree, coming in at a whopping $19. What a deal!

One more thing, “The True Cost of Christmas” is calculated by following the exact instructions in the song (buying a partridge in a pear tree on each of the 12 days, buying two turtle doves from the second day onward, for a total of 22 turtle doves, etc.) for the complete set of 364 items. The “True Cost of an Oklahoma Christmas” would cost $75,997.98. Wow! As a penny-pinching, budget-minded Money Maven, may I recommend that you don’t! If you want to do something really special for your “true love” as the song says, then print the lyrics off the Internet and video yourself singing the song on your phone and send it to them or post it on YouTube. It will make just as a lastingng impression, I am sure. Besides, what in the heck would you do with all these crazy birds once the deal was over? Geez!

The price of each item is set as follows:The pear tree comes from Sander’s Nursery in Broken Arrow. The partridge, turtle doves, French hens, geese and swans are determined by the Tulsa Zoo. The price of a canary (calling bird)is from PetSmart in Owasso. JCPenney set the cost of gold rings. The maids are assumed to be unskilled laborers earning the Federal Minimum Wage. The Tulsa Ballet provided the hourly cost of “guesting” for an hour for the lords-a-leaping. A Tulsa dance company provided estimates for the ladies dancing. The going rate for drummers and pipers was provided by City of Tulsa Pipes and Drums.

For more cheap Christmas gift ideas, call or email me and I will toss a couple of ideas your way, along with helping you to invest your savings. For more information, go to www.waterstonewealth.com

-Melanie Hasty-Grant

Experienced Licensed Professional Counselor and Managing Principal at Waterstone Private Wealth Management 

LPL Financial

Member FINRA/SIPC

melanie hasty grant money maven