Christmas and giving go hand in hand, but how does inflation fit into this combination?
For as long as I can remember, the season for Christmas marketing has always seemed to start earlier and earlier each calendar year; the Halloween costumes are taken off the racks on the November 1st, and by November 2nd Christmas magically appears everywhere! In fact, as you read this, you are probably making your own Christmas plans. I personally would vote for a national date of December 1st to be the official start of Christmas season, but I think that would fly as poorly as an intoxicated Rudolph the Reindeer.
`Tis the season for inflation, or is it? We can all agree that Christmas is the time of year that household budgets, credit card debt, and diets are blown-up; but what about inflation? One would think that inflation would be blown-up too, especially with all the spending on gifts, extravagant feasts, and holiday travel.
Jeff Desjardins writes a great article on inflation regarding the prices of products that we purchase on a yearly basis. Desjardins writes that prices are skyrocketing, but only for things we actually need and not on the things we want. Desjardins researched consumer goods and services over the last 20 years and found that the prices of individual sub-categories had a huge variance from the CPI (Consumer Price Index) of 55%. In other words, the overall inflation since 1996 is 55%; however, there are huge swings, high and low. The high prices were goods and services related to tuition, childcare, healthcare, food, and housing—items and services that are essential to life and that are managed and regulated by the government.
Earlier on, I wrote about Christmas over-spending and inflation. Interestingly enough, Desjardins’ research found that consumer goods that are the hottest gifts this time of year are cheaper than they have ever been over the last 20 years. These consumer goods include things like cars, household furnishings, clothing, cellphone service, toys, software, and TVs. This kind of research would make for great Christmas marketing campaigns for major retailers throughout the western world. I can see it now: “The latest and greatest 4K TVs are 100% off, or cheaper than they were in 1996!”
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We hope everyone enjoys the Christmas season!
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