smart spending

Santa's finances: messier than yours

The money evaporators

So Santa earned about $9,535,866.50 in 2010 -- not bad! But what does it cost to get gifts for all the world's children?

A random sampling from the Toys R Us Hot Holiday Toy List tells us the average toy this year costs about $35. However, Santa has a vast warehouse of elves helping him build toys, so he doesn't pay full price -- a $35 toy sets Santa back about $15.

According to the CIA World Factbook, there are 1,829,256,297 children ages 14 and younger in the world. Santa delivers to half of them -- the ones 7 and younger, who still believe in him. That's roughly 914,628,149 kids. For one toy per child, at $15 a pop, Santa will shell out $13,719,422,235.

And don't forget the elves working late nights to craft these toys. James Medlock of the American Payroll Association says each elf would likely be paid $1,884 in a biweekly salary -- or $4,710 for five weeks of work. Santa would have to pay employment taxes as well. For 8,500 elves, the grand total would be $40,035,000.

What about holiday bonuses for the elves? "Normally, a temporary employee is not provided a holiday bonus," Medlock says, "But that would be up to Santa's discretion."

If anyone has holiday spirit, it would have to be Santa. So a $75 bonus for each elf would ring up at $637,500.

Santa's 2010 costs, at $13,760,094,735, vastly exceed his 2010 earnings of $9,413,530.

Not only is Santa wearing red, he's also deeply in the red. Maybe we should leave him more than just cookies and milk this Christmas.

News alert Create a news alert for "smart spending"


Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us

Discover new ways to cut costs and save more every day. Reduce your spending, not life’s pleasures. Delivered weekly.

Partner Center

Connect with us