Citizens of two Houston suburbs are poised to have very festive holiday seasons, according to a new study. Sugar Land and League City lead WalletHub's rankings of the top holiday budgets by city.
To determine the maximum spending amounts of consumers in 570 American cities, WalletHub measured five criteria: income, age, debt-to-income ratio, monthly income-to-monthly expenses ratio, and savings-to-monthly expenses ratio. The website's algorithm looks favorably upon cities where residents have enough emergency savings to cover six months of expenses and relatively low debt-to-income ratios.
Those factors led Sugar Land to finish second in the overall rankings with $2,368 spent per person. League City is just behind in seventh place at $2,225. Other Texas cities in the top 20 include Dallas suburbs Allen at No. 9, Flower Mound at No. 16, and Frisco at No. 19.
Not surprisingly, residents of big cities don't have quite as much cash to spend. Citizens in Austin (189), Dallas (398), Fort Worth (256), Houston (394), and San Antonio (354) will spend between $538 and $767 this holiday season.
What's one tip to avoid overspending during the holidays? Set a budget and stick to it, one expert advises.
"Clarify the budget for holiday spending at the level of the family and at the level of individual family members," advises Sridhar Balasubramian, a professor of marketing at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina. "Also, clarify the budget for gifts to those outside the immediate family unit, i.e., for relatives and friends other than the core family unit comprising parents and their kids."
Those looking for ways to show affection without spending a lot of money are advised either to make a gift or to direct their attention to non-material items like spending quality time with loved ones. Surely that will make for happier holidays than a Fingerlings Monkey Playground or a build-your-own R2D2 kit — well, maybe not better than R2D2, but those things are probably sold out anyway.