If you live in The Woodlands, Sugar Land, or League City, you may be making a holiday shopping list as long as a stocking and checking it more than twice.
These three Houston suburbs rank among the 10 U.S. cities with the fattest holiday budgets, according to a new study from personal finance website WalletHub.
The Woodlands ranks third nationally, at $3,073, while Sugar Land comes in fourth ($3,023) and League City lands at No. 10 ($2,778). Pearland ranks 13th ($2,669) and Missouri City appears at No. 80 ($1,499), while Houston ranks 372nd ($783).
“To help consumers avoid post-holiday regret, WalletHub calculated the maximum holiday budget for each of 570 U.S. cities using five key characteristics of the population, such as income, age, and savings-to-monthly expenses ratio,” the website says.
A suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth wraps up the No. 1 spot on the national list. Flower Mound, according to WalletHub, boasts the most Santa-friendly budget among all the cities: $3,427. Flower Mound ranked second last year ($2,973) and third in 2019 ($2,937).
Seven other DFW cities unwrap rankings in the top 100:
- Allen, No. 12, $2,688.
- Frisco, No. 30, $2,133.
- Plano, No. 33, $2,044.
- Richardson, No. 43, $1,857.
- Carrollton, No. 56, $1,698.
- North Richland Hills, No. 76, $1,544.
- Irving, No. 89, $1,439.
The two biggest cities in North Texas are on the Scrooge-y side: Fort Worth appears at No. 257 ($920), and Dallas ranks 365th ($787).
In the Austin area, the holiday budgets are more on the lean side, like Santa on a diet:
- Cedar Park, No. 48, $1,770.
- Round Rock, No. 134, $1,200.
- Austin, No. 188, $1,049.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio area’s two entrants on the list feel like they’ve earned lumps of coal:
- New Braunfels, No. 196, $1,034.
- San Antonio, No. 371, $783.
“In general, consumers are ready to spend and to have social experiences both within and outside the home. This spurs consumption in multiple categories, including food, décor, apparel, and gifts. This trend toward increased spending is mitigated by lingering COVID health concerns, including reticence to shop in physical stores, gather in groups, and travel,” Barbara Stewart, interim chair of the University of Houston’s Department of Human Development and Consumer Sciences, tells WalletHub.
The National Retail Federation predicts a record-shattering holiday season for retail sales, growing between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion. Meanwhile, professional services firm Deloitte envisions a 7 percent to 9 percent spike in holiday spending this year versus last year. Commercial estate services provider pegs the projected increase at 8.4 percent.
“The outlook for the holiday season looks very bright,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation. “The unusual and beneficial position we find ourselves in is that households have increased spending vigorously throughout most of 2021 and remain with plenty of holiday purchasing power.”