shop 'til you drop
Santa and his elves get busier with every passing year, but sometimes even Kris Kringle has to use his black card to get the job done. And according to a new study by Wallethub, Santa's gonna be working overtime to fulfill the orders for residents of The Woodlands this holiday season.
The personal finance experts have determined The Woodlands is the U.S. city with the No. 10 biggest holiday spending budget in 2023. Shoppers in the affluent Houston suburb are expected to spend $3,316 this festive season.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, The Woodlands' estimated population of 114,436 had a median household income of $130,011.
This is The Woodlands' first time in the holiday shopping spotlight. The Houston suburb ranked a much lower – No. 71 – in last year's report with an average spending budget of $1,733. Way to step it up.
The nearby city of Sugar Land is a returnee, and moved up one place from No. 15 last year into No. 14 this year. The average holiday budget for a Sugar Land household is $3,210.
Houston fell into No. 209 this year with an average household holiday budget of $1,296. Houston skyrocketed away from its previous rank as No. 366 in 2022 with an average spending budget of $890.
Six other East Texas cities landed in this year's report on the heftiest holiday budgets:
- No. 31 – Pearland ($2,566)
- No. 34 – Missouri City ($2,517)
- No. 234 – Beaumont ($1,244)
- No. 238 – Pasadena ($1,237)
- No. 407 – Conroe ($935)
- No. 438 – Baytown ($872)
Each year, WalletHub calculates the maximum holiday budget for over 550 U.S. cities "to help consumers avoid post-holiday regret," the website says. The study factors in income, age of the population, and other financial indicators such as debt-to-income ratio, monthly-income-to monthly-expenses ratio, and savings-to-monthly-expenses ratio.
Shoppers will have to keep a closer eye on their bank accounts this year while they search for the best gifts for their loved ones. Many consumers are running out of savings accumulated during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Yao Jin, an associate professor of supply chain management at Miami University.
To combat overspending, Jin suggests setting hard budgets based on personal financial circumstances and develop a list of "must haves" rather than "nice to haves."
"Holiday times are festive, and retailers know that festivities can boost mood and lead to a propensity to overspend," he said in the Wallethub report. "In fact, that is also why retailers tend to have more generous return policies to both alleviate concerns of unwanted gifts and buyer’s remorse. The key to avoiding holiday overspending is for consumers to take the emotions out of the decision, to the extent possible."Other Texas cities that made it in the top 100 include:
- No. 3 – Frisco ($3,546)
- No. 5 – Flower Mound ($3,485)
- No. 22 – Allen ($2,964)
- No. 30 – Plano ($2,566)
- No. 44 – Cedar Park ($2,354)
- No. 56 – McKinney ($2,165)
- No. 67 – Carrollton ($1,928)
- No. 71 – Austin ($1,877)
- No. 77 – Richardson ($1,809)
- No. 95 – League City ($1,733)
- No. 99 – North Richland Hills ($1,706)
The report and its methodology can be found on wallethub.com.
This article originally ran on CultureMap.