Don’t be surprised if a Christmas gift from a friend or relative in Tucson is not quite as flashy as one from someone in Gilbert.
It’s not that Tucsonans are necessarily cheap. It’s just that, the way WalletHub figures it, they’ve got less to spend.
Each year, the financial advice website analyzes the finances of a typical adult resident in each of 570 communities across the nation, including 15 in Arizona.
It looks at monthly income and expenses, savings and average age. And then, using what it says is its “proprietary algorithm,” compares all the factors and determines the holiday budget for the average resident of each community.
So, for example, the average Phoenician is 33.4 years old, has a monthly income of $4,339 and expenses of $3,382, with $4,282 in the bank.
That computes out to a debt-to-income figure of 51.2 percent, an income-to-expense ratio of 128 percent and a savings-to-expense ratio of 127 percent.
Based on that, WalletHub figures the average holiday budget for a Phoenix adult should be $523. That’s about 6.5 percent higher than last year’s figure.
That ranks it No. 12 out of the 15 Arizona communities studied.
None of this, according to WalletHub spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez, means that’s what a typical Phoenician — or resident of any community — will actually spend. What it does show is what they might be expected to spend given their finances, she says.
Who’s on top?
That would be Gilbert, where WalletHub figures income and the other financials predict residents will be able to spend $1,256. Scottsdale comes in second at $1,086.
And Tucson? It’s at the bottom among all Arizona cities, where the anticipated Christmas gift-giving budget is $391. That also places Tucson at No. 525 of all the communities nationwide.
But there’s a positive side to the latest numbers for Tucson.
WalletHub figures that when all the factors are taken into account, the average Tucsonan actually will have a bit more to spend this year than last.
Not much, mind you. Just $10 on average.
But that trend beats what’s happened in some other Arizona communities.
In Surprise, for example, WalletHub finds the combination of data will result in a 15 percent drop in what the typical resident can spend.
The Christmas budget for San Tan Valley residents also took a dive, largely because of the 67.3 percent debt-to-income ratio, the highest in the state.
And the drop is even more pronounced in Yuma, because of low income compared to expenses. There, the budget dropped by more than 37 percent.
So where’s the best place in the country to have gift-giving friends and relatives?
That would be Naperville, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, that in 2016 was ranked the “wealthiest city in the Midwest” based on income, housing prices and credit availability. WalletHub figures each adult there is able to spend $2,381 on Christmas presents.
Sugarland, a suburb of Houston, came in second.
And at the bottom of the WalletHub list? Flint, Michigan, where residents would be expected to spend about $69 on presents.