Parents are suckers. When the holidays come around, our eyes are blinded by sparkly visions of cherubic children opening the most sought-after gifts, absolute joy exuding from their faces. And we’ll spend a lot of money trying to make that happen.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average person will spend $967 on the holidays this year. Not all of that is for gifts. That portion is $608. The rest goes toward things like party food, decorations and treats for ourselves.
Still, that number sounded high to me. Though I know I set my own budget, the thought has crossed my mind that maybe I should be spending that much, too.
If you live in Southwest Florida, the answer is no. No way near that.
This year, WalletHub, a personal-finance website, created holiday budgets for people in 570 cities across the U.S. (They’re also offering to calculate your personal holiday budget if you become a member.) They take into consideration local income stats, age and other financial metrics, such as debt-to-income ratio. You might be relieved to know that you are not expected to spend a thousand dollars.
In Cape Coral, the holiday budget comes in at $684. In Fort Myers, it’s $439. If you live in Boca Raton, the city with the biggest holiday budget in Florida, you might be able to afford to spend $1,216.
The biggest spenders on the whole list: Naperville, Illinois, at $2,381. At the bottom: Flint, Michigan, at $69. In Florida, the smallest budget was for Gainesville: $192.
Sorry, Naples, you weren’t on the list.
In reality, it doesn’t matter what you spend. Don’t spend anything, if you don’t want to. Tell family and friends you’re getting back to basics this year. They’ll be green with envy.
Besides, you don’t want to risk repeating my son’s first Christmas. I still remember him sitting up in his yellow-footed pajamas, wrapping paper all around him, halfway through his presents, staring off into some unknown dimension and emitting a steady sound that can only come from a complete mind melt. When my kids ask why they aren’t getting more for Christmas, I’ll explain that I care too much about their well-being to spoil them rotten.
Pamela Hayford is a mother of two and editor of Southwest Florida Parent & Child magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook (swflparentchild) or Twitter (@swflparentchild).
SW FL Parent & Child
The December issue of Southwest Florida Parent & Child magazine is available online and at family-friendly locations throughout Lee and Collier counties. Inside, you’ll find numerous ways to wrap your family in holiday cheer. You can read about kids who give back to the community, get ideas for cool wrappings and stocking stuffers, make gifts from your kitchen and find lots of fun holiday events. Learn more at swflparentchild.com.
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