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Empty Wallets: Tennesseans Have Least to Spend During Holidays

With low holiday spending budgets, a survey by WalletHub indicates Tennesseans stand a chance at breaking the bank this holiday, as they try to buy for everyone on their lists. (mconnors/morguefile.com)
With low holiday spending budgets, a survey by WalletHub indicates Tennesseans stand a chance at breaking the bank this holiday, as they try to buy for everyone on their lists. (mconnors/morguefile.com)
December 9, 2015

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - If your finances feel tight this holiday, you're in good company.

Tennesseans - and specifically those living in Knoxville and Memphis - have some of the lowest holiday budgets, when compared with 563 cities nationwide, according to a report released by WalletHub, a website providing information to consumers and small-business owners.

Spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez said WalletHub studied average monthly expenses, income and debt to income ratios to arrive at its conclusions.

"In Memphis, the average consumer can only afford to spend about $98 on their holiday spending, Knoxville more like $80," she said, "so both are less than one-eighth of what the average consumer spends."

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday spending this year will average more than $800 for each person. Americans are projected to end the year with more than $60 billion in additional credit card debt.

Gonzalez said the small amount of money Tennessee consumers actually have to spend leads many to accrue holiday debt, which is difficult to pay off after the wrapping paper is off and gifts are given.

"What this means is for people to really be careful on their holiday spending," she said. "A lot of times, we see credit-card debt really rack up during the month of December alone, and of course that interest carries on far beyond the holiday season."

To stay in budget, experts recommend asking family and friends if they're interested in reducing gift expectations this year, making a shopping list, shopping online to avoid impulse purchases and keeping an eye on free shipping and coupon codes.

The report is online at wallethub.com.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN