If you're one of those organized folks who's spent some time with a calculator figuring out your holiday budget down to the last red cent, congratulations. You're really ahead of the curve. However, if you find yourself unpleasantly surprised each time the January credit card bills come due, read on for some help.

So, how much do you think is the average per-person tab for holiday shopping this year in the U.S.? No need to guess. The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts the average per-person tab this holiday season will reach $967, up nearly 3.4 percent since 2016.

The NRF’s estimate for this year’s average holiday spending actually represents an increase of more than 20 percent over the past two years. And the consistent growth is a rather big deal, considering our rapid accumulation of plastic debt. Americans are on track to end 2017 with more than $60 billion in additional credit-card balances, according to personal finance website WalletHub’s projections. That figure puts us perilously close to the nearly $1 trillion grand total recorded at the height of the Great Recession.

WalletHub's numbers-crunchers took a look at projected holiday spending, and trying to save you a "January of Regret," calculated the maximum holiday budget for 570 American cities, Rockford included. Here's how they went about it:

WalletHub’s analysts 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.

Here are the five cities with the most available money to spend at Christmastime, with a nearby Illinois city ranking at number one (recommended budget in parentheses):

1) Naperville, Illinois ($2,381)

2) Sugar Land, Texas ($2,368)

3) Bellevue, Washington ($2,367)

4) Sunnyvale, California ($2,360)

5) Carmel, Indiana ($2,330)


There's quite a disparity between the top five and the bottom five when it comes to money available for gift buying. Here are the bottom five cities:

566) Lynwood, California ($122)

567) Rochester, New York ($97)

568) Brockton, Massachusetts ($71)

569) New Britain, Connecticut ($70)

570) Flint, Michigan ($69)


As for Rockford, we come in at the #231 spot, with $693 being the recommended spending amount, per person.

  • Chicago is #326, with a budget of $600.
  • Peoria is #148, with a budget of $847.
  • Springfield is #144, with $856 to spend.
  • Elgin is #217, with a budget of $713.
  • Bloomington is #142, with $859 for gift money.
  • Champaign is #407, with a budget of $529.

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