CHARLOTTE, NC — Tis the season to be thrifty, and it might not be by choice either. According to a new study, the average renter in Charlotte is left with $57 after holiday spending once all the other bills are paid.
In their latest study, researchers at apartment search website RENTCafé found the U.S. renters are left with little cash —if any—after taking care of rent and living expenses, not to mention the winter holiday spending. "We don’t want to steal the holiday cheer," researchers said via email, "but we can’t hide from the cold, hard facts."
Bottom line is, analysts said, the average American renter household cannot afford the holiday season without $549 in savings. Crunching the numbers — with data culled from the U.S. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Retail Federation and Yardi Matrix — researchers concluded that the average American family of four spends about 2.8% of their annual income on winter expenses such as gifts and family dinners, ending the season with a negative balance of $549.
Some cities fare better than others in the study, with renters in other regions actually emerging with net gains to varying degrees. Out of the 50 largest U.S. cities studied, 26 of them aren’t that merry, researchers noted. Renter families in these cities needed savings for the winter holidays, with the expensive hubs of Manhattan, Boston and San Francisco leading the way.
On the other end of the spectrum, renters in the remaining 24 cities are actually left with some money in the piggy bank even after all the holiday expenses, researchers noted. This ranges wildly, from a robust $689 in Virginia Beach to a modest $6 in Tucson.
In Charlotte, renters end up with a balance of $57 when it’s all said and done, holiday-wise.
Here’s the Charlotte breakdown:
Median renter income (two months): $6,362. Average rent (two months): $2,294. Cost of living (two months): $2,925. Holiday spending: $1,087.
Other North Carolina cities were studied. Renters in Raleigh end up exponentially better than those in Charlotte, with a whopping $247 balance left over for renters after their holiday spending.
To see how you will close the year after the holiday spending with RENTCafé’s handy calculator, or to find your city in their interactive table with data on the 50 largest U.S. cities, click here.
Original report by Patch Editor Tony Cantu