Holiday spending leaves many renters in the red

By Rachel Layne

/ MoneyWatch

Protect yourself from gift card scams

The holiday season in a big city can be magical: the lights, the food, the gifts, the music! But from Thanksgiving until New Year's, all that cheer can leave some households that rent with a financial hangover, according to a new analysis from the website Rent Cafe.

How much of a hangover can depend on which major city a renter calls home. On average, U.S. renters in the biggest metropolitan areas will emerge $400 in debt after all the festive spending on top of rent and regular living expenses like everyday food and health care, the analysis found.

To get to that figure, Rent Cafe started with an average of $6,500 in household income during November and December. They subtracted $2,800 for rent, $3,000 for living expenses and $1,000 for holiday spending.

But the range is huge, depending on where you light candles, hang the mistletoe or sip champagne.

Perhaps not surprisingly, New Yorkers wind up with the biggest hole in their balance sheets, at $4,200, according to the analysis. Put another way, New Yorkers need $4,200 in savings to emerge from the season unscathed by debt. That's partly because the average two-month rent bill alone is about $7,600, according to the analysis.

Seattle residents are luckier — or at least have fewer expenses. Renters there wind up with the biggest surplus of the top 20 markets at $1,700. Of the top metro areas, Minneapolis winds up in the middle, with a balance of zero.

holiday-pos.png

Rent Cafe used figures from the U.S. Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Retail Federation and retail site Yardi Matrix to calculate the seasonal budgets.

First published on December 20, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

holiday-neg.png holiday-pos.png

Holiday spending leaves many renters in the red

New Yorkers wind up in a $4,200 hole on average, while Seattle renters still have $1,700 after Santa is long gone

updated 14M ago

BuzzFeed wins defamation case related to Trump dossier story

A Russian technology executive had sued Buzzfeed over the publication of the unverified dossier

updated 20M ago

U.S. ally in Syria warns troop pullout will lead to ISIS resurgence

"The war against terrorism has not ended and [ISIS] has not been defeated," Syrian Democratic Forces said

updated 23M ago

Counting on a tax refund? You may owe this year, IRS says

The tax bill signed by Donald Trump last year may create an unwelcome surprise for some taxpayers in April

updated 29M ago

Government funding bill passage now uncertain in the House

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says GOP is in "disarray" as they try to work out way forward on bill to fund the government, given Trump's unhappiness about its lack of wall funding

updated 32M ago

BuzzFeed wins defamation case related to Trump dossier story

A Russian technology executive had sued Buzzfeed over the publication of the unverified dossier

updated 20M ago

Government funding bill passage now uncertain in the House

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says GOP is in "disarray" as they try to work out way forward on bill to fund the government, given Trump's unhappiness about its lack of wall funding

updated 32M ago

DNC announces 12 debates for 2020 presidential campaign

There will be six Democratic primary debates in 2019 and six in 2020. DNC Chairman Tom Perez also announced a "level playing field" for the debates

updated 49M ago

Trump struggles to defend decision to pull out of Syria

He declared ISIS defeated in Syria and claimed Russia, Iran and Syria are unhappy with his decision

updated 29M ago

House Intel votes to release Roger Stone transcript to Mueller

Earlier this month, Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, said Mueller should be provided with Stone's testimony for evidence of perjury

updated 24M ago

U.S. ally in Syria warns troop pullout will lead to ISIS resurgence

"The war against terrorism has not ended and [ISIS] has not been defeated," Syrian Democratic Forces said

updated 23M ago

"Assad has won," expert says, as Trump pulls troops from Syria

Republicans and Democrats alike are condemning the president's decision to withdraw U.S. forces

updated 26M ago

Drone sightings wreak havoc at London's Gatwick Airport

10,000 passengers hit by delays and cancellations, including 4,000 who are stuck at airports unable to depart or arrive

4H ago

Putin warns of growing threat of nuclear war

"The danger of the situation escalating is being downplayed," Putin said during his annual end-of-year news conference

4H ago

Church holds marathon Mass to shield family from deportation

The marathon Mass has been going on 24 hours a day, for six weeks, five days and 23 hours, without a single break

17H ago

Cher explains why she isn't the woman you see on stage

Cher joins this year's prestigious class of artists​ receiving recognition from the Kennedy Center for their lifetime contributions to American culture

3H ago

Macaulay Culkin is "Home Alone" again in new ad

"You have the house to yourself," Google Assistant tells a grown-up Kevin McCallister, 28 years after he was first left home alone

18H ago

Eliza Dushku breaks silence on $9.5 million settlement

Actress Eliza Dushku speaks out about her harassment on-set with "Bull" in an op-ed

18H ago

CBS employees call for transparency and accountability from CBS board

After the CBS board of directors said​ its investigation into former CEO Leslie Moonves and workplace culture issues was complete, some CBS employees and others called for the board to be more open about the findings

Dec 19

Gisele Bündchen in note to younger self: "You are enough"

"Keep following your heart and don't apologize for being you," she writes

21H ago

Amazon sent 1,700 Alexa recordings to wrong customer

Man who reportedly never used the company's virtual assistant received 1,700 recordings it had made of a stranger

1H ago

Companies use VR to train employees for hostage situations, robberies

"VR takes your brain elsewhere…. It's basically like visualization on steroids"

3H ago

Addicted to your smartphone? How track your screen time

Apple and Google both have tools to help you manage your screen time on mobile devices

17H ago

DC attorney general sues Facebook over privacy scandal

Lawsuit accuses social media giant of misleading users about the security of their personal data

Dec 19

Surprising discoveries on how tornadoes form

The very rare and strong December tornado in Washington state comes as scientists say twisters are growing more powerful every year

Dec 19

Wegmans pulls cauliflower rice, stir fry mixes on E. coli fears

Grocery chain sold possibly tainted products this month in produce departments at nearly 100 stores in six states

updated 42M ago

NYC bill would let patients of abusive doctors amend birth certificates

A New York City Council Member said the bill was inspired by a woman who wants a sex offender former doctor removed from her twins' birth certificates

20H ago

Father fights to legalize marijuana in bid to help son

"We just want a chance to prove and to show that cannabis has medical properties and cannabis can help patients and kids like Jagger"

21H ago

U.S. women pay more, fare worse in global health study

More than one-third of American women reported skipping needed medical care because of the cost

21H ago

GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer to create over-the-counter drug giant

The two drugmakers are merging their healthcare divisions, bringing together brands such as Sensodyne and Advil

Dec 19

Holiday spending leaves many renters in the red

New Yorkers wind up in a $4,200 hole on average, while Seattle renters still have $1,700 after Santa is long gone

updated 14M ago

Counting on a tax refund? You may owe this year, IRS says

The tax bill signed by Donald Trump last year may create an unwelcome surprise for some taxpayers in April

updated 29M ago

Wegmans pulls cauliflower rice, stir fry mixes on E. coli fears

Grocery chain sold possibly tainted products this month in produce departments at nearly 100 stores in six states

updated 42M ago

Amazon sent 1,700 Alexa recordings to wrong customer

Man who reportedly never used the company's virtual assistant received 1,700 recordings it had made of a stranger

1H ago

Trump's food stamp proposal: Add work requirements in some states

The administration wants to add work requirements for the SNAP program after the Farm Bill failed to include the provision

3H ago

Deputy kills family, confesses over radio before turning gun on himself

The Florida school officer killed three relatives including his granddaughter, 6, before killing himself, sheriff says

18H ago

Redskins safety charged with assault for fight caught on video

Police say Montae Nicholson and his girlfriend were involved in an argument that escalated into a physical assault

20H ago

Senate passes bipartisan criminal justice bill

Senate voted Tuesday night to approve a sweeping criminal justice overhaul supported by President Trump

Dec 19

Woman in New York fights back, prevents her car from being stolen

Bronx mother Tihisha Jones gets street justice after stopping a suspected car thief in his tracks — and it was all caught on camera

Dec 18

Man in alleged GoFundMe scam could face jail on traffic charges

Mark D'Amico, his girlfriend and a homeless veteran allegedly concocted a good Samaritan story to scam donors

Dec 18