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Women with Kids Cut Spending Most During Recession

Posted by: Lauren Young on October 14, 2009

Women with children are feeling the impact of the economic downturn most profoundly, according to a new survey. “Women with children are tightening their purse strings and protecting their lairs,” says Lisa Caputo, chairman and CEO of Citi’s (C) Women & Co., a financial resource for women.

Caputo, pictured here, says the financial pullback by women with kids is particularly worrisome because women—who control 80% of household finances—are a critical barometer for the U.S. economy. “How women are feeling is going to help lead our country out of a recession,” Caputo says.

Three-quarters of women with children say their spending and savings habits been permanently altered by the recession compared with 61% of women without children as well as 60% of all men who had the same response, according to the survey. And while we all know that memories are short, Caputo says the economic downturn should have a long-lasting impact on the psyche of American women. “My own perspective is that nothing is forever, but right here, right now, that’s how women are feeling,” she says.

Other noteworthy stats about women with kids from the survey:

• 63% say they have delayed the purchase of a big-ticket item such as a car. By comparison, just 50% of women without kids in the home and 52% of men have postponed major purchases.

• 52% of women with children have taken money out of savings or investments to help cover expenses. By contrast, 42% of women without children and 39% of men have dipped into those savings.

• 31% of women with kids are pursuing additional education. Just 16% of women without children and 21% of men are returning to school.

It’s also interesting to note that wealthy women with assets exceeding $250,000 are feeling the pinch, too. According to the survey, 66% of these women are cutting back on everyday expenses.

“Every working mom I know feels like they are working longer hours—or not working,” Caputo says. “There is a reset going on in the minds of women today.”

Have you permanently changed your spending and saving habits in response to the recession? Why or why not?

Reader Comments

Melissa Brown

October 16, 2009 11:00 AM

My husband and I have secure jobs -- no raise, mind you but secure employment. We have reduced some expenses, though, so that we can give more to charities in our area and internationally. I've started walking to a free parking lot, instead of paying for a lot near my office. With our kids' support, we've cut out meals out in order to give more to causes they care about. MSBrown, indianapolis

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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