Amid Recession, Women Spend Even Less

A survey finds gender differences in decisions to scale back.

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Women, it seems, are dealing with this recession a little differently than men. Specifically, we are cutting back on our spending more than our male peers. A survey by Opinion Research Corporation for TD Ameritrade found that 86 percent of women say they are spending less on optional expenses compared to 78 percent of men.

What explains this gender difference? TD Ameritrade attributes it to the fact that women have long managed household expenses, so they are better prepared to cut back in a downturn. “More and more women are now responsible for managing the family’s finances, and they are more cost-conscious as the economy tightens their purse strings,” says Paula DeLaurentis, managing director of strategic alliances at the company.

It's also possible that women have more optional expenses to begin with; perhaps we were spending unnecessarily before, or we're simply in charge of a greater portion of household spending. We could also be harder hit by the recession, so feel forced to make more changes than our male counterparts.

Here are a few more of the survey's findings:

  • Women are more likely to have scaled back their eating-out habits. (58 percent of women versus 48 percent of men)
    • Women are more likely to have started buying fewer clothes and shoes. (54 percent versus 40 percent)
      • Women are more likely to shop at discount stores. (48 percent versus 37 percent)
        • Women are more likely to have cancelled or postponed vacations. (31 percent versus 22 percent)