89% of moms of kids 5-7 years old plan to spend the same or more on their child next year. Most of these moms also contemplate where, when, and if she should cut back on her spending. While ‘planning on spending the same or more’ and ‘looking to cut’ are contradictory goals, considering them is inherent in managing ANY budget – but it’s especially true as Moms plan spending cuts to McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Applebee’s – the national chain restaurants where she most frequently ‘eats out’ with the family.
- To understand her thinking on this, we asked Mom, “If you plan to cut back on spending for your child, in what area do you plan to cut back in the most?” As followers of family budgets would expect, the first impulse of respondents is to name categories of discretionary spending – for example, ‘eating out’ or ‘vacations’.
This was consistently true over the years of the research we’ve done in our Moms of 5-7 year olds Trend Tracker, so much so that last year we began using her history of open-ended responses to create budget category ‘buckets’ that would help you better understand her economic impulses.
This is the first time that ‘TOYS’ were not the category moms said they plan to cut the most.
Another important consideration is that, like moms’ perceptions of planned spending, planned cuts are just that – plans. Sometimes plans are concrete and are being acted upon, as in “I already am…” Others plans are vague or not fully formed, as in “I’m thinking about…” Other times plans are fleeting reflections of remorse, as in “I should…”
Qualitative research would reveal moms ‘plans’ with greater certainty. For now, look at to the chart on the right for her top-of-mind response as to where she ‘plans’ to cut spending.
This is the first time that toys WERE NOT the category moms said they plan to cut the most. That distinction went to ‘eating out’. That means that national chain restaurants moms say their family eats at most frequently are likely at the top of moms’ list for spending cuts.
Top 10 National Chain
Restaurants Mom & Family Frequent T=tied
- McDonald’s – 16%
- Chick-fil-A – 6%
- Applebee’s – 5%
- Chili’s – 5%
- Red Robin – 4%
- Subway – 4%
- Taco Bell – 4%
- Cici’s Pizza – 3%
- 99 Restaurant – 3%T
- Olive Garden – 3%T
Moms of boys (44%) plan on cutting spending in the categories kids have the most direct influence on (toys, electronics, video games) slightly more than the moms of girls (40%).