Moms cutting personal spending to buy children gifts

Beyond giving birth, moms make sacrifices for their children. Maybe they do without the regular trip to the hair stylist so their kids can go to the right preschool. Or they stop watching soap operas in favor of cartoons or a trip to the park.

This Christmas season, more moms are sacrificing for their children by not buying things for themselves and instead spending the money on toys for the kids, according to a New York Times story.

The Times reports that in September and October, sales of women's apparel fell dramatically compared with the same months the year before. They were down 18.2% in October, compared with an 8.3% drop for men's apparel, according to the SpendingPulse, a report by MasterCard Advisors.

A survey of shoppers' intentions by the NPD Group, a consultant firm, suggests that such cutbacks may continue through the holiday season. Some 61% of mothers said they would shop less for themselves this year, compared with 56% of all women and 45% of men. The survey suggests that mothers, more than any other group, would also spend less money overall and postpone big-ticket purchases.

Reyne Rice, who studies toy trends for the Toy Industry Association, told the Times that mothers do at least 80% of the holiday shopping in a family, and in past recessions they have been the first to do without. They tend not to get a new coat for themselves, Rice said, so they can provide for their children.

My large family cut back Christmas spending when I was a teenager by picking names out of a hat, and it's a cost-saving method that big families continue using today. Another idea is to only buy Christmas gifts for the children, and to spend time with your family instead of trying to buy them all gifts.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job hunt at

Read Full Story