With female consumers cutting back, economic stimulus rebate checks may do little to spur spending, a CoolSavings.com survey finds.

Retailers including Wal-Mart and Sears have programs aimed at capturing a share of consumers’ economic stimulus package rebate checks, but consumers may have other plans. A survey by consumer coupons site CoolSavings.com found that 93% of the women polled are worried about their families’ finances and are reducing spending as a result.

The online survey of 831 female consumers, conducted by CoolSavings parent company Q Interactive, determined that only 6% plan to use the rebate checks to buy something I wouldn’t normally buy. 39% said they’d use the check to cover their regular purchases or pay down credit card bills, while 18% said they’d save part and spend part of the checks. 9% planned to save the entire check and 21% said they were unsure what they’d do with the money. The remaining 7% do not expect to receive a stimulus check; taxpayers who report incomes above certain thresholds do not receive the checks.

As the primary shopper who controls upwards of 70% of their household’s discretionary budget, women are clearly concerned about their families in today’s economy, and they’re looking to cut costs across many areas of their budget, says Matt Wise, CEO of Q Interactive.

In other findings, the survey determined that while 93% of women surveyed expressed worry about family finances, the 55-year-old and over group was slightly less worried, with 84% saying they were concerned about money. Those in the 25-34 age bracket expressed the most concern, 97%.

Restaurant dining tops the list of likely cutbacks, cited by 24% of those surveyed. 17% say they’ll cut back on energy costs, 17% groceries, 16% entertainment and 11% clothes purchases. Those surveyed reported that they’d saved in the past three months by cutting back on their top-cited category, with 34% saying they’d saved $50 to $99 while 29% said they’d saved $49 or less, and 27% saying they’d saved $100 to $249.


In the survey, 50% of women said there was no personal indulgence they’d refuse to cut out in difficult economic times. This was followed by 12% who said they’d refuse to give up alcohol or tobacco no matter what the economic climate, and 10% who said they’d refuse to give up restaurant meals on special occasions.

Walmart.com is No. 14 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites; Sears Holding Corp. is No. 8.