Asda Mumdex

First year anniversary finds Mums budgeting with military precision

Judith McKenna

It’s a year since we started polling our mums and in this, our first anniversary edition, I’m able to reflect on the year that was and what it has meant for our mums.

We have returned to the theme of the economy and explored how what is playing out on the macro economic stage is impacting our mums’ day-to-day lives. We’ve also taken the opportunity to ask our mums what the Chancellor could do to make a fundamental difference to their families’ lives ahead of his annual Budget.

When we first spoke to mums about their household finances, we heard just how difficult life was. A year on and families are finding themselves in a worse financial state with the cost of living going up and up. We saw particular pressure points around fuel, food and luxuries, and now rising utility bills have been added to the list. It feels like an attack on all financial fronts, with every household bill rising and incomes failing to increase in line with inflation.

It is hardly surprising that mums remain pessimistic about the UK economy: looking at their views over the year, we see there is a trend towards more mums believing the financial situation will leave a permanent mark on the economy. No one has given them a clear vision of the path to economic recovery and they are marginally less convinced than they were last year that the policy of spending cuts is the answer.

They’re down, but not beaten: ever resilient, our mums are pulling all of the micro financial levers they have at their disposal. They’re budgeting with military precision and making cuts of their own across the board. Last year we saw mums cutting back on the luxuries – the big ticket items and holidays – but now they’re really feeling the pinch, they are reassessing the very basics they need to live: food, heating and transport. They’re looking for free local activities for the kids, sharing money saving tips and doing everything they can to keep their homes a safe and happy haven from the outside world.

But there’s only so far mums can cut their budgets before it begins to affect quality of life. With many of the activities which are fundamental to family life under threat, it is no wonder that half of our mums feel they have a lower standard of living than they did last year. They have even re-evaluated what they believe to be a good standard of living – it is no longer about being able to buy the latest electrical items, it is about being able to clothe and feed their family without having to worry about money.

So it’s clear that the rising cost of living is our mums’ number one priority. When we asked them what they most wanted the Chancellor to do for their family in the Budget, their top three answers were all connected to supporting them with this issue. They call for the Government to help reduce utility bills, to freeze fuel duty and to increase the personal tax allowance – giving them more money in their purse to set against falling disposable income. With money so tight, our mums are concerned about where they can realistically make further savings in their budget without this support.

We have been listening to what Asda Mums have been telling us through Mumdex over the year, and acted to help make it a bit easier for them and their families. Our pledge is to continue to champion our mums and help the business use this insight to support them in the things that really matter to mums in what is set to be another challenging year.

Posted in Asda Mumdex on 15 March 2013