No need to worry about them spending it all in one place when they aren’t going to spend any of it.

Along with visiting shrines and almost killing yourself with mochi rice cakes, otoshidama is part of the New Year’s festivities in Japan. Otoshidama are gifts of cash, placed in colorful envelopes and given to children by older relatives, and are generally the biggest single influx of financial resources most kids will have over the next 12 months.

Toymaker Bandai recently conducted a survey of parents of 900 kids (50 boys and 50 girls from each of the six years of Japanese elementary school and three years of junior high) about their otoshidama haul in 2018. Elementary school-age children received an average of 21,382 yen (US$190), while the middle school kids found themselves 30,507 yen richer in the new year. 91.3 percent said they were given otoshidama from their grandparents, followed by 67.3 percent getting cash gifts from aunts and uncles and 64.4 from parents.

Bandai then asked the survey participants how that otoshidama is going to be used, and the most common response, by far, was “savings,” making up 37.7 percent of the answers. The top ten were:

1. Savings – 37.7 percent
2. Video game hardware/software – 27.7 percent
3. Toys, collectible card games – 21.8 percent
4. Stationery, interior items – 21.1 percent
5. Books (other than manga) – 18.7 percent
6. Candy, juice, soft drinks – 18.6 percent
7. Manga – 16.1 percent
8. Clothing, fashion items – 11.8 percent
9. Playing games at an arcade – 11.2 percent
10. Sporting goods – 6.5 percent

When subdivided by gender, savings slipped to the number-two response for boys, with the top slot going to video games/hardware, at 37.5 percent, just above the 36.2 percent of savings. Girls, meanwhile, kept savings at the top of their list, at 39.4 percent, followed by stationery, books, clothing, and candy.

All those responsible choices, though, may not completely reflect the kids’ true desires, though. While 35.2 percent of the children in the survey are being allowed to use their otoshidama however they want, for 13 percent of them, Mom and Dad are dictating how the funds are to be used, with the remaining 51.8 percent of kids having partial otoshidama freedom. So perhaps when they get older and can truly do whatever they want with their money, they’ll transition from showing fiscal restraint at New Year’s and instead start splurging on Lucky Bag shopping instead.

Source: Bandai via IT Media
Top image: Pakutaso

Follow Casey on Twitter, where it’s already February but he still hasn’t eaten soba in 2018.