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Do Women Really Spend Too Much?

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Here we go ladies. We put the guys on the financial hot seat in this article but now, it’s time to see how you’re spending your money. The stereotype in the minds of all of us (that is, the male population) is that you spend too much time at the mall and too much money on clothes, makeup and shoes.

We’ll see if that stereotype is true but let’s look at a few quick facts. According to Business Pundit Women make up 70% of consumer spending in the United States and 60% of that spending is now done online. They will earn more than men by 2030 projections and they’ll spend 8.5 years of their life shopping.

There is another dimension to this that is more important than taking a lighthearted look at the financial gender wars. How much money are you taking from your potential future wealth by spending money on things that have little or no lasting value? Yes, we’re going to take all of the fun out of discretionary spending but take heart. Nobody expects all of us to spend all of our money on food, water and shelter.

Looking Good

Here’s how the numbers break down. Women spend $217 per year on makeup, $417 on body care products, $1,069 on clothing, and $250 on shoes for a total of $1,953 per year.

We all need clothes, shoes, and a portion of all of these categories but let’s say, ladies, that you were able to cut this yearly expense in half, invest that $976.50 in to an investment account each year for 20 years, and earn 5% on it each year. After 2o years you would have $36,494 not counting the effects of inflation. (Inflation would make that $976.50 yearly investment steadily rise through the years)

Restaurants

Women spend $1,100 eating away from home each year. If you didn’t eat at the restaurant you would have to eat at home. I found conflicting statistics but saying that eating at home is one-third of the cost of eating out seems to be a safe assumption so let’s subtract a third of the total for our calculation. That would make our 20 year retirement number $27,500. Take heart, ladies. Men spend $1,800 per year at restaurants but they’ll argue that it’s because they’re paying for your meal. Do you agree?

Other Facts

A recent study found that women respond better to economic conditions than men. As a result of the economic downturn, 55% of women said they were spending less online compared to only 42% of men. 69% of women are doing less retail store shopping compared to 59% of men, and 72% of women have reduced their entertainment expenses compared to 64% of men.

Bottom Line

Studies show that women spend more because they’re charged with purchasing household goods more often than men. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room to cut back, ladies. Regardless of gender, spending less and saving more is the key to long term wealth building.

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16 Responses to “Do Women Really Spend Too Much?”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I’m curious — are these numbers just what women are spending on themselves? In most of the families I know, women do most of the shopping for the kids and often buy clothing and grooming products for their husbands. To say that women account for 70 per cent of consumer spending is meaningless to me because I know women aren’t spending all that money on themselves.

    • lostAnnfound says:

      Agree. I do almost all the shopping for husband and two teen girls. Not much of what I spend is for just me: I don’t wear makeup, I work at home so jeans & t-shirts are fine and are cheap, and since I work at home I rarely go out to a restaurant, once in a great while with the family.

    • freeby50 says:

      “I know women aren’t spending all that money on themselves.”

      Yep. Thats certainly part of it. In married couples I’d assume that the women often do more of the household shopping or shopping for children.

      • ziglet19 says:

        Yep, I know I buy almost all bathroom/grooming items for the family, including my husband. He generally buys his own clothes, but I do end up buying underwear, socks, etc.

  2. I’ve never worried about the gender spending gap. Fact is that it costs more to be a woman, so more spending naturally follows. I’m just glad I’m a man…shampoo, no conditioner; soap, no facial wash; shaving the face, not legs and arm pits; washing less hair by the year, no make-up, no purses, no accessorizing outfits, no finding just the right pair of shoes or boots, and of course, no childbirth:-)

  3. freeby50 says:

    My first reaction to this was that I assume men spend a lot more on cars than women do. I couldn’t find any data showing the average amounts men vs women spend on cars though. But I’m quite sure men spend more on average. Car spending alone may outweigh any gender differences in other spending categories.

  4. Wilma says:

    I’m the stingy frugal one not mentioned in those stats. I’m allergic to make up and most cosmetic products so I’m free from spending on that. I don’t dress up. Jeans and a t shirt or flannel do me fine. I go out to breakfast on Sundays with the family. At work I buy soup and a soft pretzel for dunking in the soup which is $3. Right now I’m on oil tank conservation mode so until it’s 30 degrees all the time the thermostat is set at 55 degrees. My legs are wrapped in a blanket and I’m wearing a heavy hoodie. Don’t have cable or a dish. My car is paid for. I’m wringing out all I can from my pay check……=)

    • Strebkr says:

      Speaking of the thermostat, we have a rule in our house, you can’t say the C(old) word unless you have on pants, a sweatshirt and slippers. It works wonders! Try it.

  5. Shirley says:

    I do spend more for myself than my husband does for himself, but it’s not on any of those things listed. It’s for ‘computer stuff’ which I guess could be classified as my hobby.

    Since this probably runs from $300 to $500 per year and actually benefits the whole family in one way or another ;-) , I don’t find it to be excessive. Everything else is for family consumption and we shop together.

  6. These costs are very low for me. $1000 a year on clothes? I spend about $1000 a month on clothes! Clearly I can cut down on my spending, but one trip to Banana Republic for two new work outfits can run up to $400-$500! And that’s just on myself. I do spend a lot more than my boyfriend on clothes and, well, makeup also. And shoes. It’s just a requirement of being a woman in modern society.

    • Strebkr says:

      If you have the money go for it, by all means, but I don’t think its society completely. It can be your peer group, your professional group, your work setting, etc. These are the choices you have made in your life. If you are happy with them great you have your life in control, but I would venture to say you are in the minority if you spend $1000 a month on clothes if you used society as your population to compare against.

  7. ziglet19 says:

    Wow, I know I don’t spend anywhere near $200 on makeup a year, probably less than $50 (moisturizer and foundation work well enough for me). But then again, I know women who spend $50 on one product, so I guess maybe a $200 average makes sense!

  8. Karen says:

    I can see that it’s hard to really compare the genders because of the fact that women buy more for the entire family than men usually do. When I compare what my husband spends when he picks up some groceries compared to what I spend… he spends more. When I compare what we both spend on hobbies… he spends more. Technology…he spends more, wine and beer…he spends more, (we are in business together… he spends more. I could go on… :)

  9. Caroline says:

    Where are these statistics from?

  10. The Frugalist says:

    Yep! Tootsie was right (remember the movie?) It still costs a lot to be a woman.


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