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Do Women Really Spend Too Much?

Here we go ladies. We put the guys on the financial hot seat in this article [3] 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 [4] 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)


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 [5] 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.