It’s More Expensive Than Ever To Be a Woman: Here’s How To Stay on Budget

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Thanks to what’s known as the “pink tax,” women are routinely charged more than men across a number of categories including personal care products, personal care services, like haircuts, and clothing. And with inflation on the rise, it’s now more expensive than ever to be a woman. In this “Financially Savvy Female” column, we look at the rising costs women face, plus, how to stay on budget despite these increasing expenses.

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A Closer Look at the Rising Costs of Being a Woman

Although women have been paying more than men for similar items for decades, there’s been a drastic uptick in recent years. Since 2017, women’s clothing has become 40% more expensive, while men’s clothing has increased in price by 25%, Shondaland reported. Women’s underwear, handbags and jeans have nearly doubled in price, as have perfume and nail polish.

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A 2015 study done by Consumer Reports found that some of the largest price discrepancies between men’s and women’s versions of the same products were found in shaving cream, pain relievers, eye drops and body wash.

“By many estimates, the pink tax costs women an average of $1,300 annually,” Jeanne Sun, general manager of inclusive investing for J.P. Morgan said in a company blog post. “If the same amount were invested into a retirement fund each year, that would amount to about $16,000 over 10 years — assuming an annual return of 5% — and nearly $160,000 over a 40-year work life.”

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How To Avoid the Pink Tax and Stay on Budget

With costs on the rise and wages mostly stagnant — not to mention the wage gap women also contend with — it’s harder than ever for women to stay on budget when shopping for their everyday needs. Fortunately, there are some ways to keep spending in check.

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Tammy Trenta, CFP, founder and CEO at Family Financial, recommends buying gender-neutral brands when possible to avoid the pink tax. She also shared some additional tips for staying on budget when shopping for personal care items and clothing:

  • Look at your bigger impact items. Paying 50 cents more for a deodorant might be annoying, but what if you could save $100 on a pair of shoes?
  • Separate wants versus needs. Focus on getting competitive pricing on your needs and perhaps find a cost-effective solution for wants.
  • Find coupons and research online.
  • Buy generic brands.
  • Buy in bulk.
  • Negotiate pricing when possible.
  • Rent [instead of] buying [special occasion clothing]. Women can rent to save on unnecessary clothing that might not be a part of their daily wardrobe.

GOBankingRates wants to empower women to take control of their finances. According to the latest stats, women hold $72 billion in private wealth — but fewer women than men consider themselves to be in “good” or “excellent” financial shape. Women are less likely to be investing and are more likely to have debt, and women are still being paid less than men overall. Our “Financially Savvy Female” column will explore the reasons behind these inequities and provide solutions to change them. We believe financial equality begins with financial literacy, so we’re providing tools and tips for women, by women to take control of their money and help them live a richer life.

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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