Years ago I did a TV news story on how the cost of dry cleaning a woman’s cotton blouse was more expensive than a man’s cotton shirt at a number of dry cleaners.
Can you believe that a woman’s blouse could cost twice as much as a man’s shirt to dry clean? If that seems ridiculous to you, you’re not alone.
This is just one example of how women can end up paying more for the same item or service as men. Another example is haircuts: Most barbershops and salons offer two prices, one for a man’s haircut and one for a woman’s haircut. Regardless of how much hair needs to be cut off, women tend to pay more. In fact, the average cost for a man’s haircut is $28, but for women it’s an average of $44.
Sadly, there’s not a lot you can do when it comes to paying more for services — but there is something you can do when it comes to paying a higher price for products designed for women!
A study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that, for 794 products studied, women pay seven percent more than men. This same study also found that women’s products cost more 42 percent of the time, while men’s products cost more only 18 percent of the time.
You may have heard this practice referred to as a “woman tax” or “pink tax.” While it can be frustrating, there are some simple things you can do to avoid paying a “woman tax” on personal care items, clothing, and even toys. Read on for my tips on how to kick that pink tax to the curb!
Foundation, eyeliner, and nail polish are a few items you won’t find in the men’s department, but there are still some savvy ways you can save money on makeup!
1. Pink may cost you more
It’s a good idea to compare the price per unit between products made specifically for men and those made for women. Sometimes pricing just comes down to the packaging, so it may be time for us ladies to embrace our male counterparts’ products and save some money!
I found a pack of women’s sensitive razors and compared them to a pack of men’s sensitive razors. Both packs were $5.99 — but the men’s razors came in a pack of four while the women’s razors only came in a pack of three.
For a difference of about 50 cents per razor, I’ll gladly swap out my pink razors for blue ones!
2. Shop the men’s clothing department
It’s no surprise that when it comes to clothing, we women will often pay more for basically the same style. One example I found was jeans.
For a popular style of jeans made in both men’s and women’s sizes, the women’s style was $64-$90 and men’s style was $60 — with a sale price of $34.99!
One trick I’ve used to save money is to buy certain pairs of men’s jeans I know also fit well on women. They fit, you save, and nobody’s the wiser!
3. Skip the feminine scents
While I love the smell of some body washes and shampoos, I could be paying up to 13 percent more for personal care items designed for women.
A good rule to follow is to compare the ingredients to make sure each shampoo, body wash, lotion, or conditioner is made from the same or a similar formula. Some brands claim their products for women contain extra ingredients, according to this article from Consumer Reports that compared mens’ vs. women’s prices for items like body wash, deodorant, and shaving cream.
If the ingredients are the same, check to see what you’re paying per ounce. Don’t forget to check the scent, too, to make sure you like it. If it’s cheaper, drop it into your cart and smile knowing you just outsmarted the woman tax.
4. Watch out for price differences with toys
Sadly, it’s not just adult items that may cost you more. Even items like a girls’ bike helmet and safety pads will cost 13 percent more than boys’ safety gear, on average.
Of course, these items can be interchangeable between girls and boys, so you may be able to save if your daughter’s heart isn’t set on that pretty pink helmet.
While I was shopping recently I even saw a red scooter marked at half the price of a nearly identical scooter nearby. The difference? The more expensive scooter was labeled for girls and was pink!
The bottom line is, you can avoid paying extra just because an item is designed for women by comparing prices, ingredients, and features on more gender neutral or even men’s products. In the end, you’ll save money and still get exactly what you need. Take that, pink tax!