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8 Ways It Costs More To Be a Woman

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Have you ever thought about the different products women need versus men? I’m not talking about feminism, pay gap, or societal differences. I’m talking about the mere fact that most women have more costs, and these costs are unnecessarily more expensive.

I’ve been thinking lately how nice it would be not to have to worry about so much extra stuff. To not have to worry about washing my hair every other day, shaving my legs, or washing my face all the time. I know that not everyone is the same, and some of what I say may not be the case for everyone. Most (not all) of what I’m listing is based on my life and what I tend to buy/need versus Mr. RRR. So without further ado…

8 Way It Costs More To Be a Woman

1. Clothes

There have been so many times I have thought about how much easier men have it when it comes to their wardrobe and dressing. Everything from work to a date night.

Mr. RRR’s wardrobe consists of the following items:
  • Tops: polos, button downs, & t-shirts
  • Bottoms: khakis, slacks, jeans, or shorts

…that’s it, easy peasy. If he wants to get fancy with a t-shirt, he can wear a v-neck.

But women on the hand, we have:
  • Tops: tank tops, blouses, t-shirts, cardigans, button downs, undershirts and more. All coming in varying styles and lengths. Strapless, sleeveless, short sleeved, 3/4 length, and long sleeve. And thats not even mentioning the length of the tops themselves: crop tops, regular length, high-low, and long billowing shirts.
  • Bottoms: jeans, pants, skirts, slacks, jeggings, leggings, capris, & shorts.
  • & More: we’ve got a million styles of dresses, rompers, & jumpsuits. I’m going to include jewelry in on this category because most of the time, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings complete the outfit.

Mr. RRR has successfully eliminated over half his wardrobe in the last 2 or 3 years to create a makeshift capsule wardrobe, and he still looks phenomenal every day. I have had a much harder time eliminating my clothes, but I have made a talent out of not making decisions, including what clothes to keep and what you get rid of. Too many clothing choices scarred me and have furthermore hindered me from making any kind of decisions easily.
2. Undergarments

Everyone needs undergarments, but women need that one extra thing called a bra. The dreaded undergarment that can look really cute, but they’re really not comfortable at all. We need them for everything from everyday wear, to work, to exercise, and even to feel a little scandelous. And typically those are all different bras. This isn’t even taking into account fluctuation in weight and needing to buy new ones that fit right. Or the different colors that go with certain tops. Unfortunately, this is something that most women can’t skirt around and go without. Some do though and all the more power to ya, girl. So this is a ‘necessity’ that we can’t do without, putting us back on average $200 to $300 per year.

3. Soap

Specifically shampoo and conditioner. I mean, damn, once again there’s a plethora of options out there to choose from. Do you have dry and brittle hair, curly hair, or straight hair? Is your hair color treated or natural? Coloring is another thing, but let’s stay focused. We want to protect our hair and care for it the best that we can, so of course we’re going to try to find the best thing for it…after going through 4, or 5, or 20 different kinds, you might find one you like and what works best. But that’s not mentioning how you might mix it every so often or depending on the time of year.

After doing a quick Google search, women spend a staggering amount of about $55,000 in a lifetime on hair maintenance. I swear, Mr. RRR’s bodywash is a 5-in-1: shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, dish soap, and tire shine. Yet, here I am with a 12-in-1 “Miracle” conditioner that does nothing more than regular leave-in conditioner?

4. Haircuts and cosmetology

This includes hair cuts, hair coloring, skin care, manicures, and pedicures. Good heavens, even as I’m writing all of these points, I’m cringing because it takes so much shit to be a woman. Anyways, for me personally, I only get about 3 or 4 haircuts a year, and even those are just trims. There is a plethora of women who get fancy hair cuts, highlights or complicated hair coloring, blowouts (Mr. RRR thought this was shitting your pants, but no. There is a ‘salon’ that literally does no cutting or coloring, they just wash and blowdry hair for $45+. I’d rather shit my pants….), perms, conditioning, and treatments.

There’s also hair tools that I forgot to mention, like blow dryers, hair straighteners, curling wands (there are dozens of options for all those as well), hair brushes, accessories like pony-tail holders, bobby pins, clips, and head bands. Along with hair spray, dry shampoo, leave-in conditioner, de-tangler, and heat protectant. I hate for this category to keep growing but….I almost forgot to include the different types of waxing, threading, plucking, micro-blading, and lazer treatment for eyebrows and other facial hair.
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5. Makeup

I love makeup as much as the next person. What I don’t love is the price tag that tends to come with it. Especially if you’re trying to find high-end, high quality products. Or the natural beauty line that’s cruelty-free with no animal testing and made of natural ingredients. This is also another industry where there’s just too many options to choose from. Can’t find the right foundation? You probably have to go through at least 4 or 5 different products to find the right one, and that probably set you back a good amount of money. There are literally big box stores dedicated soley to makeup…

6. Facial and lotion products

Have you ever paid attention to the skin-care aisles at stores like Target or Walmart? They’re mostly products targeted for women, from facial scrubs to face lotion to body lotions. Slowly, but surely, men’s products are being introduced to the market, but that doesn’t make up for the fact the lions share is female products. Don’t forget the anti-aging, age reducing, wrinkle preventing sludge we are supposed to put on every minute. Again, Mr. RRR is living the dream, that 5-in-1 I mentioned before, he uses that for his face as well. So all of this stuff is just an added item(s) we women need…or do we?

7. Feminine products

These personal items are things we cannot live without. I dread having to buy these every month, but for me it’s a necessity. From panty liners to pads to tampons. There are eco-friendly items like the Diva Cup and panties like Thinx, these may be more money up front, but could save money in the long run. Either way, we have monthly costs from this that guys just don’t have to deal with.

8. Purses

Most every woman carries a purse. They range from cheap, poor quality bags to expensive, high-end, designer bags. I carry mine almost everywhere, but that’s because I don’t always have pockets or feel like carrying my wallet or chapstick on myself. There’s also feminine products that we need to carry in case the need for them arises unexpectedly. Wallet, phone, chapstick, make-up, medicine, lotion, change, and other junk fill our purses that we think is necessary. Somehow, though, Mr. RRR makes do with just what he can fit in his pocket, which is much less than I can fit in my purse.
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In our household, my toiletries take up most all of the space in the bathroom. My clothes and shoes dominate the closet. The sad part is, I have used the same purse for over 6 years, and I have hardly bought any new clothes or shoes since we found the FIRE movement. All this stuff is just leftover from a previous life, and I can’t bring myself to purge it. Every time I buy a new shampoo, face wash, or some kind product that I use that Mr. RRR doesn’t, I feel guilty because some things are expensive and that is money we could be saving instead of spending. However, when it comes to these things, I am still conscious when buying these items so I don’t go overboard and spend an arm and leg.

To Wrap Things Up

Now that I’ve covered 8 ways it costs more to be a woman, how much of this stuff do we actually need? How much of it is marketing and social media trying it’s best to blur the line between our wants and needs? How much of it is a Pink Tax taking advantage of women and our perceived needs? Women have so much more influence and pressure put on our appearances, and how much will someone pay to get what they think will be a leg up in the looks category? For almost everything, there is a money hack or DIY option that can be done. But the thing that you have to think about, is the time it takes to make these things worth the money you would otherwise spend? Or are these items even necessary, DIY or not?

So with all of this being said, are there any costs that I left out? What are some other ways that women find they have to spend more money on than men?


  • Free Before Friday

    My girlfriend recently tried the SALT cups and it’s working really well for her. It’s a long term money saver for sure! Also can I consider the purse an investment?… how else will we sneak in “outside food and drink” into the movies?! I used to be a “3 in 1” kinda guy but upgrading my grooming products has been well worth it. I’m hooked on raw sugar scrub lol.

    • Emily Lowery

      That’s great that the cups are working her! I’ll have to look into those for sure. Oh I think the purse can absolutely be investment when it’s used to carry contraband like that! Whenever we travel, my big purse is filled with snacks so I’m right there with y’all. Are those upgraded grooming products for your hair or facial products? I’m always curious what men use since Mr RRR doesn’t use a lot!

      • Free Before Friday

        Well I used to rock the longer hair back in the day.. so I’ve come accustom to using conditioner. I am also a night shower person since I work out then. I can’t start my day without washing my face. I’ve gotten more into beard care with some basic beard oils or even just using plain jojojoba oil, since it’s basically the main thing in beard oils. For my hair, I recently got a more “fancy” cut and am just getting into hair products. I am starting to look at natural products but I’m just using crew for now.
        We’ve been moving towards more natural products lately, like the sugar scrub, and other products from Raw Sugar or Lush. Even though they appear pricey, one of my most “cheap” friends bought a shampoo bar from Lush. It’s literally lasted him 100s of washes. I think were gonna take the leap next time we buy shampoo!

        • Emily Lowery

          That’s interesting, thanks for sharing! I’ve seen some other people just using jojoba oil for their face so maybe it’s good for a moisturizer too? I definitely agree with you on the more natural products. I’m trying to go that route too but the price tag doesn’t help. I’ve haven’t considered a sugar scrub either but I might when it’s time to get more product. If y’all start using a shampoo bar, you’ll have to keep me updated! I’d like to use that as they’re less wasteful and better for traveling!

  • Abigail

    $200 to $300 a YEAR? How often are you having to buy bras? I only need to buy them once every 4-5 years.
    At any rate, yes it sucks to be a woman when it comes to financial considerations. Unless you’re able to stop caring what people think (I haven’t yet mastered that bit) you’re stuck with larger wardrobes, pricey haircuts/colors and pricey undergarments. And of course the inescapable feminine products. And none of this is even touching on the pink tax, of course.

    • Emily Lowery

      That number was based on how much women spend average. I definitely used to go all out at the VS semi-annual sale, so there’s a chance I spent that much in a year a time or two. Now, I buy them about as often as you, and I’m in desperate need of new ones.
      I think I’ve stopped mostly caring about what people think, but I still struggle with it. I get hand-me-down clothes from my sisters, and I get makeup and face wash samples from my mom when she gets her makeup during bonus time. Luckily I’ve always been pretty low maintenance with my haircuts so I haven’t really had to adjust anything on that front. I have broken down and gotten the reusable feminine products yet but I might soon.

  • Anu Ganesh

    I’m a working mother. I come from a middle-class family from south Asia. When I moved to this country I was stunned to see # of shoes my girlfriends possessed 🙂 I guess it is all in mindset. I stick to capsule wardrobe and minimal makeup. It helps to be frugal and sustainable, generate minimal waste and live an eco-friendly lifestyle. I totally agree with the price we women pay on feminine products. Thanks to the menstrual cups, It is a one-time cost but very eco-friendly. I recently read that a woman for a period of 35 yrs, generates almost 150Kg of plastic trash. It is good to switch to diva cups 🙂

    • Emily Lowery

      I definitely agree with you that it’s all in the mindset. That’s great that you have a capsule wardrobe! I haven’t been able to achieve that but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do. I also need to look into the menstrual cups because it’s disgusting how much plastic is generated from disposable products. Thanks for the tips!!

  • Savvy History

    Love this post and your honest reflections. My husband and I were talking about this recently (even the feminine hygiene part)! I was also telling him about the concept of the “pink tax.” I heard about it recently on a podcast. Everyday items both women and men buy (like deodorant, blue jeans, etc.) are verifiably more for women because of the advertising dollars that go into models, magazine ads, etc. This is in addition to the company’s outright belief they can charge women more and they will pay it (or be duped by the glamorous branding). My husband argued back that I have a waaaay easier time buying used clothing because women switch out clothes that are perfectly good while men do not. He is right about that. He has to spend a lot more on clothes to look nice than I do. I can buy used dresses and put a whole out-fit together for $5!

    • Emily Lowery

      Thanks for the feedback!
      It’s so crazy when you think about it that way. Or even if you think about it in general. Especially when thinking about the level of consumerism when people buy the “fast fashion” trends.
      It is true that women have an easier time finding used clothes than men. If you go into any second store, it’s predominately women’s clothes and shoes. Unfortunately it’s the way the world and society is now.

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  • Mr. Nomad Numbers (@

    Hi Emily! A quick note as I stumble on this article. Have you heard about the “capsule” wardrobe concept? Mrs. Nomad Numbers swear by it since she discovered it about a year ago. Not only it reduces the number of clothing items she has to carry around the world, but it also ends up being (usually) cheaper too. She detailed what she is packing on her packing list if you want to know more about the specific:

    • Emily Lowery

      Hey Mr. Nomad Numbers! I have heard of the “capsule” wardrobe, and it’s something I would love to be able to do. However, I haven’t been able to achieve it, or part with some clothes. I will definitely look at Mrs. Nomad Numbers’ article for her packing list. I need some inspiration and ideas!

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