The Cost of Being a Woman

I had some excellent comments on my “Why the hell do guys pay for everything? 🙂” post from a long while back, and thank you all for being civil, and sharing incredibly insightful comments.

I was so pleased with the response, that I even grabbed some inspiration from commenter LeeLee who wrote:


This is just a reflection on what it costs to be a woman, even a low-maintenance one.

Yes, being a woman costs more!!!

Basic Costs:

Drycleaning costs more for a woman’s shirt, even though it’s less fabric (and presumably, less work and resources used).

Haircuts cost more for a woman. Even at the bargain basement places, $12 for woman, $8 for men. And some men don’t just go in for a buzz cut, but need as much attention as a woman!

Extra Costs: (Brace yourselves)


I read a study where it clearly stated that in professional workplaces, women are expected to wear a little bit of makeup.

Even though this can be attributed to conditioning by advertisements and social media, and you can rant and rave about how it’s unfair…… we women still have to do it if we want to be taken seriously.

(Plus, it’s fun.)

I know some guys may be saying: But we LOVE you without makeup!

No, no, you don’t.

(unless you are our boyfriends and husbands and you are sort of expected to say that).

The flourescent lights in our workplace don’t love us, and without makeup we look quote on quote any of the following things:

“haggard”, “tired”, “sleepy”, “ashy”, “pale” or “dull”.

All those “natural” makeup-free girls you see wandering around? Not so natural.

My guess is that they probably have a little concealer on, very fine eyeliner on their upper lid, blush, and some lip balm.

I know this, because I am one of those girls.

Concealer, eyeliner, blush, lip balm and I’m out the door.

No one can tell I’m wearing anything. They think I wake up looking like that and just put on a bit of eyeliner & balm in 10 seconds. HAH!


I am pretty lucky in this area, as my hair is very low maintenance:

  • I don’t dye it any longer
  • I don’t straighten it
  • I don’t curl it
  • I don’t even use my brush or own a hairdryer!

So I can walk into a place, ask for a trim and some layers, and walk out with good hair for $20.

Naturally, if I pay more, they pay more attention to these layers, and it makes me look even better.

But at least I have a choice of whether I want to pay $20 or $80.

And I only get it cut once a year. Twice, maximum.

Not all women are so lucky, and some pay lots of money, and spend lots of time cramping up their butts in a hairdresser’s chair to get a decent head of hair.

Then they get charged $200 for it.


Guys go to a mall, and there are only 3 stores for men.

You go to those 3 stores, you check the prices, you check the quality, and you buy the best suit, shirt or pair of pants, and you’re out the door in 20 minutes.

They are also (generally) less picky about what they’re wearing (you should see the atrocities BF walks out of the apartment in), and can wear a pair of pants for 6 years until it looks torn apart by a rabid dog at the hem.

Very easy, right?

Women have such a mess to deal with in stores.

Women go to a mall, and while I love having so many options, sometimes there are too many choices!

75% of the mall is geared towards the female shopper, and because heck, we spend more money.

But in those stores, can we ever find anything that ALWAYS works on us? Not really.

I can spend hours in a mall, and come out exhausted and empty-handed (note: jeans and winter coats are notorious for this).

Case in point:

BF took me shopping ONCE, to buy a nice NOT BLACK cocktail dress.

Note: this was nearer to the start of our relationship, until he realized that I’d probably outgrow anything he bought for me (read: get too fat from his delicious meals) and that I’d rather eat great food than get gifts from him, because my tastes are very specific.

What did we end up buying?

A black cocktail dress, because there weren’t enough colours in the shape and classic styles that he and I wanted.

At the end of the 5 hours, he turned to me, with bags under his eyes, and in an exhausted voice said: I think understand women and shopping better now.


Don’t even get me started!

Even a self-professed low-maintenance girl like me has this in her arsenal:

  • Facial Moisturizer —- (argan oil)
  • Sunscreen —- (A little dab every time I go out of Pure & Simple’s sunscreen)
  • Body Cream —- (MUST HAVE. I have horrible eczema and I need to constantly moisturize.)
  • Makeup remover —- (Cost-co wipes)

And who ever heard of a (non-metrosexual) boy using facial moisturizer or sunscreen!? Unheard of.

BF just uses soap. SOAP!!! ONE BAR OF SOAP!!!

Can you imagine what another girl might have in her cabinet?

I wish I could take pictures of my friends’ bathrooms without embarrassing them.

But I did have a lot of half-used stuff lying around, that represented wasted money.

So why did I have so many half-used products in my cabinet?

Because it took me a long time to figure out what actually worked for my skin.

The beauty & cosmetics industry is probably just as bad, if not worse than the retail industry!

Now that I have what I need, I don’t need ANY other products.

But what does a girl do now, with the rest of her tried & failed experiments?

Makeup Alley swaps perhaps, but I gave it all to my sister.

She loves that stuff.

(Yes, I know it’s extra clutter for her, but at least she won’t spend any money acquiring it.)

But we do reach a point where we don’t need any more…

For me, I’m at this point.

I don’t need much other than a haircut twice a year, very little makeup and my wardrobe is definitely more than enough for what I need, for any event or possible workplace.

I have more than enough to go for about 3 months without changing (I ought to try that one day).

I mean sure, I’m missing a couple of things like a leather jacket but they aren’t necessary purchases so I tend to not worry about wanting to buy them. And my “wants” keep changing, so I end up not buying anything.

Our circumstances are all different and I came out on the lucky side, but I do need to stock up on my mid-range priced products when they run out.

It gets to that point where whatever else I buy that does not replace what I have or need, is just extra want.

So what about you?

Are you high maintenance? Mid? Low?

What does it cost for you to be a woman or as a man?

(I am curious about a man’s perspective, as BF is definitely zero maintenance.)

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About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.