Translation: buying female-branded products is costing you $1,300 a year for no good reason. And it’s affecting how much you spend on things like:
- Children’s toys
- Dry cleaning
From the toys you play with as a girl to the medicines you take in old age, you’re likely footing a higher bill because of gendered pricing.
Brands argue that they need to charge more for marketing, certain ingredients, or packaging, but to be honest, there’s often no good reason for women’s products to cost 7 – 13% more than men’s products that do the same thing.
10 strategies to avoid the pink tax
$1,300 a year for a woman’s average 80-year lifespan is over $100,000. Yikes.
Let’s keep more of that money in your pocket, shall we? Here are 10 tips I use to avoid paying the pink tax.
1 – Check the ingredients
I used to buy a female-branded form of Tylenol for cramps. One day I checked the ingredients on the bottle, only to discover it was identical to Tylenol, but I was paying a big premium on the packaging. Ouch.
Check the ingredients on things like medicines and personal care products, like skin creams. Try to look in the fellas’ section for an equivalent with the same active ingredients; it’s usually cheaper!
2 – Buy it online instead
Most brands don’t care about the pink tax. After all, they’re in business to make money, and they like women spending more money.
However, some online brands like Billie will actually refund the pink tax. If you’re not happy with your options at the supermarket, shop online. Plus, you don’t have to wear pants, so that’s a huge win.
3 – Get the gender-neutral version
I can’t tell you the last time I bought a Venus women’s razor. I’ve proudly purchased men’s razors for most of my life.
And guess what? My legs are hairless and smooth! The same goes for my gender-neutral Lume deodorant, which I buy online.
Plenty of men’s products will get the job done for a lower price than the women’s version. If you don’t want to dig through the dude’s section of the store, look for generic, gender-neutral products. Target, Walmart, and other businesses create their own cheaper versions of these products without the pink tax.
4 – Buy it once
When you buy a more durable item that lasts a long time, you might pay more upfront, but you’re minimizing how much you spend in pink tax over time.
Case in point: my DivaCup. I’ve had this thing for 6 years (they tell you to replace it every 2 years, though). It’s prevented me from buying so many tampons and pads, significantly cutting down on my monthly expenses. I even stopped buying razor cartridges and switched to a safety razor. Now I get a closer shave for way less money.
5 – Stick with used items
I absolutely love shopping at the thrift store. And when you’re in the market for clothes, shoes, and toys, used is where it’s at. Used is already cheaper than brand-new, but you also save on the pink tax because the money is going to the thrift store, not the manufacturer or brand.
6 – Do without
This is sort of extreme, but if you have a big hangup on the fact that women pay more for makeup and razors, you can always opt out. Women’s dry cleaning costs more, so I simply buy clothes that don’t require dry cleaning.
Of course, it’s hard to be a hairy, makeup-free, unlaundered woman in our society, but that’s still an option that’s on the table for you.
7 – Do it yourself
I love a good DIY project! And since I’m salty about living in a society where my husband often pays less for things, I DIY a lot.
I even taught myself how to cut my own hair using YouTube tutorials.
You don’t need to buy fancy products, either. Coconut oil can be just as good for removing makeup as micellar water. Replace your fancy tubes of face masques with a DIY cinnamon-honey mask instead.
8 – Shop around
Sometimes I’m in a hurry and I buy the first product on the shelf. However, if I’m buying a high-ticket item like a coat or shoes, I’ll shop around.
This is always a smart idea, but it’s especially important if you want to minimize the pink tax. Look at multiple online and retail shops to see where you can get an item for the lowest price before pulling the trigger.
9 – Buy in bulk
While you’re still paying for a little bit of pink tax this way, buying in bulk is usually much cheaper than buying one item at a time. Obviously, you don’t need to buy stilettos in bulk, but for things like razors, soap, some cosmetics, and tampons, this could be a good option. Check out brands like Boxed or Dollar Shave Club to buy in bulk.
10 – Sign up for cashback rewards
Are you using a cashback credit card yet? I don’t recommend this for everyone, but if your financial ducks are in a row, you can always mitigate the pink tax by putting all of your purchases on a cashback credit card.
The bottom line
I don’t know about you, but my budget doesn’t have room for the pink tax. While it’s hard to avoid it entirely, it’s possible to make small changes to your buying habits that will not only save money, but help you fight back against the pink tax.
Fortunately, frugal living goes hand-in-hand with fighting the pink tax! Look for gender-neutral alternatives, try going without, do things yourself, compare prices, and buy products from different retailers. A little extra effort translates into more money in your pocket, and can lead to some huge savings down the road.
Contributor’s opinions are their own. Always do your own due diligence before investing.
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