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10 things women pay more for than men

And we're not talking Jimmy Choo pumps, either. For a variety of reasons, these 10 everyday expenses cost more for women.

By Smart Spending Editor Sep 18, 2013 11:32AM

This post is from Danielle Warchol of

SavingAdvice logoRecently, there have been a number of stories in the news about how women pay more for certain items than men. If you’ve ever gone into a store, you might have noticed that similar products for men and women do sometimes have a drastic price difference. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence. Here are a few items that tend to be priced higher for women than men:

Image: Money (© Blend Images/SuperStock)1. Dry cleaning

Have you ever gone to drop off some dry cleaning and noticed that a dress is maybe $5 more expensive to clean than a man’s suit? Or that a woman’s blouse is a bit pricier to clean than a man’s dress shirt? There are often a lot of excuses given for why a certain item costs more to clean than another, but women generally pay a good deal more for dry cleaning than men do.

2. Soaps and shampoos

Very often, soaps and shampoos are made with similar (if not identical) materials and ingredients regardless of whether they’re marketed towards women or men. The only difference is usually the scent and color of the packaging. However, many soaps and shampoos for women are twice the cost of what they are for men. There usually isn’t any reason for this price difference, especially once you realize that aside from the scent or packaging, the soap or shampoo is usually made with the same ingredients.

3. Deodorant

There have been various studies about the varying costs of deodorant, most of which have concluded that women can sometimes pay up to $1 more than men. When researchers from the University of Central Florida questioned manufacturers about the price difference, they were told that products made for women were more expensive to produce. However, the researchers determined that the only notable difference in deodorant or other cosmetic products aimed at men and women was the scent.

4. Shaving cream

Women tend to pay more for shaving cream as well. A Washington, D.C., news team compared shaving creams marketed to men and women and found that shaving cream for women was $2.49 compared with the $1.99 price for a similar product aimed at men. Moreover, the shaving cream for women had 4 ounces less than the shaving cream for men. While a $0.50 difference might not seem like a huge deal, it can add up to hundreds of dollars over a lifetime.

5. New cars

study done by Yale Law School revealed that women pay more when buying a new car than men. This, it was determined, was done because some car salesmen assumed that women knew nothing about cars, bargaining, or the retail value of the vehicles they were considering. Going on this assumption, they were unlikely to compromise as much as they would for men thus forcing women to pay more for the same vehicle.

6. Health care

In the past year you might have seen something in the news about how much more women pay in healthcare costs per year. You might not have realized it, but women pay about $1 billion more in health care costs than men in the United States. Women generally pay a higher premium for health insurance than men, and insurance companies usually claim that it’s because women need more expensive procedures and care throughout their lives. A common one is that women have babies, but the problem is that many health care policies exclude the cost of childbirth.

7. Cosmetics

Women use more cosmetics than men, so it’s understandable that they can be expected to pay more for them. However, when there are two similar products for men or women, women are still being asked to pay more. For instance, eye revitalizers from Neutrogena that are marketed toward women are $5 more expensive than the same Neutrogena product marketed toward men.

8. Loans

Marie Claire magazine did a study in 2012 about the various items women pay more for compared to men. One of the things they noted was that women tend to get charged higher interest rates on loans or credit cards. They stated that in 2006, the Consumer Federation of America announced that women were typically charged around a 3.2% higher interest rate than men. Anyone who has paid interest on a loan or credit card knows that interest significantly adds up after awhile. Essentially, women who are charged a higher interest rate based solely on their gender and not their credit history are paying thousands of dollars more than men who most likely have a similar financial history.

9. Unisex clothing

While the University of Central Florida study quoted earlier focuses on cosmetic products, they do mention in the study that women typically pay more money for gender neutral clothing. For instance, researchers state, a T-shirt or sweatshirt that is unisex and put in both the men or women’s section of the store carries a higher price tag in the women’s section.

10. Car repairs

There have been a lot of studies and experiments about the cost of car repairs for men and women. What many of these studies have determined is that some repair shops charge women more than men, especially if the mechanic believes that the woman is uninformed about cars or car repairs.

This is just a sampling of the products and services that women end up paying more for than men. What other things, in your experience, do women end up paying more for even when the product or service is similar for both?

More from

Sep 18, 2013 3:30PM
I was sitting in a local repair shop here in Abilene (National Chain) to buy a tire and I heard the mechanic tell a woman (I assume she was in hard times because of the was she dressed and was telling her son they couldn't afford some small thing he wanted) that her brake drum was "one 64th of a hundredth inch smaller than it should be at that mileage" and there was no telling when it would break on her.  He said that since he had it off of her car already he could replace it for $85.00.   I told the lady to ask for the drum to take with her and I don't know if she did  because I cancelled my tire purchase and left.  If ladies ask for the parts it may make the repairmen think she will go somewhere else to verify the change was necessary so they will back off.   Thieves are a dime a dozen even here in the Bible Belt.   
Sep 18, 2013 4:00PM
It's unfortunate women get taken advantage of. There was a repair shop near my home that was completely fair and honest to everyone. It was family owned and the daughter worked there too. The owner told me he would hate if someone tried to take advantage of his daughter that's why he never took advantage of anyone; man or woman. What a rare good guy!
Sep 18, 2013 4:31PM

Particularly as a woman, I am continually grateful that my father taught me everything but masonry. Not only can I do most all of my own repairs around the house, I know cars. My husband sends me to get the best deal on a new car. I think we should all teach or learn all we can, and do research when we need to, in order that we all have the knowledge and confidence to deal in the world. I taught my own kids and now the grandchildren are learning.


Sep 18, 2013 4:38PM
Get a divorce and see how much it cost to get your maiden name back.  And all the hassle....Social Security, DMV $$$ for your license, registration, title changed.  You will be forever be changing your name for any bills.  Online is the WORST.   I can change my name on my credit card but 10 years later online my name is not changed, thanks Bank Of America.  I've had Dell refuse to change my name unless I provide my drivers license and SSN you ever heard of identity I will not fax that to you.  Don't forget the passport, why do you or anyone esle want to see my divorce papers?  My SSN is changed my license is changed, do you think I could do that without my divorce papers?  Please. Woman pay more for everything, and we don't need a news article to tell us that.  We are fully aware.
Sep 19, 2013 6:08AM
I just had a Mazda dealership tell me my van needed $800 worth of repairs, including $235 of that being to replace the spark plugs.  I've seen my husband replace the spark plugs and it was not worth $235 in parts and labor.  The sad part is, they just lost a customer who is going to pay them $0 when they could have given me a fair estimate and made some money from me.
Sep 18, 2013 4:52PM
I recently had a similar experience with a ripoff shop, er I mean repair shop. A leaking brake caliper turned into my front suspension was gone and needed to replaced. (New from 3 years ago and drive less than 5k a year) All new brake pads (Replaced 4 months earlier) to the tune of $600. The service manager or owner whoever he was, is a true sleaze. I maybe female but I know cars especially mine that I have driven for 19 years. It is unfortunate that there were not more people in the waiting room to overhear my conversation with the sleaze. My car was fixed by an honest shop and I posted a very unflattering review in as many places as possible. Hopefully, it will prevent a woman from getting cheated for highly overpriced and unnecessary  repairs.
This article is especially true when it comes to New Cars and Car Repairs. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find an honest mechanic and salesman, as they're profits are made by how much they can charge on labor and fees. Women are easy targets since the view is that many women don't know anything about these subjects. Best bit of advice, do your homework before buying a car or even having it fixed. Find out from either friends or neighbors what the usual cost may be for these sorts of things. If someone tries to charge you an exorbitant amount of money, walk away and don't ever go back. Chances are this place is used to this sort of behavior.
Sep 19, 2013 12:06PM
Funny, every time my wife comes home from shopping she tells me how much she saved!
Sep 19, 2013 12:04PM

And all of this is one of the major reasons I started buying my clothes in the men's department many years ago and continue to do so to this day.


And here's another item to add to the list:  Anyone ever notice how men's underwear may last for two or three years, but women's is doing good to last a single full year?  And men's underwear costs far less - a package of six men's briefs for about ten bucks, as opposed to five bucks for a SINGLE PAIR of women's?   You do the math.

Sep 19, 2013 11:56AM
I always try to get female friends to check with me before agreeing to repairs or service as I know that many places like to think they can make extra $ on women. I don't want to see any of my friends get taken advantage of and have even done work myself for them to keep them from being taken advantage of. Yes, there are times when women make out better than men but the reverse is also true and allowing one to be taken advantage of without speaking up doesn't even the playing field. If it's wrong, it's wrong and allowing it to happen is just as bad as doing it yourself. It's time we stand up for each other and point out when somebody is being treated wrong or taken advantage of. You'd want somebody to do it for your mom or sister or aunt so do it for somebody elses mom or sister or aunt.
Sep 19, 2013 1:11PM

An "honest" mechanic is in the same category as an "honest" politician...impossible to find, does not exist.  For years I have thought of opening a repair shop that caters to inflated prices, no run around, no lies, etc. Hopefully could find well trained technicians who would follow the honesty rule.  The ripping off at shops and dealerships is disgraceful!  

Sep 23, 2013 12:49PM
Discrimination! Pay women less, charge them more.
Sep 23, 2013 4:11PM
avatar cuts?  I expected THAT to be high on the list??  My wife spends $75 for a few gentle snips, and I spend $13 to have it done by some old dudes that are old enough to be long retired.
Sep 18, 2013 6:08PM
Obamacare makes it illeagal to charge women more for healthcare. Didn't the Lily Ledbetter act also make it illeagal for women to be paid less?
Sep 23, 2013 8:33AM
I bless everyone that taught me my mechanical skills, how to use tools, and how to repair almost anything. Women need to become their own advocates when it comes to mechanical repairs. The local libraries are a great source of information on automotive repairs with online repair manuals. Before giving a mechanic carte blanche to "fix" your car get an estimate, do your research then make an informed decision. It will save you a lot of money. And, everytime a tradesman or tradeswoman does a repair in your home watch, ask questions. You will learn a lot. Electrical repairs seem to be most homeowners bugaboo. Learn how to do repairs safely. Knowledge truly is freedom. The more you know, the less dependent on others you will be. And that is a gift beyond price.
Sep 23, 2013 10:52AM

I have been in the automotive field all my life... started at an aftermarket parts store and for the past  25 years at a dealership...WOMEN need to realize that NOT all dealerships or shops are out there  to take advantage of them.. I have many women customers, some with husbands, alot without and a whole lot of kids in college that are not mine...(customers kids). It is important that for them to find someone they can trust...I have a reputation out there,  that i look out for the customer as well as my dealership... I advised that trust is a key factor with me....i am proud of the customers I have gained over the years...i live in a snow bird state, i have them call me if they are out of town and something happens that they are not sure of, and the kids in college will call mom or dad and then they will call me or have the kids call me direct...SO PLEASE KEEP IN MIND, NOT ALL DEALERSHIPS ARE BAD....PROUD OF WHAT I DO AND HOW I DO IT...


Sep 18, 2013 4:46PM
I don't want to sound chauvinistic, but as far as new cars and car repairs, the perception is absolutely true for, not a majority, but a large portion of women compared to men (there are many male counterparts to this too, but just fewer).   I have actually tried to help a few female employees buy new cars and give them advice and next thing you know they go out and pay MSRP + dealer mark up and think they got a good deal.  One even bragged how her sister bought one too so the dealer took 500.00 the two cars together with the extra almost $6,000 added on top of retail . . . . .  Really?   That is like going into buy an ipod priced at 799 (already inflated) and the person says, but for you . .. 999.00 but I will give you 50.00 off if you buy now. .  . .
Sep 18, 2013 4:58PM
My wife would go broke if I didn't fix the car. Just fixed a leak in the radiator system. My wife is a "Gas and go" person.
Sep 23, 2013 2:24PM
I had taken my husbands car in for struts all around, the mechanic came out and said I needed steering bushings to the tune of $600.00 additional.  I said, SHOW ME.  Mechanic seemed to be shocked.  So he took me out to where the car was in the lift, and I proceeded to get under the car, and inspect, then lower the lift and get under the hood, and inspect the "steering" bushings.  I said $600 to replace $40 worth of bushings was a rip-off, since I could do it myself for the cost of the parts, and it wouldn't take me five hours.   The bushings were very worn.  They replaced them, without the additional six bill charge.  I don't broadcast that I was at one time an ASE certified auto tech, I just wait for the opportunity to pounce when dealing with businesses that think women are helpless and uninformed. 

Sep 19, 2013 3:16PM
Meanwhile, us men just pay out the butt for car insurance.
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