How to Beat the Pink Tax
The pink tax refers to the extra cost for many women's products, even when they're essentially the same as men's products. Things like razors, deodorant, and certain clothing items are more expensive for women. If you want to beat the pink tax, shop effectively. Look around for the best prices and opt for men's items at times. However, certain items, like some medications, may be worth the extra cost.
Read labels carefully.Before making a purchase, scrutinize the label. This can help you identify the pink tax. You may think certain products are marked up fairly, because they contain different ingredients or come in greater amounts. However, you may find many women's products are similar to men's products but needlessly marked up.
- Bring your smart phone or a calculator when you shop. Calculate the cost per unit for items like shampoos and lotions. You can do this by dividing the cost of a product versus the number of units.
- For example, a brand of women's shaving cream is .50 for a 14 ounce bottle. The cost per unit is about 32 cents. For a bottle of men's shaving cream, it's for a 16 ounce bottle, making the cost per unit 25 cents. The men's shaving cream is cheaper in terms of both total cost and cost per unit.
- Consult the label again. Sometimes, a brand of shaving cream may have special ingredients for a specific skin type (i.e., sensitive skin, dry skin, etc.) which may explain the higher cost. In this case, it may be worth the extra price. However, if the products in question are more or less the same, opt for the men's shaving cream instead to avoid the pink tax.
Skip name brand products.Brand name products are more likely to be marked up unnecessarily, and you may find the pink tax is particularly high for things like name brand shampoos. Compare the labels of name brand shampoos with cheaper, generic brands. When possible, opt for the generic brand of shampoo over the cheaper variety.
Visit a barbershop instead of a salon.The pink tax does not just apply to items you buy in the store. Services for women are often inexplicably more expensive. Appointments to hair salons are generally higher priced than appointments to barbershops, even if you're just getting a trim.
- If you have short hair, you can usually get it cut at a barbershop. Some barbershops also do long hair, however, so check with the shop.
- For things like coloring and styling, you may still need a salon. However, you should be able to get a basic trim at a barbershop.
Shop around.The best way to identify and avoid pink taxes is to shop around. Each time you are in a store, look at the pricing of multiple products. Try to determine which products give you what you need for a reasonable price.
- Look at multiple items in the same store to see which brands mark up women's products. Strive to buy brands that charge similar prices for men's versus women's products.
- You can also go from store to store and compare prices. You may find prices slightly lower in one store versus another for basic product you use each day. While it may seem silly to go from one store to another for only a 50 cent different, think about all the money you'll save throughout the year for items you must replace multiple times a month, like facial cream, conditioners, and body washes.
Purchasing Men's Products
Have men's clothing tailored.Women's clothing generally require less fabric than men's clothing. However, it's often priced up anyway. If you're handy with sewing, you can buy products like men's jeans and tailor them to your body type. You can also ask a friend to take in a dress if you know someone handy at sewing.
- Professional tailoring is unlikely to save you much money, however. If you don't know how to sew, and do not know someone who does, it may be more cost effective to simply pay slightly more for clothes.
Go for men's deodorant.Besides a certain fragrance, there is little difference between men's deodorant and women's deodorant. Yet, men's deodorant is generally around 20 cents cheaper per ounce. To avoid the pink tax, go for men's deodorant when possible. This will save you money over time.
- If you dislike the scent of men's deodorant, go for unscented varieties.
Try men's razors.There is very little difference between men's razors and women's razors other than the color. A razor targeted at men will work the same as a women's razor, and it comes at a much lower price. When buying razors, always opt for men's razors.
Think about men's toiletries.Oftentimes, the only difference with toiletries (i.e., face creams, soaps, lotions, adult diapers, etc.) is something small, like the fragrance or the color of the bottle. If you're going to be washing out these products anyway, do you really need to pay extra for a smell? Does the color of the bottle really make a difference? When there does not seem to be a big difference between the products, opt for men's products.
Stay away from gendered toys.Many toy stores sell girl toys for more because of the color or design. In most toy stores or department stores, you can easily spot the girl's aisle because it's decorated in shades like pink and purple. To save money, avoid this aisle and get boy's toys of the same variety.
- For example, Legos and Duplos made in shades of pink and purple instead of the standard primary colors and marketed for "girls" are often sold at higher prices per unit than the standard toy, but they function the same way.
- Instead of paying extra for a pink or purple scooter, just pay for a boy's scooter in a different color.
Watch out for gimmicks.Some items are marketed towards women and marked up because of superficial differences. Women's pens, for example, are often marked up simply because they are pink. Be wary of products like this. If a product, like a phone or a pen, is marked up because it's a women's product, chances are the only different is something superficial like the color.
Identifying When to Accept the Extra Cost
Pay the extra cost for certain healthcare products.Healthcare products are often priced differently depending on gender. While it may be frustrating that certain women's products are priced more, it may sometimes be worth it to pay the extra cost. Dosages and ingredients are often based on physical differences between men and women. Something like diet supplements, for example, may have a different formula for men and women.
Think about the cut of clothing before buying men's products.Women's clothing is often more expensive, but may be made from different fabrics and cut differently. Some women's clothing requires less fabric, but certain items may be cut in a way that requires more fabric. If you truly like the cut of a particular clothing item, like a t-shirt, you may be better off opting to pay a bit more instead of buying men's products.
- You can save by buying clothing you don't really wear or show off, like socks and pajamas, in male styles. This can save you some money, allowing you to spend a little extra on a t-shirt or pair of jeans with a flattering cut.
Try paying more for conditioner and less for shampoo.Many times, women's shampoos cost extra due to the scent. If you love the smell of your shampoo, keep in mind you wash it out. The smell of the conditioner is really what stays in. Consider buying the conditioner for the extra cost to get the scent you love, but buying men's shampoo to save some money.
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