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  • frivolous female spending

    This was an interesting article in the NYT recently.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/04/us/myth-frivolous-female-spender.html?searchResultPosition=1

    I feel as if I see somewhat frequent commentary on this site about what wives spend money on. Does this ring true for the rest of you? Is it problematic?

  • #2
    Eh, I haven't seen that many mentions on the topic here, but this article left out so many other factors I don't even know where to begin.

    Men, by and large, are more comfortable with higher degrees of risk.  That's why many of us make such poor financial decisions   That's also might explain why women are usually better savers than men - the emergency cushion is there if things go horribly wrong.  Anecdotal perhaps, but that's been my personal experience as well.

    Secondly, if a wife is non-working, then of course she's going to have a larger social life than if she spent half her day slaving away.  That generally comes with more social interaction, and more spending to support it. I'm pretty sure a male would be the exact same if they were taking care of the kids at home and hanging out with the other SAH moms/dads.

    Thirdly, shopping is like any other action in life - you get better with more practice and advice.  I go clothes shopping once a year, if that.  My wife (who is the physician in our marriage) is sooooooo much better at the art of shopping than I am.  She finds the deals, she haggles at the counter, she does her best to save money. I had no idea you could haggle at the counter?  I don't think this is because she's a woman. I think she just takes joy in doing it right and she's always on the lookout for ways to do it even better (those tips the author was talking about).  Here's an interesting article about how the sexes seem to shop.

    The author does touch on some good points, but the article itself is pretty bad.  I wonder if she sees the irony when comparing her article against those she did the study on?
    I should have been a pair of ragged claws. Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

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    • #3
      From personal anecdotal evidence in my circle of friend, family and acquaintances. It IS a myth that women are the bigger selfish spendthrifts. Of course, like any anecdotal evidence this can based on clustering and have no statistical merit.

      I base this on the following observations:

      • There are spendthrift women and there are spendthrift men. I have observed more economical* women than men. *I prefer the term economical over frugal. Economical places the emphasis on value not just on price.

      • Less economical woman are spending that money more often on their children than themselves. Less economical men are spending that money more often on themselves than their children.

      • Spendthrift women tend to spend less money on more things.

      • Spendthrift men tend to spend more money on less things.

      • Spendthrift men tend to spend a far greater percentage of a couple's income than spendthrift women.


      In case it hasn't been apparent from my many posts. You can't base these observations on a women's bias. Not only am I a man and certainly not a "woke" one. My daughters always described me as a bit of a "Neanderthal" when it comes to so called "social justice issues". Paraphrasing; "If disagreeing with many of them is wrong, I don't want to be right."

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      • #4
        Not true in our house.

        My wife does the majority of the shopping but it is for family needs and she spends very little on herself.  I usually have to remind her to do so now and again.

         

        The biggest expenses are house related.  Furniture, Remodels,  decor.  Hopefully these are joint decisions most of the time.  At least they are with us.

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        • #5
          my wife spends a lot of money on frivolous things.   Haven't calculated the total recently, but usually spends a few hundred or more per month on new clothes, new shoes, etc.  She will go through periods where we have boxes of stuff laying around, some unopened for prolonged periods of time.  Says she dislikes going to work, but doesn't like to be told to cut back on spending either, not sure how to convince her that spending on stuff you don't really need right now= working longer in the future.    I am honestly not sure how anyone can need to spend several hundred per month on clothes every month, it would seem to me that eventually you would have everything you want to wear?

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          • #6
            We are both frugal but when I look at the leftovers in the refrigerator I would say that she wins.  She is probably more generous with money while I tend to be a 'time value of money' type.

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            • #7




              my wife spends a lot of money on frivolous things.   Haven’t calculated the total recently, but usually spends a few hundred or more per month on new clothes, new shoes, etc.  She will go through periods where we have boxes of stuff laying around, some unopened for prolonged periods of time.  Says she dislikes going to work, but doesn’t like to be told to cut back on spending either, not sure how to convince her that spending on stuff you don’t really need right now= working longer in the future.    I am honestly not sure how anyone can need to spend several hundred per month on clothes every month, it would seem to me that eventually you would have everything you want to wear?
              Click to expand...


              Same with my wife. Add on top that is what I feel is impulse frivolous donations to charities(at least this doesn't have the cluttering effect).

              I think it's the actual spending of the money(not the actual material good) that drives dopamine and creates the sense of control/agency.

              While we don't have written financial goals, I think we have enough. So, I don't think I have the power or right to say what she can or can not spend her own sweat and blood on. She birthed our kids, works harder than me, and tolerates me, so I zip my mouth(except that onetime we went to a Hilton timeshare event).

               

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              • #8
                Interesting that only people with wives have chimed in so far

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                • #9


                  Interesting that only people with wives have chimed in so far
                  Click to expand...


                  Us lazy men have time to post during business hours :P

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                  • #10
                    I worked briefly at a company that evaluates TV ads before they go to commercial, to see how effective they are. I learned there that all of the focus groups used to evaluate the ads were women-only. When I asked and said how wrong that was, the boss said "men only shop based on price, so TV commercials are meant to appeal to women to get them wedded to the brand and buy more." I still don't believe that, but I offer up this antidote to give you an idea of how companies like Proctor and Gamble and GE and Target and Walmart apparently view their customers

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                    • #11
                      My wife tends to make a lot more smaller purchases for clothes or stuff for the kids (less than $100-200). I less frequently spend money on myself, but when I do, I tend to blow up the budget for that month (and maybe the next couple). We've done so well keeping our monthly expenses (i.e. mortgage) under control that we have a monthly budget surplus of $4-5k for discretionary spending, so spending for little things here and there (or even the rare large item, if discussed with the other) isn't an issue.

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                      • #12
                        I think its less about gender and more about one's spending philosophy with whatever emotional baggage that may also entail. Finding a mate with a similar financial style was crucial for me. After two decades of marriage we rarely consult each other before even large purchases and haven't had one argument over money. I'm good with that.

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                        • #13
                          I’m a man. So I silently resent my wife for spending relatively small amounts on a ton of stuff that I think we don’t need, but “I think we can afford” the Porsche I’m eyeing. A bit of sarcasm and a bit of truth. Ask her and she would likely have a very, very different answer... but it goes with the gist of the article.

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                          • #14




                            Interesting that only people with wives have chimed in so far
                            Click to expand...


                            I was thinking earlier this week how I could really use a wife. I do 90% of the spending but that's also because I do, well, everything.

                            In my experience, if a woman overspends, she usually has zero knowledge of finances. It's often exacerbated if she's left the work force. Husband "takes care" of the money, she might feel he restricts her spending, but still manages to buy things because she (or her kid) "deserves it." To me, the issue isn't the spending but that she lacks context. I find it hard to believe if he sat her down and said "this is why we can afford X,Y,Z" she would run out of the room with her fingers in her ears. No, it would pique her interest and then he'd have to deal with her questions. Not blaming the husband. Blaming both, I guess. Negotiating in marriage is not easy.

                            The double standard is that my own spouse has zero interest in personal finance. I doubt he'd notice if I stopped updating him. He's commented that if I wasn't so responsible he would have taken control long ago but I don't really believe that? I think we very much could have gone full boar into the DINK lifestyle after training had I not been holding the reigns. However, I also have no doubt were he to track our spending as I do we would be living on instant ramen until student loans were paid off. He has a tendency to obsess and micromanage. So it's to the benefit of our marriage he take an active disinterest.

                             

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                            • #15
                              Overall there's less 'stuff' for guys to accessorize and don't really change.

                              Suits and ties - styling doesn't change too radically year-to-year; even decade -- while women's style changes with each season -- so personal clothing itself churns a lot faster by this alone.

                              For Unisex things -- phones -- I think most folk are on par with each other.

                              Guys OTOH in general speak - mid-life crisis hits harder and hence big ticket items (flashy car and watch and shiny bikes) tends to run higher IMHO.

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