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Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Let’s Talk About the Expenses of Being a Woman

Gentlemen, you may not want to read this.

Ladies, I apologize for spilling the beans.

We women have a big secret. (Well most of us anyhow). It costs a TON of money to look after ourselves and to meet the standards of what we want for ourselves and how we believe others see us. This is where the men need to look away and keep on scrolling. Or, keep reading and see what women contend with, to make attempts to feel worthy of your affections.

Females of our world deal with a lot of pressures to look our best, and for lack of a better word, standardize ourselves, to what we believe men and even other women, expect of us.

Let me break down the cost of a typical day:

Wake up and have coffee

Workout-Some women pay for workout apps ranging from $25.00 per month to $100.00 depending on who/what you use for “training”. We also take supplements to help us workout ranging from $25.00 -$100.00 per month. Not all women do this, but if you are someone who works out, typically you supplement. There is also the cost of Protein shakes which is another $30.00 to $75.00 every two to 3 weeks.

Shower-This also varies, as far as costs go. Some women pay for shampoo, body wash, conditioner and lotions that are on sale. They can range from $5.00 each product, up to $75.00 or more, depending on where you shop. Then there are face products, like anti wrinkle and moisturizers etc. Again, these can be $5.00 per product into the $100’s. Or, if you are like me, you have an arsenal of various tubes. tubs and bottles that have probably cost up to a few hundred dollars combined.

Now it’s makeup and hair time. This is where I feel frustrated. The cost of cosmetics and hair products is outrageous! Again, you may be the type who purchases these products on sale at the drugstore, but places like Sephora and other cosmetic based stores charge an arm and a leg for a small tube of mascara. Everything in the store is very high priced. I’m unsure of whether or not the cost means better quality, as I have only made my way into the store a handful of times. I believe that a $9.00 tube of mascara is just as good as one that costs $50.00. I come out of the store empty handed and stunned that young girls can afford to flock in and walk out with bags in hand. Hair products are the same. Some women purchase sprays and gels etc. from their stylists, which also cost a crazy amount of coin. ($50.00-$75.00 per product). The stylist uses the products and makes us look amazing, and we purchase them so we can recreate the look at home. Sometimes we can, but often we fail, resulting in the expensive products getting chucked into a drawer, out of frustration.

Throughout the day, we go to work, having light lunches of salads and proteins, unless it’s “lunch out”. We all know that things like Starbucks coffees and other snacks throughout the work week add up. But, sometimes a girl needs a treat. Lunches out, especially “healthy ones” can cost up to $25.00. Then there is the cost of gas for driving to work, running errands and buying groceries. Sometimes there may be other impulse buying, sometimes not.

After work, once or twice a month, some of us have hair appointments, nail and pedicures, waxing, eyelash extensions, eyebrow tinting/shaping, teeth whitening, etc. Hair appointments for women, with color and trim can run into the $100’s. Personally I pay for a trim or just a color every 2 months and my girl charges me $105.00 plus tip. It is utterly ridiculous, but I pay it. I enjoy my visits with my stylist and she knows my hair. Waxing, lashes, nails, and all the other “primping” appointments are between $50 to $150 per session. Pedicures and pedi/mani combinations, depending on the place is between $50-$75.00 per session.

We go home, tend to our family’s needs, making meals and trying to relax. Some of us attend yoga classes or exercise clubs to unwind. These classes can cost between $10.00 per class- $75 or more per month. Massages, that we feel we need on occasion are typically over $100.00 a session. These all fall under the “self care” category. Gym memberships can be anywhere from $30 per month to over $80.00 depending on the available services and options.

Once we are home from classes or other self care, and relaxing in front of the TV, there are other costly activities such as online shopping. This is where it can get wild.

There are high end purses (handbags), like Michael Korr or Louis Vuitton that some women are into. These run into the multiple $1000’s. There are sales on clothing, that are continually popping up on social media newsfeeds that women scroll through and simply MUST HAVE, to add to their wardrobes. There are constant commercials for skin creams that make us look “radiant”. There are constant ads for companies like “Wayfair” who tout free shipping and huge discounts. Every five minutes there is a shampoo or other hair product that boast thick, full, beautiful hair, taunting us. Commercials for weightloss products, workout equipment, “guaranteed results” and “buy now and get a second free”, torture us. Junk emails sending us information to become a “better you” spam us daily. These advertisements and promises gnaw at us, giving us hope, as they rip and tear into our heart and purse strings.

There are women who love shoes and boots (I am guilty) and have a collection of them, worth between $30.00 all the way up to the high $100’s. High end shoes can be up to $1000.00 in some stores. I haven’t even touched on name brand clothing and accessories like Lululemon, UnderArmor, Helly Hansen, and oh my goodness, Burberry and Coach! If websites have “Flash Sales” we get caught up in saving a few dollars on overpriced clothing and accessories. (Ladies, if a jacket costs $900 from Burberry and you are saving 20%, its STILL ridiculously over priced-just saying) The retail, fashion, weight loss, and hygiene industries can be cruel They make us all feel like we can “be better”. We can “do better” “feel better”, “look better” and “appear better” if we just buy their stuff. But, what if we are good enough without that “stuff”?

We can also add perfumes, body sprays, and colognes to the costs of living. Some scents can be cheap. They can smell nice and the aroma can linger on your body all day long, or they can cost well over $100.00 per bottle. There are entire walls in stores for women to chose from and every celebrity seems to have their own “vibe”. The bottle that my guy purchased for me last year, is a square glass bottle with no name or words on it. The only way I know how to ask for it at the store, is “it’s the Julia Roberts one”. The lady, then, will show me 5 different boxes from Ms. Roberts, all costing well over $100.00 each. The double edge sword is that everyone tells me all the time how good I smell and I want to maintain it, but I don’t want to pay that price, (I also don’t even know what the official name of it is).

Women are already taxed with monthly costs for feminine hygiene products that they NEED. We pay so much more than men do for hair care, skin care, shaving products and more. We have costs that men cannot fathom just because we are women. Our society’s economy thrives on WHAT WOMEN WANT, and what we are willing to spend on crazy items and services that we don’t need.

We are told to buy natural products, eat organic foods, have a raw, clean diet, exercise daily, and live simply. Ironically, many of the companies that promote “natural, “organic” and “clean” have the highest prices attached to their merchandise and plans. It becomes confusing, frustrating and pricey. Looking “natural” involves more products to smear on our faces and bodies, and they also cost a fortune.

The other side of this, is the pressure we feel from fellow women. Think about all of the “home parties” that we attend and that give us unwanted motivation to purchase more crap we don’t need, in order to maintain a good standing within our tribes. There are oils, candles, teas, jewelry, makeup, toys for our kids, cleaning products, weight loss parties, sex toys, and the list goes on and on. It is now actually “easier and more convenient” for us to spend on these products because women have “virtual online parties”. We don’t even have to leave our couches to make our friends money. We can buy items through their web pages and have them delivered to our door. They have eliminated the entire social aspect of it, giving you the freedom to not make purchases, but somehow the pressure is STILL THERE. And typically we succumb and just buy the damn tea/candles/makeup/jewelry/wrinkle creams.

We envy others. We want hair like that lady, or skin like that girl. We want a body like that magazine cover, and we want nails like the pinterest photo. We wonder where that woman bought her shoes and make a note to look for them. The trends can even be strange and unattractive like Hunter rain boots or Uggs and we STILL BUY IN. Why? Cause they make someone else look cute and comfy. We wear baggy sweatpants and high pony tails, and messy buns because on HER it’s simply adorable.

Some of us feel pressure from men as well. We want to look good, and smell good and not age. We want to have a healthy, fit, shapely body. We want to cover it in lace and sexy underwear and fitted clothing. Under garments are also outrageously priced. Men can buy a box of briefs at Costco for $20-$30.00. Women can pay over $200.00 for a well fitted bra. Panties can be anywhere from $10.00 a pair to $30.00 and we usually have multiples of each. Again, men would never be able to comprehend how much we pay because we have breasts. Swimsuits are another ridiculous expense. There is barely any material on these things to cover your nipples and butt crack, yet women are charged anywhere from $50 for a cheap one, up to $200-$300.00 for a name brand one. Men go to Walmart and pull swim shorts off the rack for $20.00.

We want men to feel good about having us beside them and women to wonder how we always look so amazing. We may want envy, we may want others to be jealous of us, but mostly, we strive to fit in. We want to be acknowledged for the efforts we put into ourselves. We want our homes to be pretty and our self image to be happy and healthy. We want our children to be extensions of us. We want pretty things and thick, full hair, and white teeth and nice eyebrows and fancy nails and soft, hairless skin. We want our clothes to lift our butts and shrink our waists and make our boobs look good. We want to be part of the latest trend, but don’t want our age to show. We want to be current and fashionable. We want to look like we have it all together. We want compliments and praise and ego boosts. We want pride. We want to glow and sparkle and bling. We want to look radiant and youthful and successful.

We hear words like “this will make you young again” and “this will change your life”. We read reviews and see before and after results and want to be the “afters”.

We want to be perfect.

The financial pressure on us to look good and feel good is utterly ridiculous if we allow it to be. It makes me sad to think back over the past 40 years and realize how much money I have wasted and spent on ridiculous purchases in order to make myself feel like a “better me”. I am guilty of seeing other women wear nice attire and yearning to look like them. I am also guilty of being sucked into infomercials and pop up ads on Facebook showing me how to make myself better. I have been caught up in lash extensions and hair extensions, and lotions and potions and hair growth pills and formulas. My drawers are full of miracle formulas and bottles and tubes of various quick fixes.

Women need to feel amazing without all of the expenses of “indulgent purchases”. We need to feel good in our skin, regardless of what covers it. We should be able to look at others and not be envious or feel shamed because we don’ t wear expensive clothing or perfume. We should not feel pressured to buy products that sit in our homes, just because someone is asking us to support their “home business” through a Facebook message.

We don’t need to spend a fortune on ourselves to feel worthy.

Self worth doesn’t come with a price tag. It comes from within us, and we all have it. Our self worth is the one thing in this world that cannot be purchased.

Writer of relationships / early childhood and mental health . Poetry and fiction dabbler

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