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Monday, September 30, 2013

4 major ways men and women spend their money differently

As the saying goes, men are from Mars, and women are from Venus. While the two genders may technically inhabit one globe, men and women couldn’t be more different when it comes to spending habits. If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head over the financial tendencies of the opposite sex, this guide should help explain some of the differences in the ways males and females spend their money.

Lushes vs. lookers 

Simon's stock
Men spend less on personal grooming and clothing

Women spend more on looking good, while men spend more on feeling good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that single men spent an annual average of $507 on booze, as opposed to a measly $216 for single women. However, the tables turned when it came to personal care and services, with single women spending $524 to the men’s average of  $194. Perhaps the women looked so good after spending all that money on their appearance that desperate single men showered them with free drinks?

Charitable spending vs. chivalrous spending 

Backyard Bouquet on Porch
Women are more charitable than men per the Center on Philanthropy

It is not surprising that women give more money to charity than men, while men would rather donate their cash to the noble cause of wooing a lady. A Center on Philanthropy report revealed that in every income group except for one, women made more charitable contributions than their male counterparts. Female-headed households were also found to be more philanthropic than those headed by males. However, ladies were not so quick to shell out when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Women averaged $88.78; as opposed to $175.61 men spent buying flowers, candy and other romantic items.

Food vs. fashion

SM Mega Mall, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
Both men and women enjoy shopping, but on different things

Both sexes resort to retail therapy when their mood is in need of a boost. However, their pick-me-up of choice is drastically different. Women hit the shops to spend their dough on new clothes, whereas men blow most of their retail therapy cash on food. Apparently the common perception of women eating their feelings is incorrect, and actually it’s the men who dive face first into a feast when they’re feeling low.

Settling the past vs. planning for the future

Piggy Bank Money
Men are better retirement savers, but women pay loans back more
Women are better at repaying loans, while men are ahead when it comes to saving for retirement. Women with micro-loans were better at paying them back, possibly because the men were too busy throwing their cash away at bars and restaurants to pay back their loans. Gents, however, appear to be more focused on their financial future. A recent survey showed that men have 28.8% more money in their 401(k)s than women, $50,632 to $39,320, respectfully. Of course, men tend to make more money than women in general, but that’s an article for another day!

Why is any of this important?

Understanding the spending habits of men and women and how they differ can help us when evaluating and planning our own financial futures. These studies would suggest, for example, that the next time you sit down with your husband or wife, you should have the Mrs. pay the bills and the Mr. handle the investments and savings.

These spending habits are just a few ways that showcase the many differences between men and women. Whether one’s spending habits align more with the females or the fellas, nobody is exempt from the possibility of bankruptcy. 

What do you think of these survey results? We'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment and let us know!

About the author: Vanessa teaches classes on financial responsibility and budgeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. When not teaching, Vanessa ocassionally freelance writes for various law and finance blogs. She dreams of one day working for  DeLuca and Associates; a chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in Las Vegas, but that'll have to wait until she passes her bar exam next year (fingers crossed!).

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