most women, the fact they are still paying more than men for comparable
items is pretty obvious. For years, many businesses have a perception
that women are natural 'shoppers' who like to spend money, and aren't
very savvy as consumers," says Paul S. Richard - Executive
Director of the nonprofit ICFE, based in San Diego, CA. The ICFE
is dedicated to helping consumers become better spenders, regular
savers, wise users of credit and thereby creating new investors
The prices consumers
pay are routinely inflated unnecessarily. Some products are marketed
as "specially formulated for women,” even though they're
virtually identical to the product intended for the opposite sex,
then, it is often priced at up to 50 percent more than the men's
One of the most frustrating
consumer experiences for women is buying a car. Because the salesperson
has flexibility on the final cost of a car, they will naturally
try to get as much as they can from any shopper. Studies have shown,
however, that dealerships make considerably more profit from women
than from men. Unfortunately, women are perceived by auto salespeople
as unknowing about cars, especially compared to men, so they are
less likely to be flexible with a female customer. That's why it's
vital to do some homework before you go shopping.
With a little research
at your local library or on the Internet, you should be able to
find the dealer's cost. Start negotiating at about $300 higher than
their cost, and let them know that you plan to compare prices at
other dealerships. That should motivate the dealer to offer you
a fair price, or risk losing the sale altogether. If you are an
auto club member, check out their auto buying services.
The same principals
hold true with auto mechanics. A good way to protect yourself is
to find a mechanic recommended by another woman. Or if you've worked
with a mechanic who has consistently treated you fairly, never take
your car to anyone else. And, again, the more you know about your
car, the less likely a mechanic is to take advantage of you.
Women also pay more
on consumer items, such as clothing, shampoo, and deodorant. Again,
getting a fair price can take a little effort, especially on clothes.
By shopping around and avoiding trendy boutiques and department
stores, and taking advantage of coupons and rebates, you can save
a lot of money. And in reality, a designer name blouse purchased
at the mall is no better than the one at the discount store down
the street, only more expensive.
Also, if you know you
can get something less expensive at another store, ask the clerk
for a reduction in price. After all it never hurts to ask. And for
certain types of clothing, such as sport shirts, T-shirts and shorts,
check out the men's section. You'll may find better prices.
Another area where women
traditionally pay more than necessary is health care. Granted, women
incur some costs, such as maternity, that men will never face. Still,
some surveys have found that doctors will often order more tests
and prescribe more medications for women than they do for men with
the same symptoms or illness.
While some of these
precautions may be a good idea due to the physical differences between
men and women, it's still a good idea to question your doctor or
get a second opinion if the treatment seems excessive and or expensive.
In the long run, it's important to see a physician you trust and
women may also find better luck with a female doctor.
Fortunately, women can
reduce the cost of some services, like hair stylists and dry cleaners
by comparison shopping. Women tend to wear more fragile garments
that require a little more care in cleaning. And typically, women
have longer hair that takes more time to cut, perm and style. Overall,
though, with a little effort, you can save a lot of money. Some
dry cleaners, for instance, offer a lower price on all garments
if the service is paid for in advance.
For information about
how to set up and implement a spending-plan (with a one page work
sheet) for personal and/or family finances, please visit the ICFE's
Web page at: http://www.financial-education-icfe.org.
The site also includes helpful sections on mending spending, increasing
savings, using credit wisely, plus tips on spending for household
and grocery items.
receive the same information by mail, please send $1 and a self-addressed,
60 cent stamped envelope to: ICFE Money Helps
PO Box 34070
San Diego, CA 92163.
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by
the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
designation and founder of the College for Financial Planning in Denver, CO.)
The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending
practices, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an
award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped
millions of people through its financial continuing education courses programs
and resources. In addition to eight Certification courses covering identity
theft, credit files, credit repair and credit scoring, among others, it also
publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated
annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning
Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE is a partner
with the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy and the California
Jump$tart chapter. The ICFE staff is also active with San Diego Saves and
Military Saves, both offshoots of America Saves.
The ICFE is also an
on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured
in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips
are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
The ICFE helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about
the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and
implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and
how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G
library, a free eNews service, and an online resource center for students,
parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools in the ICFE Book