Money Mistakes That (Mostly) Women Make

by Vered DeLeeuw · 98 comments

We all make money mistakes, but some bad financial moves seem to be more characteristic of women. I’m sure there are plenty of male-specific money mistakes too, but as a woman, I can probably write better about my own gender.  So here they are – money mistakes that women tend to make.

Spending Too Much On Clothes and Shoes


If you’ve read my previous posts on this blog, you already know I believe that Women Should Save More, and Spend Less on Designer Shoes. It’s not that looking good or being fashionable are not important – it’s just that it’s absolutely possible to look great on a budget, and buying into the “you must spend ridiculous amounts of money on clothes or you won’t get a promotion” theory is, in my opinion, a big mistake.

Expecting a 2-Months’-Salary Engagement Ring

Seriously, the only people who benefit from the “two months’ salary” rule are the people in the diamond and jewelry industries. It’s a stupid rule that begs to be broken. Who in their right mind would spend 2 months’ salary on a ring? If you’re financially well off, own your house, have a big emergency fund and nice size nest egg, great – by all means spend as much as you want on a ring. But for the average couple, taking such a huge chunk of money and putting it into something that is likely going to depreciate, instead of putting it in an emergency fund or as a down payment on a house, just doesn’t make sense. And buying that ring with credit is even worse.

Competing with Mrs. Jones

I’m including this in the list even though men fall for it too, because I believe that women compete on different things than men. Men probably compete more than anything else on the cars they drive, but women focus more on the house. Both are of course mistakes, and both are very human – but it’s good to be aware of our tendency to spend more just to keep up with the Joneses and avoid it when possible.

Engaging in Recreational Shopping and in “Retail Therapy”

Extremely common among women, these behaviors are destructive and can burn serious amounts of money in a short time, or – worse – get women into debt. Have you seen the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic? It’s not a very good movie, but it’s entertaining and it really captures the pleasure that shopping can bring, and the deep trouble it can cause. I’ve recently read that many women have clothes in their closets that still have tags attached, and that many of them hide purchases from their husbands. That’s insane!

Relying on Marriage to Save Them

You can’t build a huge debt, consistently spend more than you earn and tell yourself that it will all work out once you get married. What if you never get married? What if you fall in love with a poor man? What if he ends up leaving you and stops supporting you financially? Do you really want to be dependent on another person for your survival? Women in the past were completely dependent on their fathers, then on their husbands. We’ve worked hard to free ourselves and become financially independent. Do you really want to rely on another person to save you from your own mistakes? If you’re an adult, you should be able to take care of yourself, and that includes handling your finances – responsibly.

“Playing Nice” At Work

This is a tough one. It’s been shown in research after research: women ask for less than men at work, and as a result they get less. They’re also less assertive when it comes to asking for promotions and raises. We women tend to be less confident, and we feel that we must play nice. The problem? There are other studies that show coworkers and employers indeed expect women to play nice, and that assertive behavior is seen as unattractive and a turnoff when a woman displays it, but not so when displayed by a man.

So what is a woman to do? It’s hard to say for sure, but if you can manage to ask for more – nicely – I guess that would be the way to go. Personally, I find this need to walk a fine line between getting what you want while keeping your “femininity” and demanding it like a man infuriating. If I want a raise, why can’t I just go to my boss and tell them “I don’t make enough money to properly take care of my family. I need a raise?”

In addition, there’s also the notion that unfortunately many women and their employers share: that a woman is the secondary provider and so her income is less important. This couldn’t be further from he truth, especially in turbulent financial times – a family where both partners are good earners is much less at risk of losing everything if one of the partners loses their job.

Over to you now. Do you agree – or disagree – with my points? And what about men? Do you feel that men make just as many money mistakes, only in different ways?

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{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Betsy Wuebker August 26, 2010 at 5:15 am

Hi Vered – Absolutely right on. I can tell you, as a woman of *ahem* some years and having *ahem* made each one of these financial moves (some with wild abandon), that they are absolutely devastating on several fronts. Not only are you spending the money at the time you spend it (and if you’re using credit cards you’re doubling-down against yourself), but you are creating a mindset of expectations. You don’t feel “right” unless you have retail therapy, the latest (OMG it still gets me) fabulous shoe (my nemesis: Charles Jourdan), no smaller than 1 carat, etc. etc. Don’t get me started on the compensation and marriage examples.

If you are on this treadmill, jump off and run. The effects linger long, long after you become aware and take remedial action. If you find yourself being seduced into these vortexes, understand that anything could be fueling your need. But the most probable explanation is that you feel inadequate. Stop comparing. Understand that the most seemingly inconsequential decisions wind up have the most significant impacts years later.

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vered August 26, 2010 at 8:38 am

Thank you Betsy for sharing your own experiences. Some of the reactions to my posts on this blog go something like, “Oh you are so full of yourself and above making mistakes” but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I too struggle with most of the mistakes and issues I discuss on this blog. And I’ve done my fair share of the mistakes listed in this post, especially retail therapy.

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mom September 19, 2010 at 8:41 am

These mistakes are stereotypical and petty and it sidesteps the big issues. What about important things – like saving for retirement starting with your first penny? Or stashing money away for a rainy day? 3-6 months right? Got adequate insurance? YIKES. You don’t mention any of these major topics. Or how to learn about them. What about buying real estate?
Don’t get me wrong -there is nothing wrong with a nice pair of shoes or a fun dress — IF you save for your retirement, pay your bills and meet your responsibilities. Fun stuff keeps you sane. Lunch with a friend is cheaper than therapy. Go out to dinner with your spouse/significant other at least once a month (even if it’s McDonalds.) – it’s good for you. Invest in your children when they are young – it’s cheaper than bail later. But for goodness sakes – save for your future and make sure that you have the very basic insurance first.

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Cheryl March 4, 2011 at 10:51 am

I’m with Mom on this one.. we don’t all shop for designer shoes, etc. We need to think ahead.. WAY ahead and plan for things like retirement as soon as we land a first job. I don’t think the young people these days are taught anything about money management. It should start at home, as soon as a kid can handle a piggy bank. And, all responsibilities need to be managed first before fun things take over the bank account. It takes very little time to destroy your credit and a long, long time to build it back up

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Maria May 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I disagree that the youth don’t know money management. I think young people today know a lot more about money than our predecessors. I’m already saving for retirement (2 years out of college), my boyfriend and I are about to purchase a home (price range is less than 1/2 what the bank is willing to loan us), and I have AMAZING insurance. I’m saving for a new car for when mine finally dies on me ($5k and counting). I also have an emergency fund. I’ve managed to raise my income by $10k in the past 10 months, walking that fine line between being nice and being assertive (and also proving I deserve it). Most of my shopping has been for work clothes or weddings (now that’s expensive.. Bridesmaids dresses, shoes, showers, bachlorette parties, wedding gifts, hotels, etc, etc — not to mention the plane ticket for my cousin’s wedding in Rio de Janeiro in August — my hometown), and this is coming from someone who absolutely LOVES fashion and shopping. My boyfriend and I are also not married or engaged – I’d rather have a house and a graduate degree first, thankyouverymuch. I don’t need a ring – I only wear costume jewelry anyways. I have always been a saver, not a spender. I save until I have enough to buy what I need or want and still have an emergency fund. I’ve loaned money to my sisters in the last year when they had emergencies, both of which paid me back within 2 months (one just graduated law school top of her class – if she was taking out debt she was making sure it was worth it. the other has 1 semester left of undergrad — so the little money coming in from part-time jobs was being used for food and housing).

The youth of today are not the ones who caused all the current financial ruin in this country or the world. We are not the ones who bought more house than we could afford, we are not the ones who voted for the idiots that deregulated the banking/mortgage industry. We’re the ones who told our parents we wouldn’t go out of state even if it was a lifelong dream because we didn’t want anyone to get into debt over it. We’re the ones who graduated into the worse job market since the Great Depression and still found jobs (most after many months of full-time job searching/interviewing/networking) and do not rely on our parents to pay for anything. We’re the ones waiting longer to get married and have children until we can afford to. We’re the ones buying houses we can afford.

The male youth is not as good with money as the female youth, IMO.. But they are still pretty good considering what previous generations did to get us into this awful economy. Please, don’t blame the youth for the financial mistakes of previous generations. We’ve got our finances in order.

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anne August 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm

WOW I cannot help but wonder if the women who are so against the contents of this blog “doth protest too much”. I have know women on both side of the spectrum and some that fall somewhere in between. And I agree there are a lot of women who make these mistakes and are so in denial about it. Myself too. As to who is better men or women (I hate when people ask this question, always pitting men and women against each other), it all depends on their background, what they were taught and what kind of job they have. I have seen men who are fabulous at money matters and others who are not, same for women, and in equal parts. Can we stop trying to make everything about who is better?? We all have our strengths and weaknesses, to the point is to find someone who complements yours.

Joe Six Pack November 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm

You make a good argument and had me right up until the end…
I wholeheartedly disagree that women are better than men with money. I think that there are people that are good with money and not. This article could have easily been written about buying electronics and cars and various other things that men do wrong but I digress…

I do believe that this generation is more responsible then that last but I should also think that the previous generation had something to do with it as well don’t you?

The previous generation could get meaningful and well paying jobs with little or limited education, our generation not so much. My parents encouraged and helped me financially get my engineering degree so that I could do all those things that you highlight that our generation is doing well.

We plan, we save, and we are doing everything “right” but I suppose that the generation before us though the same thing as well. It will be interesting to roll ahead 20 yrs from now to see if we made all the right decisions are will our kids be posting somewhere that they are the best generation doing it all right…

Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black August 26, 2010 at 6:16 am

I’m just not typical, I know. But I do not have an expensive wedding ring (it’s a simple gold band passed down from my great-grandmother) and I care very little about shoes; my shopping “therapy” is done in thrift stores, and back when I “worked” for a living I did take the initiative in asking for raises and higher pay — though it definitely took me out of my comfort zone.

Not that I disagree with your points — just thought I’d add my two bits to show that there are women like me out there. :)

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Joanie September 1, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I agree with you on all your points, and I thank God that my parents taught me by their example not to spend money I don’t have. The only debt I have is on my car . . . the thought of the repo man gives me chills. I have one credit card which I use only if I know I can pay off the charges at the end of the month. Matter of fact, I write credit card charges in my checkbook register at the time of purchase. My shopping philosophy is “if it’s not on sale, I don’t need/want it.” I’ve been accused of hoarding my money and at first was insulted by the comment, but I have since come to embrace this truth.

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Ann August 26, 2010 at 7:27 am

I think you are right on a lot of points about a lot of women/girls. I’ve seen this side of even young girls these days. As for me, I think I’m genetically predisposed to being a cheapskate in a lot of ways. I am an avid bargain hound but only for those things I really need – the basics of life: Food, gasoline, clothes, shoes, utility savings. Recently the only splurges I’ve allowed lately is a couple of windchimes for my front porch. I sit out there a lot when it’s cool and I’ve got cheap or free furnishings there to make it an extension of my living room.

Truck tires are probably the most expensive thing I’ve bought lately, but I have to have good tires. Tried the cheapies there and they simply didn’t last.

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J August 26, 2010 at 7:57 am

I think your points are spot on, but I want to add my $.02 about how to ask for a raise. The conversation shouldn’t be “I don’t make enough money to take care of my family properly,” it should be “What I make does not appropriately reflect my value to this company.” Family issues and changes – such has having a child, needing to pay for braces/college/whatever, have no impact on an employer’s bottom line and therefore are not good bases for requesting a raise (although they may be helpful points to bring up when requesting specific benefits tailored to meet those issues – such as extra time off to spend with a newborn or dental insurance).

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vered August 26, 2010 at 8:33 am

Thanks J – good point.

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Chris August 26, 2010 at 10:08 am

Bravo, J. As a supervisor, if one of my employees came to me and asked for a raise because their expenses aren’t met by their current salary, I’d tell them to examine the side of the equation they control rather than making their employer responsible for their predicament. If they make the case that their contributions have merit or that their compensation is out of whack in relation to the market for their credentials, they’d get my full attention.

I’m disturbed that Vered even suggested we should ask for a raise based on as weak an argument as salary not covering expenses. Tsk tsk.

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Mary August 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

Thank you for bringing this up, J and Chris. I’m about to have the raise conversation with my boss and could have made that mistake. For the past two years, my company has been using the economy as a reason to not offer us any raises or bonuses, so it was tempting to also use rising costs as a reason for wanting a raise.

Truthfully, as a single lady, I was put off by that “I can’t take care of my family…” line. Salary should be based on what you contribute, not how many dependents you have at home. I realize family comes first, but I hate to see women undervalue their jobs just because they’re moms.

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mom September 19, 2010 at 7:51 am

AMEN. Women (myself included) need to stop asking for what we ‘need’ and ask – demand – what we are worth. We contribute way too much and ask way too little in return. It is a disservice to our selves and our families. I work with many powerful women and I can tell you that they don’t down play thier achivements and they don’t let people push them aside. They are still femine and nice – but they are not pushovers. Should someone get a raise because they had a baby? If their kids need braces? Really? Is that what you want? People that get promoted based on life events? What about gradating from college? Or getting certified in a related skill? That deserves a promotion/raise. What about if they wrote a report that saved the company millions? Or if they are a good employee that does not abuse sick leave? These are reasons for increases.

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Meggie February 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I was going to say the exact same thing. I think both genders make this mistake when asking for a raise.

When you request a raise, it should be because your performance is adding value to the company – not because you need the money for Junior’s soccer camp or any other reason.

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Katie August 21, 2012 at 9:01 am

I am a supervisor. The argument to make when when talking to me about a raise is: “I have accomplished A,B and C. The market for my position pays between x and y. I am should be making closer to the upper limit of that range because… (insert experience, education, etc.)” I amy not have a chance to give you a raise on the spot. Try to understand that there are times when it is just not possible to get the spending approved. However, as soon as it is possible, you can be sure I’ll make a case for you and carve out as much of a raise as possible.
If you come to me with “I can’t pay for my expenses” line, all you are going to get is “Do you want cheese with that wine?” Expenses are not my problem. I just want to pay employees fairly for the work they do.

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Sandy L August 26, 2010 at 7:58 am

On the work thing, I think women also tend to feel more threatened by other females colleagues. It drives me nuts that instead of banding together, we try to outdo each other. I wonder if there will be a “good ol Girl’s club” like there are “good ol boy’s clubs”. I doubt it.

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vered August 26, 2010 at 8:35 am

I recall reading that some scientists claim that women are hardwired to fight each other and stick by their men. It might change eventually, but since evolution is so slow, it could take thousands of years.

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Ben August 31, 2010 at 11:07 pm

as a young man, i run into more girls in college or at work that absolutely claim to loathe other women, and honestly i get a strong feeling that it might be biological to some degree to allow for mate selectiveness or something… but it doesn’t seem to be universal, i know girls that are counter to this…

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Meggie February 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm

This is so true. I find that oftentimes women work AGAINST each other in the workplace – in competition – rather than WITH each other to better their success. Imagine how much better we’d do if we fought against this tendency.

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Kay August 26, 2010 at 9:08 am

Well, as always there are exceptions. I personally cannot relate to any of these. I dress nicely but splurge only for an occasion and that is debateable, when selecting a home, I am the one who said let’s buy the less expensive home. I do not go shopping unless I have a need and then I scan and exit until I find the item. I find that my husband is the one who wants to flaunt wealth, buy whatever and generally not plan for the future. As to competing with other women, for what? I am not in a competition with women, perhaps with myself. I want to be the best and provide well for my family but certainly not in a manner that involves back stabbing, manipulation or an unwillingness to support others. So, yeah, I find these stereotypes offensive.

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Portia August 26, 2010 at 9:11 am

Am I the only one that finds the premise of this article stereotyping and offensive? (Jolyn, you were much too nice.) Recreational shopping is “extremely common” among women? Maybe I hang around with a more grounded set of fabulous women than the vast majority but this article doesn’t resonate with me at all, except for the negotiating part, which has been documented by authoritative sources.

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Beth August 26, 2010 at 9:21 am

Yes and no. My close friends certainly aren’t like this, but I’m from a smaller city and my social group aren’t particularly wealthy. However, I work in a major metropolis and I do have friends and family with money so I have also experienced these attitudes first hand.

I guess part of it depends on the context. Most of my friends aren’t “keeping up with the joneses” types, but there are a few who try to engage me in those games. Kudos to everyone who can resist.

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Beth August 26, 2010 at 9:13 am

I totally agree. Especially on the engagement ring — most women I know didn’t want a lot of bling. When my turn comes, I don’t want a flashy ring either.

However, one mistake I do see my friends making is playing princess on their wedding day. People’s expectations have become so overblown that we’re shelling out tons of cash on one day of our lives — especially when it comes to expensive dresses, shoes, hair, make-up, parties and even spa days.

Sorry to be blunt, but fancy weddings don’t make successful marriages — and I’ve seen the unhappy results of a few now. Getting a marriage license shouldn’t be a license to spend as much as you want without considering the consequences.

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vered August 26, 2010 at 10:57 am

“Fancy weddings don’t make successful marriages” – very true.

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beverly keenan February 25, 2011 at 11:13 am

My new daughter-in-law had a blow-out wedding but she spent money from an account her mother established at her birth, $100 a month. (Her father put the same amount into a savings account for her education.)

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Dad April 18, 2011 at 6:30 am

Sorry, but you just proved the gender point, Dad was the better role model, money Mom saved would have been better spent on a home for the newlyweds, not the wedding. Why would you spend $50,000 on a party for a bunch of distant friends and relatives that you are only going to see at a funeral or wedding? Few people have more than a handful of close friends and relatives who matter in their lives, invite them, upgrade the champagne and food a notch, and invest the rest in a wonderful long and happy marriage.

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Rebecca August 26, 2010 at 9:13 am

Regarding the raise- I worked for a company that had a policy that you couldn’t get a raise until your 1 year mark was up. In addition, the raise was only in the range of 1-3% a year.

During my short time there I was dumped much more work than I had signed up for, absorbed 3 different positions (you read that right) and saved the company well over $60,000 a year with efficient workflow management & productivity. I accomplished all of this within 8 months of being there.

I made $10 an hour. (You read THAT right). I asserted my right to petition to management to increase my salary. I presented all of my accomplishments and the cost-effectiveness of having been hired. When I absorbed an ex-employee’s FULL-TIME position in addition to mine, I asserted my right to have my title changed to reflect the new hybrid job. My supervisors and the director of our department were both women. The COO was a woman. They all threw the “no raises until the 12-month mark” policy at me. Meanwhile, I could barely pay rent.

So I threw myself the hell out of that job.

The previous poster was right, not all women are the same.

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KM August 26, 2010 at 9:21 am

I actually don’t have a problem with any of the things you mentioned except the work thing. On the other hand, I have been fortunate enough to find a job that has been appreciating me more than maybe I do myself, which results in raises and bonuses that surprise me.

The other points – I just don’t understand why women think that way, why they need expensive shoes, why they want an expensive ring, why it’s so important to shop just for the hell of it. If anything, I have an aversion to spending money. Sometimes I will go to the store for something I need, find things I like but that weren’t on my list when I came in, but if I don’t find what I actually came for, I usually just put everything else back and leave empty-handed. I do the same thing online – if I don’t find what I need but have a few nice things in the cart, I still just close the window and move on. I guess the “window shopping” experience is enough for me.

And the one time I was engaged, I had a ring that cost about $100 – a simple platinum band with a single diamond – and it was classic, beautiful, and more than plenty for me. I don’t know why anyone would want anything fancy…it’s uncomfortable to wear as it is.

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The gold digger September 15, 2010 at 6:00 am

I didn’t want a fancy engagement ring, either. I don’t like wearing rings and I would rather spend a ton of money on a trip to Paris (or paying off the mortgage).

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Meryl August 26, 2010 at 9:25 am

I think it all comes down to knowing our financial limitations and spending within our means, whatever that may be. As a baby boomer, I have seen friends facing divorce who have absolutely no idea what the real financial situation of their family is. Usually they end up getting screwed in the divorce settlement. Women need to know what is going on, and spend (or not) accordingly. I have seen supposedly intelligent working women with great jobs turn the family’s finances over to their spouse.

I think the ditsy woman who spends uncontrollably hurts all women (somehow men who are out of control spenders do not reflect on their gender as negatively). We (women) have the genes for responsible fiscal behavior, we just need the motivation and self-control to use them.

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Jenna August 26, 2010 at 9:25 am

I’ve seen plenty of my male friends pay bar tabs over $100, pretty sure I’ve never spent that much money ever on a pair of shoes…It’s all about perspective.

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Ben August 31, 2010 at 11:11 pm

probably also slightly biological, from time to time we have the preconceived notion that stepping up and spending that money to provide, whatever we can makes us somehow a better prospect as a man … that or it is ingrained culturally … i would bet my money that it is biological though

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Patricia August 26, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I do not do any of these things and never had a credit card balance until just this year, we bought a piece of property instead of going on a honeymoon and my husband bought me an engagement bike instead of any rings. For our 25th anniversary we bought bands for each other.

I think the biggest mistake that women make is “staying home to raise the children” The US economic system penalizes you on every front and it is very hard to get sufficient quarters of SS in to get medicare or any return. It is essentially SLAVE Labor, which no one in our country can truly afford to pay for….we don’t notice it because it seems like it has always been so…..we need to redefine work and benefits.

I have always worked since I was 12….and when I made more than $50 a month I had to pay my with holding and SS taxes….even on all my investments…My father told us always to be financially self-sufficient and I have followed that rule…

And if you have a special needs child – well let me count the ways that one is penalized….

Good article Vered and I do not grow tired of this….but I think we need to start talking deeper about finances and money issues….Remember we just had a Government that told us to keep shopping to rescue the economy…

And shopping to deal with painful feelings is an epidemic

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Mary August 26, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Interesting point about staying home with the kids. I don’t object to it — but I can’t help but cringe every time I hear one of my friends say their career is going no where or they don’t know what they want to do with their lives so now is a good time to have their babies.

I’m trying to gear my career so I can work part time/flex time when my kids are small and not lose too much income or momentum.

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Vered DeLeeuw August 26, 2010 at 12:40 pm

I agree. Very interesting point on staying home. Might be a good topic for a separate blog post. Thanks Patricia.

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Moneymonk August 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I’m a female and have no consumer debt; I guess that makes me a financial blogger LOL

I am not what you advocate in the post however, I have family and friends along with associates that do fit that mantra.

There are a few of us that do not get caught up in the consumerism. I do love adventure, international travel and dining out. I’m more into experiences than material objects

For as money, I always negotiate.

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Cath Lawson August 26, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Two months salary for an engagement ring is ridiculous. When Stuart asked me to marry him, I paid for my own ring, as I was earning far more, and I felt guilty cos he had just bought me an expensive ring 3 months before.

I didn’t buy a ridiculously expensive one, but to be honest, I had a perfectly good fake one – there was no need to get another

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KM August 26, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Speaking of good fakes, I always thought that Austrian crystal shines much better than diamonds and if look is what people want, then what’s the point in paying 100 times more for something that’s less shiny? Just because it’s “real”?

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Stephanie - Home with the Kids August 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I spent 6 years working in a jewelry store, and the two months’ salary thing always cracked me up. For one, it was a De Beers advertising campaign that created the perception. For another, a significant percentage of customers came in quoting it as three months’ salary.

As for my wedding ring, the engagement portion is a lovely sapphire, and the wedding band itself is plain. I’m not a fan of diamonds, so why would I pick one for a ring I want to wear for the rest of my life?

Then again, I’m not much of a shopper and never have been.

For the people talking about stay at home moms, I’ve long been a fan of stay at home moms finding some way to bring in at least a small income. You don’t know where your life will go. You could get divorced. Your husband can be laid off. He could become disabled. He could die. If you don’t have some sort of income to at least get things started, you’re going to have a lot of trouble.

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Tess The Bold Life August 27, 2010 at 6:38 am

Vared,
You’ve nailed it. Thank God or who ever I’ve grown up over the years;) We often blame men for keeping women in second place. I think with this post we could reframe that. Well written.

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Jane August 27, 2010 at 7:22 am

Rather sweeping and stereotypical generalizations, don’t you think? This is all true if based on observation of female characters of TV shows. This is not true if based on observation of women I actually know “live and in person.” On the other hand, my husband can rip through any amount of money in a very short amount of time. We are all different. Some women are frugal, some are not. Some men are frugal, some men are not.

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NYC GUY August 27, 2010 at 7:32 am

As a male, I would love to see a “Money Mistakes (mostly) males make”. As Jenna stated, it seems a lot of males I know, myself included will throw down $100 bar tabs on the weekends with going out with friends and buying drinks for the girlfriend and friends.

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John Doe August 28, 2010 at 1:30 pm

“I don’t make enough money to properly take care of my family. I need a raise?”

That’s not the bosses problem. You can request a raise only if you are being paid less than your work is worth in that market.

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Michelle August 28, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Definitely agree. Especially about the ring and the expecting marriage to save them bit. Although I am guilty of “retail therapy”.

Hm…can we see a “Money Mistakes that Men Make” now? :)

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Buffet September 1, 2010 at 6:07 am

Men don’t make mistakes. To make a woman: I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability. – Jack Nicholson from “As Good As It Gets” LOL.

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CreditShout August 30, 2010 at 9:05 am

When I saw this title, I couldn’t wait to post a defiant comment, but I must say that a lot of these apply to me. Except playing nice at work, which I can honestly say that I am a lot more verbal and confident than a lot of my male co-workers. That might just be my personality though.

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the scrum mistress August 31, 2010 at 8:26 am

All in all that was pretty insulting to pretty much almost every woman alive today. And also to the seemingly few men who regard women just as humans rather than as a category of creature whose habits can be so grossly generalized. I think Tess up there had the right idea but expressed it badly. What I see up there are mistakes that most people make when they are young. Like under 25. Men and women. Relying on marriage to save them? WTF? Of all my female friends only one of them is actually married like on paper and she has always earned more than her partner. Recreatonal shopping? Focusing on the house and competing? Where is your data for this stunning analysis? How was it gathered? What was your sample size? I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

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josh February 16, 2011 at 11:56 pm

thanks for the laugh :)

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Buffet September 1, 2010 at 5:59 am

What you describe is unconscionable, bordering on insanity. It is also completely intolerable. Someone need to gt those whores under control.

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Beth September 1, 2010 at 9:15 am

Yep. Now I know it’s time to unsubscribe with this post. Up until now, the points were pretty good. Alas, some people just have to ruin it.

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Lindsey September 2, 2010 at 8:42 am

I think that articles like this are extremely offensive. There will always be shallow, materialistic people – of both genders. Supporting the notion that this is common or normal for women is very misguided. I think that you’ve been watching too many housewife TV shows and Sex and the City marathons. If this type of behavior is common among you and your friends, it may be time to get new friends and new values. Instead of blaming genetics and society, maybe you should just get fed up enough to change. I don’t understand why it takes running up massive amount of debt to make some realize that they’re living outside of their means. And saying that this is a female issue really does injustice to what is actually going on in our world today. Everyone needs to be more aware of the impact their purchases are making – not just in their own finances, but in the world in general.

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Jan September 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Every family who has broken, in my circle, the man has been the one to run through all of the money.

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Kirk September 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm

The only thing I would disagree with is the comment about “I don’t make enough money to properly take care of my family. I need a raise.” The amount of money you (think you) need is not your boss’s problem or your employer’s problem. The fact that your mother-in-law just got hit by a truck and has huge medical bills doesn’t mean you are now worth more to your employer Nor does the fact that your kid is now on your auto insurance policy. And when your children move out of the house, are you going to say, “You’re paying me too much now that what I need to ‘properly take care of my family’ has gone down”? I don’t think so. What you need to say to your boss is “I contribute to the company in this way. My efforts are valuable in this area. I have exceptionally valuable talents. People like me at other companies make $XX,xxx. Therefore, I deserve a raise.” What you may spend to “properly take care of my family” may be more or less than what you’re worth. But don’t be foolish about what argument you use to advocate for increased pay.

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Steve in W MA September 12, 2010 at 1:43 pm

How about buying a completely new car because “I need something reliable and this one is 7 years old”, in spite of the fact that the car has actually never left you stranded in the entire time you’ve owned it.

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Meggie February 3, 2011 at 12:19 pm

How funny. Those words just came out of my mouth the other day and I didn’t even think twice about it. You’re right, though. Financially, it’s best to pay off that car and drive it until the day it actually does die on ya.

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Samantha September 20, 2010 at 10:30 am

I think a lot of the posters on here were unbelievably judgemental and a bit hard on the comments. I can honestly say that I identify with ALL of the things listed. Granted that like one poster stated, a few of my financial issues that are also on this list occurred when I was under 25 and incredibly ignorant because my parents didn’t really drill the importance of saving. Heck, it’s embarrassing to admit but I left the house at 18 to join the Army and had NO CLUE what an APR or my credit report was. How’s that for bad parenting when it comes to schooling your kids on finances? I have since vowed to discuss finances with my 2 sons as soon as they were old enough to understand what I was saying….lol.

I have always been VERY independent so I never relied on marriage to “save” me. I always worked hard which is one thing my parents taught me that helped to keep me off the street completely. But I do tend to play nice and my husband is always telling me to go for more money at work. I have learned to negotiate better and am quite proud of the salary that I asked for and got based on my accomplishments and hardwork. The main thing I agree with the commenters is that you should not ask for a raise because you can’t pay your new mortgage or because you had a baby. That’s your job to adjust your finances accordingly and has absolutely nothing to do with your company. As someone suggested, you can readjust your benefits package to benefit your new life choices better, hence the word, benefit. :)

I still like to buy more shoes than I need every now and then when I have some extra money and that is something that has to stop. I am 28 now and should know better.

All in all, I think this article was great and a good wake up call for me. I do know women who are my age or older and who spend unnecessarily or are hoping to marry “rich”. So this article is not ridiculous at all.

Well done, Vered. :D

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Lauren September 20, 2010 at 7:22 pm

The biggest money mistake that many women make is not realizing how much longer we are likely to live than men, and planning for our retirement accordingly. The combination of lower wages (usually), time out of the workforce raising children or caring for families, and longer lifespan means the chances of an elderly woman living in poverty are much greater than a man’s. So, take care of your retirement, ladies. You will forget the fancy shoes and other spending and be happy for a fatter nest egg to make your retirement years comfortable.

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Glass Is Half September 27, 2010 at 6:32 am

Firstly – great title … will never let my wife read this as she would beat me (lol) but really enjoyed it.. :)

I know that your article is very much a generalization but I’m constantly astounded by the “need” to have the newest handbag or the fact that they always need to go into the shoe shop in the mall. As a bit of a techie I’d love to have the newest gadget but can seem to control my urges in this regard whereas it seems so much more difficult for them? However she never forgets our anniversary either so guess I can’t complain too much. *grin*

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Mary September 29, 2010 at 8:13 am

This isn’t so much a woman’s issue as it is one of character and integrity. The only thing on this list that I’m guilty of is “playing nice at work” and that’s because I’m quiet.

Only really vapid, brain dead women actually fall into the stereotypes for the rest of these things. Seriously, believing that anyone needs a ring worth two month’s salary? Ridiculous. There are shallow men who believe this crap just as much as the shallow women.

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anne whitacre September 29, 2010 at 9:53 am

A small point of order here: a good diamond does appreciate in value. Not very quickly, but I have a 1 carat stone that was my mother’s and 30 years after she bought it, its worth 12 x (1200%) what she paid for it. However, its not like a diamond is very liquid, and you’ll never get the replacement cost if you try to sell it.
That being said, I’m right on board with these comments. I’m also “of a certain age ” (okay, mid-fifties) and have made my share of financial mistakes, but never in the same league as the financial mistakes that the men I know make. I think you have to decide where you get your pleasure, too. I do love beautiful clothes and good shoes — but I typically buy them at consignment and not retail; I have a good tailor and a good shoe repair guy (who also repairs handbags). I donate unused stuff to charity or consignment and take the write-off. I also have a mortgage smaller than the cost of most people’s car payments and generally trust my judgement about how I spend my money more than I trust other people’s ideas. I’m the daughter of a mother who was unexpectedly abandoned and divorced — and she was very careful to teach me to be self reliant AND fashionable at the same time. And the best advice from her: one year she asked her boss for a raise (she was a legal secretary) and he said “Jane, you’re already the second-highest paid secretary in the city. What more do you want?” her reply: “What’s wrong with being the first?”
my advice exactly.

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Melissa Triemstra October 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

“I don’t make enough money to properly take care of my family. I need a raise?”

This is something a typical clueless woman would say. In case you didn’t know, your boss doesn’t really give a damn whether or not you can “properly take care of your family” (whatever that totally vague non-quantitative statement means) The job is worth X amount and I can assure you it has NO correlation to whatever lifestyle you think your family should have.

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Nomen October 5, 2010 at 4:00 pm

If I get invited to another $30,000-$50,000 wedding that the bride just had to have to impress her friends, I will scream. What a horrendous waste of money. Then, they top it off with an expensive honeymoon to Paris or Tahiti. Five years later they will be getting divorced because they are fighting over bills and debt.

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partsmom October 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Another one that I see get women in financial trouble is spending too much on kid stuff–usually to try to compensate for the time that they don’t spend with them. But it does no good for a kid to grow up thinking that expensive toys, clothes and gadgets are theirs for the demanding. I once had a woman employee who was embezzling, who felt she “had” to give her kids an overblown Christmas.

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sue berg October 14, 2010 at 9:37 am

hello

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Big Red October 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

I loved the artice, but do agree with the other posters on the topic of asking for a raise by basing your arguments on your accomplishments.

Now on to my dislike. I am a stay at home mom. I take umbrage at the comments that because I do not work, I’m somehow “less than” because it’s intimated that I cannot take care of myself. A married woman who works or not can lose a spouse. If that comes to pass, whether you work or not, you will take a big hit financially. I’ve got my oldest through college, and out on their own. My second is beginning college and my third is starting high school next year. I’m VERY proud of being a stay at home mom. Yes, we get by on less than most, but we still have a decent house, food on our table, decent vehicles, and I get the bills paid every month. The economy and the “keeping up with the Jones’s” mentality have made it hard to be a one-income family, but I wouldn’t trade for the world. If at some future point I have to go to work I will, but not working outside the home doesn’t make me an uncontributing member of society, and I resent that implication. Being a wife and mother is plenty of work believe me. I think the definition of contributing needs to redefined.

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dan_man February 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm

So do you plan on working when the last child is on their own? It’s amazing how many stay at home moms continue to stay at home even when the kids are grown and moved out on their own. For every couple not retired, where one spouse chooses not to work there is one that has no choice but to drag their tired butt out of bed every day and off to a job they probably hate. And then the spouse who’s never contributed financially thinks they should be able to walk away and get half of every thing. The wage earner pays 100 percent of every thing while married and then 50 percent in divorce, 150 percent paid out to zero, real fair.

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Anna December 20, 2010 at 6:00 am

A wedding day is one day, and it costs about as much as a fancy car. This whole article is totally sexist. Men run through money too.

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American Hunk September 1, 2012 at 4:03 am

Sexist? There are too many judgmental people on here. We see these things being done by women all the time.

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Anna December 20, 2010 at 6:02 am

Men do exactly the same things. What’s worse – designer shoes or a fancy car? The shoes don’t need maintenance like a car does. Men buy cars/motocycles/computers/TVs/airplanes/boats/ – these are all money pits. And plenty of men try to marry their way out of debt.

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Phil February 12, 2011 at 1:01 am

I did not read all of the comments, but wanted to offer my opinion. First, I agree with most of your points except for a few: If I want a raise, why can’t I just go to my boss and tell them “I don’t make enough money to properly take care of my family. I need a raise?”
As a male, I would never, never, pose this question to my boss (female or male) because it simply sends the wrong message. There are more effective ways to address this and I think maybe due to the complexity of circumstances, you intentionally chose your words to inspire reaction to your article. I’m sure your justification is sound, but I believe it sends the wrong message to your intended audience.
Also you comments about men “probably” value cars and women value their homes….what income range do you make these judgments upon? I can see truth from lower to upper income, but curious how you come to this conclusion. How do you compare a car to a house? Sure there are cars built today that are worth more than homes, but if comparing them relatively speaking, I’m not sure I agree with your assessment. There are many individuals, male and female, that place too much value on the cars they drive and how much their home is worth, but I’m not sure you can distinguish between male and female. Personally, I’d rather have a nice house. I understand, that’s my personal stance, but wanted to share with you.

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Jeff February 19, 2011 at 4:10 am

The 2-month salary “rule” for engagement rings was made by DeBeers and their advertising agency. This is documented. In Japan, it’s a 3-month rule because their market research showed that the Japanese were willing to spend more, or perhaps more accurately, they were more willing to be TOLD how much to spend. It’s an enormous (and clever) scam, because it’s the company telling you how much to spend on their products. And people bite.

Luckily for me, both my girlfriend and I understand that a diamond ring doesn’t do anything useful. It’s a silly rock that sits on your finger and serves no worthwhile purpose. We’d both rather make a charitable donation or take a vacation with that money. There will be no ring for us. Sorry DeBeers.

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Jolene February 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

This article sounds like it came out of the 1950′s.

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Jane March 16, 2011 at 12:06 pm

#1 BIGGEST MISTAKE WOMEN MAKE IS SO LOAN MONEY. BOYFRIENDS OR GIRLFRIENDS……FORGET IT, YOUR MONEY IS GONE AND SO IS YOUR FIEND.

#2 BIGGEST MISTAKE WOMEN MAKE IS BY NOT HAVING THEIR MONEY MONEY FUND WHEN MARRIED. EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE HER OWN SAVINGS ACCOUNT, JUST IN CASE. ANY HUSBAND WHO REFUSES IS USING MONEY TO CONTROL….

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pliglee April 5, 2011 at 10:19 am

I guess my family is not typical. The women in my generation are doing very well for themselves. We have good careers and are living independently. The men are still living with Dad. They don’t have nearly the same bills that us gals have yet they somehow manage to accumulate over $30K in credit card debt.. EACH. I can pay my 10+ bills and still have money left to put in savings. My boyfriend, on the other hand, only bothers to pay one bill (cell phone) and can barely handle keeping the dang thing in service. Retail therapy? Puh-leeze. I’d rather hit something… like my head against a wall. My parents raised me to have good financial habits. Their example was great- they lived well below their means (but still very comfortably) and were able to retire before hitting 50. I’d like that more than a cute pair of shoes.

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Elizabeth April 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I definitely spent too much money on clothes & shoes throughout my 20s. Maybe this is something where “marriage can save you”. Since I’ve been with my boyfriend, I’ve felt much more secure emotionally & not felt the need to put so many resources into attracting a potential mate. I do take care of my appearance; I just don’t have the need for so many “costumes”. I believe that all the popular literature out there (like women’s magazines) encouraging readers that “it’s ok to be single” might be encouraging them to stay lonely so that they’ll keep shopping to fill the void.

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Alyssa April 16, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Am I the only one who finds this article horribly offensive. Why does a woman need any different list than a man? Some women love to shop and spend too much on clothing, but I know a lot more who’s high end looks are from low end stores. Money is universal. We don’t need our own list. Saving money is something not limited to a person’s gender.

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Jolene April 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I just do not think that
this article is well informed. If it was informed then it would be offensive to me.

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Bev April 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I buy good shoes…for the health of my feet. I carry good bags, ’cause my mom taught me to do so. I spent a great deal on my sons: music lessons, sports, education. I do not regret one penny. I raised them as a divorced mom. They are moral men, and wonderful husbands and fathers. They are also very, very financially successful. I really struggled. Now I do not. I worked hard. I still do, and when I can no longer, I have financial backup plans. I cared for my mother and grandmother….my boys and their wives have offered to do the same for me. Think of your family first. Raise them right. You’ll be okay.

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Anonymous0010 June 14, 2011 at 8:01 am

I spend more money on shoes than most women, I know, spend on an entire outfit. You just can’t beat Italian shoes * I’m a guy btw… and straight *

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Selena June 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

Nothing wrong with buying jewelery and shoes if you are in a position to afford them. When is the article on male-specific money mistakes? As a woman who’s always been responsible I’d enjoy that one more.

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BioFem July 1, 2011 at 10:17 am

I agree with several other comments – this article is offensive and only perpetuates stereotypes that really don’t apply anymore. I don’t think I know a single one of my female friends that ‘Has to Have’ expensive clothes or shoes – live within your means, end of conversation. Any person – man or woman – that needs to have pricey material things to feel better about themselves or prove something to the neighbors is an idiot and deserves the failed financial situation they get themselves into.

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American Hunk September 1, 2012 at 4:07 am

Funny. I suppose saying that females get pregnant is also sexist and stereotypical.

Hey, females have low voices – that is so so sexist. There are no differences between men and women. They are all the same. They think alike and have the same behavior. How dare someone say that men and women think and do things differently?

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BC July 1, 2011 at 10:22 am

I think your points are way off. I know a lot of men who act in the same ways that you outline. In fact, it was my ex-husband and not me that was the big spender pay day, my engagement ring was…$75, I didn’t feel like I had to compete with the “Joneses,” I paid my own debts and I was assertive in the work environment/asked for more (and my asking for more actually became a black mark against me). If you’re going to make generalizations, back it up with statistics and then keep in mind that many women don’t fit into any of these areas.

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Suzette January 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I think men are just as guilty, with maybe the exception of expecting a “Princess Charming” to rescue them for life. They splurge on toys, just not cute shirts and shoes. No, they go for hunting equipment, music equipment, espresso machines. My ex always thought he had money to spend if he had available credit on one of his five maxed-out cards. He never saved for the future. I dumped him, couldn’t take his fiscal irresponsibility. And, girls, you never ever say to an employer “Here’s what I need to support myself.” You always say “Here is what I’m worth to you.”

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Jareth Smith May 9, 2012 at 5:30 am

Some interesting points raised. Women spend a vast amount on make-up too, I’ve noticed. Considering women look much better naturally anyway this is superfluous expenditure. Men also spend much more on clothes these days than they used to.

It’s also interesting to note just how much both sexes are spending on alcohol now that it’s more socially acceptable for women to be just as wasted as men on nights out. This student lifestyle has promoted some odd things; I remember during my first year of University (2003) meeting a girl who proudly claimed she was an alcoholic and even wore a t-shirt with stating so.

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M June 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

Good points, all. I think men fall definitely into the engagement ring trap, both due to pressure from their wife-to-be, and the societal expectation of the 2+ months salary “rule”. Too many men give into this and it’s completely wrong. My cap was $1000 for my now-wife’s ring, and if it hadn’t been ‘good enough’ for her I would have walked – that would be the wrong type of woman for me. But I knew she would love it no matter what and wouldn’t care how much it was. She is practical like me and would rather see it go towards a down-payment. And it did. We also eloped and had a wonderful time with the people that mattered most – each other. Now we are comfortable and do not have money problems. Not yet 30 and our car is paid off, house is well within our budget and still beautiful, and from the debt that we did not saddle our parents with for the wedding – since they would insist on paying for it – instead they insisted on donating to our downpayment. All is well! :)

Now, my best friend on the other hand, is the very opposite and he is making all of the above mistakes. The main root cause is probably that he is chronically underemployed. His worst mistake so far is buying a ring worth probably 4 months of his ‘salary’ (since she would expect nothing less), and even including a trip to Hawaii for the engagement with all the trimmings and expensese – and all on credit when he is (and they both are) already in debt. Good luck with that. Oh, and they also plan to get married on a carribean cruise next year, which will be ridiculously expensive, and neither of their parents are well off. If this engagement/marriage doesn’t implode due to money problems I’d be amazed. Seeing as she is just as bad with money and makes all of the same mistakes, there is noone in the relationship to curtail it. But being a friend I just have to smile, nod, and be supportive… and hope for their sake I don’t have to watch it go down in flames.

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Hotstuff June 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm

It’s the 21st century! Doesn’t anyone believe in gender equality? Why not accept that women can provide for themselves. Most get into trouble because they simply don’t understand that due to unscrupulous credit card companies and compound interest, they will actually end up paying at least twice the actual price of the item. next time you’re tempted to put something you don’t really need on credit, just stop and think about it: using credits cards irresponsibly can effectively cut your income in half.

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notabigot August 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Men fall for this too. In fact they fall for it more often because they believe that they are smart enough to handle the household finances.

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Sal August 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I think people of any gender are capable of making mistakes with money with regard to the the superficial stuff. It’s not a far reach to say that women spend too much money on shoes and clothes, while men tend to go for cars — it’s what TV teaches us. But really, that is such a stereo-typical generalized view. It’s just so offensive to read in this day and age. For single women of a certain socio-economic background, sure, spending money on shoes and clothes pose risks. But for most of the world, home economics falls squarely on the shoulders of women who would love the luxury of making the mistake of spending too much on shoes. Please. how about this mistake: taking out huge student loans, scrimping and saving to get through school, only to discover that women still make less than men for the same job.

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notabigot August 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm

This is backwards. Since this isn’t the 1950s, you should be ashamed of yourself (you probably should even if this were the 1950s).

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Lee October 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

So that’s why on average women earn less, because they ask for less. Brilliant

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Rebeca - Siren December 17, 2012 at 3:22 am

Points mentioned here are all true. However, not all women make financial mistakes, but for those of us who do, many of them stem from our individual personalities and responsibilities.

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April December 21, 2012 at 7:21 am

I disagree completely, i bought 3 pairs of jeans and a jumper yesterday and they cost 40 euros combined in Pennys (the Irish version of primark) and they were the first new clothes i have bought for myself in a year. I usually ware either homemade clothes or hand me downs from two wealthy aunts who wear something once and discard it. My engagement ring cost 150 euros and i picked it out myself, (a quarter of a weeks wages for my partner) and i have never gone shopping for retail therapy in my entire life or as a social event unto itself outside of communal family Christmas shopping I have no mortgage, pay no rent, got most of my furniture for free after a family member decided to change their decor. On the other hand my brother wastes all his money on technology, My uncle on being posh, my partner on stupid decisions and bad driving skills (also why we never buy a new car he has a bad habit of blowing gear boxes and my mother and i live in the same frugal way.

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Andrew December 26, 2012 at 11:53 am

“Never try to keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level!”

– Quentin Crisp.

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Digna July 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I believe that we are all responsible for our lives. I do not believe that If we give our all to a job we have been entrusted to, as “a professional”, that we should then regress to a feeling of inferior aptitude, when discussing our achievements; (which we should always be aware of, since we doing the work); and become shaky and feel unworthy,…. almost begging, when discussing a merit raise. Men have knock down drag out brawls in the boardrooms, then when the issues are resolved go out and have a drink. Women should know their worth, and also their rights. It should not become personal. I watch women flirting to get what they want all the time. Use that ability to be sweet, smart, and focused, and in charge of our lives.

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Denis September 26, 2013 at 9:39 am

I spoke with my sister yesterday about one of her friends. Her friend has lost a lot of weight and is replacing her wardrobe. She is donating her used clothing to a thrift store for resale to others.

She is bringing 41 pairs of jeans. I don’t mean 41 pairs of pants, I mean 41 pairs of jeans alone! Who the heck NEEDS 41 pairs of jeans????? I imagine she will be donating probably $100,000 worth of clothes. Will she NEED $100,000 of clothes to replace those clothes donated? No, and my sister is trying to help her understand that.

When her friend realized she had 41 pairs of jeans she could not wear, I think it was a calling card for her to look at her spending, and she spoke to my sister about it. Hopefully some needy people will gain from this, and hopefully SHE learns from this as well.

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