"Women Shouldn't Have To Be Paying More!"

RELEASE: October 2002
CONTACT: Paul Richard, RFC, ICFE Executive Director

San Diego, CA. "To 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 Richard, RFC - 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 in America.

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 product.

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.icfe.info. The site also includes helpful sections on mending spending, increasing savings, using credit wisely, plus tips on spending for household and grocery items.

To 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.