How Women and Men Spend Their Money

Both men and women lie to their partners about their spending, but the money similarities between the genders seem to end there. Viviana A. Zelizer explores the differences in a Wall Street Journal article, writing that women in many different cultures are more likely than men to direct money toward their children’s well-being:?”Culture matters and so do social ties. Women are often held to higher standards of morality in spending. Despite jokes about women as spendthrifts, mothers (and grandmothers) are expected to consider their children’s needs as paramount. Selfless spending becomes a hallmark of moral virtue.” Policymakers have taken note of these tendencies, and many aid organizations now reward funds primarily to women. [%comments]

Leave A Comment

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.



View All Comments »
  1. di says:

    This surprises you? Go read the Motherlode blog and see how people consider the thought of a mom treating herself once in a while.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  2. Dave says:

    I’m sure this is right. I can’t convince my wife to spend money on herself rather than our kids to alleviate my own guilt!

    I suspect, though, she gets the same level of enjoyment spending on them that I get spending on myself. We are different animals in some ways.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  3. Greg says:

    The thing that bugs me about this article is that it doesn’t say what men will spend the money on when they control it. All it says is when women have the control then purchases will be spread more equally.

    The article gives the example of the following: And a study in the Philippines reported that when women have control over a couple’s savings accounts, expenditures shift towards the purchase of family-targeted durable goods, such as washing machines or kitchen appliances.

    My rebuttal to that is if the family currently has a working washing machine then maybe they don’t need a new one.

    I am not saying which gender is better off for the family controlling the finances. All I am saying is the article seems to leave something out.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  4. Bob says:

    I would agree with the findings here. Maybe the social stigma of women being careless shoppers developed from women buying more tangible things with their disposal income. Therefore, it’s more of a reminder of what was spent. Where males tend to spend more of intangibles, such as sports, events, etc. Intangibles tend to become forgotten more easily.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  5. AaronS says:

    There’s an old story in my family about just such an instance….

    My grandfather, a poor, east Tennessee sharecropper, had just a little money to spend. He intended to use it to outfit his mules.

    My grandmother let him know that the kids needed that money for shoes. Well, let’s just say that grandmother was not the “retiring” kind. Apparently there was a big fuss and grandpa finally threw the money on the table and stormed to the barn.

    A while later, Grandma came out and, in a rare display of meekness, told him that if he felt that way, to please just keep the money. Of course, the kids got their shoes.

    In another instance, I was told that Grandpa had the habit of always raising two hogs a year for slaughter. But as the family grew, instead of him raising more hogs, he was stuck on two a year, and had to be prompted by–you guessed it–my grandmother to expand his horizons.

    While I KNOW, utterly and completely, that I love my child every bit as much as much wife loves him, I also know that she’s the one who reminds me to give him a bath, make him brush his teeth, etc.

    I would ask this, though: Could it be that men’s nonchalance on such things is due to women having covered for us so many time–perhaps because they distrust us somewhat–that we just assume things will be taken care of, and so don’t think about the others’ needs as promptly as we should?

    Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  6. Erin Kaplan says:

    Studies also show that women are more responsive to economic incentives than men. Maybe women are just more fiscally responsible when it comes to managing a household – traditionally the woman’s role. Evolutionary biology?

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  7. Eric M. Jones says:

    Well, guys buy guns, fast cars and power tools. Women buy push-up bras, expensive lingerie, perfume and those stiletto heels.

    Where’s the problem?

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
    • Dee says:

      Sick. Men buy stuff they like. Women buy stuff to make men like them more. And you don’t see a problem with this? Let me guess, you’re a guy?

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  8. FrauTech says:

    This article could be titled better, as in “how [mothers] and [fathers] spend their money” as it doesn’t appear to examine the difference between men and women who are not parents. Not all women are mothers.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0