'Pink tax' may be eating into your budget

"Pink Tax" May Be Eating Into Your Budget
Updated: May. 23, 2018 at 5:37 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - We hear a lot about gender equality in pay, but could you be paying a "pink tax" when you shop?

Darlene Miller can come up with a lot of things women and girls spend more on.

"When you have girls, they have to buy ribbon and pantyhose, lotions, feminine products. We have to buy bras and panty girdles, scarves. ...When we go to a beautician, what do we pay? $75? What do men pay for a haircut? $20, $30. It's just so many things. Come on, give us a break," she said.

Unfortunately, women not only buy more things, but the same things can cost more.

"The pink tax is not actually a tax, it's an increased price for things women buy that men buy too, but women pay more,"said Candice Elliott, a financial writer who pointed out the phenomenon in a recent blog.

"Forty-two percent of the time women are paying more for things like shaving cream, razors, (and) deodorant when the differences aren't all that great between the men's product and the women's product," she said.

Elliott says hygiene products are the biggest offenders, but the gap shows up in everything from toys to dry cleaning.

"Children's bike helmets. Again, exactly the same product, but the girls helmets have girl designs the boys have boy designs," Elliot said. "The helmets are 13% percent more for girls."

You really have to pay attention when you're checking out the shelves. Both Old Spice and Secret are distributed by the same company. The Old Spice is about a half ounce more product for 10 cents less. Elliott says those pennies add up.

"The exact number is $1,352 a year," she said, noting that the $1,300 could go to better use. "You are making less and being charged more, so at every turn you have less money in your pocket."

There's often a simple solution. Buy the blue version.

"It's unfair, but things in life are unfair. I focus on what I can change, and I can vote with my dollars," Elliot said.

She says social media is another tool.

"Putting them on blast on Twitter is the fastest way to get a response from any company. You can write letters, you can do protest, but when you put them on blast on Twitter, they'll respond."

Miller says she's open to trying.

"I'm just trying to live and stay healthy and keep a few little pennies in my pocket," Miller said.

Sometimes, you do what you think is worth it. One shopper said, "I know I'm a sucker for purple. Anything that's purple I'm going to buy."

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