Every time I walk into an upscale department store, it’s a mystifying experience.
I’ve never been to another country (except for Canada, and as a northerner, that doesn’t count), but I imagine it’s a bit like the same thing. Everyone looks kind of similar and maybe even sounds the same, but something is just a bit off from being normal…
Oh yeah, it’s all the perfume and expensive, uncomfortable clothing.
- 1 My Tomboy Habits
The Real Cost Of Being A Fancy Woman
Marketing for female-specific items is a huge business. In 2016, the cosmetics industry alone in the U.S. is expected to reach over $62 billion. That’s a lot of lipstick and high heels. Even worse, women are often charged more than necessary for things they have to buy.
Related: The Recovering Spender: How To Live A Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life by Lauren Greutman
To me, all of this spending doesn’t seem like it’s having much of an effect on well-being. There’s a lot of research out there to show that women adopt shopping habits as a sort of coping mechanism for when they’re sad.
My Tomboy Habits
As a tomboy who never really grew up, I’ve always wondered: how much have I saved as a result of shunning the fancier lady things?
For example, I don’t wear makeup. In fact, I’ll be honest: I don’t even know how to put the stuff on. The last time I tried, this was the result:
I decided to take a dive into some numbers and see how much I save by not buying (or buying less) of things that most other women purchase more often. To be fair, I also buy expensive things that most other women don’t buy, and so I looked at these numbers as well.
Things I’ve Saved Money On By Being A Tomboy
The average American woman spent $216 on makeup in 2013 alone.
Me? I think I’ve spent maybe $216 on makeup…in my entire life.
The average American woman in my income bracket spent $365 on jewelry during 2008.
As for me, I have a ring I bought once. It goes on my left ring finger. That’s about it.
My Nana made me a kick-ass bracelet once too. Thanks, Nana!
The average woman owns seven purses.
I own none.
Instead, I have these really awesome cargo pants that hold exactly what I need: my wallet, a cell phone, and chapstick. If you ask me to carry around a purse too I’ll probably forget it somewhere.
The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $26,645.
I paid $85. This included a marriage license ($60), and an application fee to have one of our friends, Moose, instated as a one-day marriage commissioner so that he could officiate our marriage.
We got married in January in Alaska, and our nearest family members were over 2,000 miles away. Ain’t no time for a big party!
My mother paid for my dress, which I got off a discount rack and love. My in-laws booked a conference room at a local hotel and paid for our wedding dinner, which consisted of us, Moose, and two other witnesses. Later, we both went back to our hometowns to celebrate and meet our respective in-laws for the first time.
I’ll confess here: I do spend a lot on my clothes. Dropping $100 for a pair of pants or $300 on a pair of shoes is no big deal to me. Why?
I generally only buy outdoorsy-type clothes. They’re super comfortable, durable, and they last a long time. I have clothes that I’m still wearing on a weekly basis from high school, over ten years ago.
I also hardly ever buy clothes. I have a small wardrobe, and probably 75% of it is stuff in my weekly rotation. I don’t worry about matching or fashion—I wear what’s on top of the pile.
Things I Haven’t Saved Money On By Being A Tomboy
My basic archery set that I bought in 2008 was around $350. Since then, I’ve upgraded my setup with a limb stabilizer, a quiver, carbon-fiber arrows, an automatic string release, and my favorite—a whisker biscuit.
I don’t remember what all this stuff cost, but let’s be generous and say it cost me $600 total for everything.
I’ve probably spent $1,500 on guns (.270, .22, and 12 gauge shotgun), ammo, and various tools over the years.
Much of my hunting supplies also overlap into the general outdoor equipment category. Things like hiking poles, tents, and cooking equipment are all things that “normal” people buy too, so I’m not counting these.
I’ve loved to go fishing since I was just a toddler. I have no idea how much my lifetime expenditure on fishing has been. My biggest expense was probably my collapsible ice fishing hut, at around $300 (hey, it got cold when I lived in Alaska!).
This year, I spent under $100. This included an annual fishing license (plus a second rod stamp—woohoo!), new fishing line, bobbers, and worms.
The numbers are incalculable.
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I’ve never owned anything other than a truck in my life. My first truck, a Mazda B3000 that I bought for $5,000 while in high school, lasted me until everything broke on it. If I would have kept it another week it would have done something like this:
My second truck, a Dodge Dakota, was much newer and nicer—if it wasn’t for horrible drivetrain problems. I spent thousands of dollars in repairs on it, including $3,000 to replace the transmission on it nearly six months after buying it. Come to think of it, it was the vehicle equivalent of my house.
None of us are “average” people, and if you are, then get yourself a weird hobby. I’ve saved a lot of money by eschewing traditional “woman” things, but I’ve also spent a lot in other areas.
Either way, the choices we make about where to spend our money (or not) are what make us interesting as people. I don’t want to be normal. I’d rather do things that turn up people’s eyebrows and have fun than live within the confines of what others think is proper. Whatever it is that makes you happy and weird, go for it!
What weird things do you love spending your money on? Leave a comment below!