5 Simple Ways Women Can Avoid Paying the Pink Tax
Have you ever noticed that, sometimes, being a woman just inexplicably costs more? As if making a disposable razor pink is sufficient justification to inflate the price by several dollars. We pay more for our razors, deodorant, blue jeans, haircuts, and let's not even start on the cost of feminine hygiene products that men don't need. Ladies, enough is enough. Here's how you can get around the "Pink Tax" once and for all.
You might think the easiest solution to this problem is just to use men's razors and deodorant, but it's not always that simple. Personally, I'm loyal to a few pink/feminine labeled products, and I refuse to make the switch! I love the scent of Herbal Essences 'Be Happy' shampoo, and the Gillette Venus razor just works for me.
After spending two years extreme couponing through college and watching sale prices like a hawk, I finally mastered a strategic shopping plan that allows me to get the best deals on personal care items while still remaining loyal to the brands and products I like. Here are my four best ways to save on personal care items that carry the pink tax.
Buy in bulk.
If you happen to find your favorite products at Costco or similar warehouse clubs, you can save a lot of time and money buying in bulk. Purchasing an industrial bottle of shampoo decreases the per ounce cost, and a year's supply of razor cartridges are not only convenient to have on hand, but also are usually paired with a few razor handles. I also like to shop at online retailers such as Boxed or Jet.com, which don't require an annual membership but still offer prices competitive with the warehouse clubs. (Bonus: Boxed offers free shipping on your first order.)
Shop for items with seasonal packaging.
As the holiday season approaches, you'll start to see more and more seasonal gift sets for sale at stores like Target and Walmart. For example, bath and body gift sets at Target go on sale for 50 percent off right before Christmas (down from $9.99-15), and they usually have other promotions happening that can be stacked with this sale. Make sure you check both their Cartwheel offers and their coupon page to get the best deal.
Take advantage of Amazon's Subscribe & Save first order discounts.
Amazon's Subscribe & Save program enables shoppers to schedule regular deliveries of the household products they need, like toilet paper, dish soap or toothpaste. It's a nice service when used normally, but there's a way to hack the system that can save you big time on these products, month after month.
This hack works throughout the year, and is great for items you need on a monthly basis. Here's the deal: Amazon frequently offers a coupon for a set dollar amount or percent off and free shipping on your first Subscribe & Save order. This is in addition to the 5 percent discount you'll already get for subscribing. Let's say you've got your eye on the 6-pk Gillette Venus Women's Sensitive Disposable Razors, which costs $13 at Walmart and should last you around six months. If you buy it on Amazon Subscribe & Save and use the $3 off coupon for first-time users (which they offer almost monthly), you can get it shipped to your door for as low as $9! Cancel your subscription after your first delivery, and you automatically qualify for the same first order discount in the future!
I've bought razors using this trick many times, and have ended up getting them for as low as $1.50/razor every time.
Sign up for store loyalty programs.
My favorite game to play is what I like to call 'the drugstore game' at Walgreens. They offer two reward programs, a points-based program and register rewards. Both programs reward you for buying products throughout the store (including name brands) and give you a set dollar amount in the form of points to use on a future purchase.
I often see these rewards on items such as Kotex and Playtex tampons, which are charged a nine percent "luxury" tax in 39 of the 50 states according to a recent article on Retail TouchPoints. I don't know about you, but I find nothing luxurious about buying a $7 box of tampons every month. About every three months, I see a sale price overlapping with coupons and one of their reward programs, and when this happens I can score a box of my preferred brand of tampons for as low as $0.49! I recommend trying to never pay more than $2 for the 16-count boxes or $3 for the 32-count boxes.
Pay with a cash back credit card.
If you're forking over too much cash for your feminine care products and salon visits, let your credit card fork some of it back on to you. Check out our list of the best credit cards for grocery shopping where you'll find cards that offer as much as 6% cash back. As my mom always puts it, that's your money – why should you let anyone else have it?