Save. Spend. Splurge.

Are girls more expensive than boys to raise?

Ever since I announced I am pregnant, a few fathers and grandfathers have joked that I better hope for the sake of my finances that I have a boy because girls are WAY more expensive.

Of course my reaction was to laugh, but in every joke there is a half truth, isn’t there?

Here are their reasons for why girls are more expensive than boys:

  • They need accessories like purses, shoes, hair stuff, makeup. Boys are not interested in such things.
  • They have other feminine things to pay for like when their body changes and they have to start buying pads or tampons.
  • They need more stuff. Apparently what this “stuff” is, is not clear, but girls need more things.

I tried to counteract that boys EAT MORE than girls and therefore cost more in FOOD costs, but I was mollified when BF laughed and said:

But look at you. You eat double what I eat and I’m twice your size!

You were certainly NOT inexpensive in the food department as a kid and especially not now.

I tried to then say that perhaps boys cost just as much because then they need money to go out on dates with girls, or buy cars to drive them around, and so on, but I was told that if that were the case, they were then old enough to get a job to pay for their own darn dates and cars!


Maybe there is something to boys being less expensive to raise than girls.

I mean just look at how much a woman today has to pay for a simple haircut. Even if I were to go get my hair cut like a guy, I would be paying double (at minimum) for the same haircut.

Or look at dry-cleaning, where a woman’s shirt costs more than a man’s even though it’s smaller and technically would use less space, or liquids.


Or clothes shopping! Clothes of the SAME quality are more expensive for women than for men.

Even as a woman today, I pay more than a man, taking into account the fact that I too am enamoured with shiny electronics as much as the next guy.

The only area I don’t really spend my money on versus a man, is my car because I don’t have one and I don’t care to have a fancy, souped up car with sexy rims.



  • Joy

    lol I love this post. I think it really depends on what each individual considers is necessary to their everyday life, or what each individual, regardless of sex, chooses as a worthy splurge.
    My co-worker, who has raised 2 boys and also semi-raised a lot of young girls in her enormous family, said her boys were (relatively) ‘expensive’ to raise. For example, they always order a lot when eating out, even if it is an inexpensive restaurant, they make up for ordering in sheer volume. They care to buy clothes that cost quite a bit, i.e. name brand shoes, family entertainment for going out – like movie tickets for her sons and even their friends if they are coming along too, not to mention video game consoles, and then the games themselves.
    True we females need our feminine necessities, but they are inexpensive when purchased in bulk. As for purses, makeup, et cetera, it would not be exorbitantly expensive if we only buy what we need and don’t hoard dozens of purses or boxes of unused makeup.
    As far as clothing goes, I always thought guys’ clothes cost more than girls’ clothes, no? I usually see a pair of slacks for a guy will usually cost about 30-40% in the same store. In fact, the same co-worker has said clothing for boys costs more than girls because her boys grow out of their clothes way faster than the girls in her family.
    I also do not think dry-cleaning costs more for a woman. I’ve always seen signs that allocate price per item – shirt, dress, or coat… not women’s vs. men’s shirt, or women’s vs. men’s coat.
    Lastly, haircuts might be the same between men & women. Perhaps, women get charged more for haircuts, but men need to cut their hair far more frequently. But I think it depends more on whether a man or woman wants to spend more money or spend more frequently on styling and maintenance or whatever. I actually am very lazy with my hair, and after my hair gets too long, I chop off a huge amount and donate it, so my hair has never cost me too much money.
    Sorry for this long post, but the points you addressed really got my comparing thinking cap going..

  • Danielle

    I know in my household my brother lost COSTLY things all the time like his hearing aids and his glasses. I never lost aaaaanything and I feel like many of my gIrlfriends are more responsible with belongings like coats, phones, wallets, than guys are. I feel like that was a gender related thing instilled in me by my parents that my brother didn’t have as much of. So there’s one thing 😀

  • Lila

    Seriously disagree.

    Boys are marketed to as same as girls are…someone mentioned video games…My bf grew up playing video games and they were not cheap. While his sister got dolls and clothes and accessories, he grew up getting computers, a guitar, and video games.

    What about sports like football, soccer, basketball, etc. Those cost money too whether girls or boys play them. And boys are interested in hair stuff and clothes as much as girls. That’s why teen guys get hair gels, get their hair cut and dyed, and buy nice clothes by the time they’re in high school.

  • Taylor Lee

    I mean, girls will be more expensive than boys if the adults around them are making gender-based purchases on their behalf. For instance, pretty sure my parents spent a small fortune on schmancy clothing for me as a kid, even though I couldn’t care less about frilly dresses and half my wardrobe (the half that wasn’t T-shirts and jeans) would go almost completely unused. Why would they do this? Because they felt pressured to give their little *girl* nice clothes to wear. Despite my lack of interest in it at the time. Controlling for when we both hit teenagerdom and could dictate our own purchases though, my brother almost certainly has spent more than I did on fashion.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Hmm. Maybe it’s child-specific then. I loved shopping but for Baby Bun, I’m buying gender-neutral things and making him wear flowered stuff because he’s just a baby (hand-me-downs from a niece).

  • Stephanie

    I definitely cost my parents more than my brother because they paid for tons of music lessons. But, I worked my ass off for them, and my brother is not. As for shopping, I was too fat in high school to be interested in clothes.

    But if we want to go by stereotypes, boys play video games, and those things aren’t cheap! Neither is sports equipment!

  • Jay @

    I think the haircut is the perfect example. I cut my own hair or my fiance will cut it for me. It takes literally 10 minutes. If I go to a hair cuttery or something then it’s a whopping $15… with tip. Good luck matching that!


  • AdinaJ

    I have one of each. I will let you know in 20 years’ time.

    But, seriously, I agree with Cassie. Gender stereotypes aren’t much help when you’re dealing with individuals.

  • Helen

    Here’s an idea: children are expensive, period, regardless of gender. Like Cassie said, those above statements are based on stereotypes.

    I’m not sure how the gender-based pricing of services and clothes was developped, but it’s really annoying. Yes, you can argue that long hair takes more time to cut, but men can wear their hair long, and women can wear their hair short. One time, my boyfriend let his hair grow on the longish side, and he was charged the women’s pricing at the hair salon. I thought that was fair.

  • Alexis

    I think girls are definitely more expensive because they like fancier things. That could be my biased opinion though, especially since I am a girl and was raised with my sister as well.

  • Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet

    I’m not a parent but my sister has both a boy and girl. I haven’t noticed a big difference in the costs between the two but I do notice the boy eats way more. Man, that little guy can eat like nobody else!

  • Pauline

    I think it evens out, but it can be cheaper to have same sex kids so you pass hand me downs. My sister got all my clothes. My little brother is 17 years younger and he has a ton of tech gadgets we didn’t have but we had piano, tennis and riding lessons and he doesn’t do anything so again I think we are costing the same.

  • Sara

    My MIL and I have had this conversation – she raised two boys, one girl. She said that the only reason her daughter was more expensive was because she was the youngest and mom and dad had to foot the bill for technology because she needed it for school at a younger age than the boys did. (The boys were in college before they needed a computer for school for any reason whereas many of daughter’s high school courses had an online component.)

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Oh that’s interesting. I think that’s a generational thing then, no so much gender-based. I’m sure I’ll have to buy a computer for Baby Bun even for elementary to do research.

  • Morgaine

    It would certainly make an interesting study which I would be interested in knowing the results of.

  • Aldo@ MDN

    I think there’s some truth to that. My sister had way more clothes than I did and we ate about the same amount of food. On the other hand, my toys didn’t last as long as my sister’s dolls so my mom did have to spend more on toys for me.

  • Kandice

    I’ve got one of each – one boy, one girl. I think it evens out, actually. (LONG comment ahead, be warned.) While my girl cares way more about clothes than my boy, they both each get the same clothing budget. My boy prefers tennis shoes which, even in boy sizes, can be $90-$100 for a pair of Nikes. My girl has way more shoes than he does, but some of hers, say a pair of Converse or a pair of flats, come in at less than $100. They both get their hair cut at the same place for the same price. She likes dolls and makeup and art while he prefers video games. The dolls and makeup and art are less expensive individually than the video games/gaming system. They both eat more than I do and my daughter, honestly, can out eat my son. Maybe things will change as they get older, but right now I’d say they are about even. She has more quantity of items than my son, but his items are more expensive individually. I don’t buy it that girls are necessarily always more expensive.

  • Charlotte

    Haha if this is true – my poor parents! I’m one of 3 sisters 🙂

  • femmefrugality

    I think we’re marketed to and willing to pay more than boys/men. Look at razors… Ours are way more expensive when it’s essentially the same product.

  • Cassie

    Well, if we’re going purely based on stereotypes, which a lot of these kinds of statements are, you could argue that boys’ destructive nature means that things around the house will end up broken and require replacement that you wouldn’t have had to replace if you had girls. That is 100% based on stereotypes though.

    • NZ Muse

      Hmm, for kids I definitely think it is more of an individual thing. Do they do activities (sports, music, dance?) I might be wrong but I think kids’ clothing costs basically the same regardless of gender. I suspect like Cassie says, destructive boys running loose could rack up costs fast (as someone who’s flatted with groups of guys before, I can testify to this first hand. SO many things broken, so many things to fix)

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