Author Archives: femmefrugality

My Financial Muse is a Razor

Trigger warning: This post discusses feminine hygiene products.

This is such an interesting read. Marketing to you based on your values is huge now, but I didn't realize it was because of Gen Z. Definitely going to be thinking about new ways to be a conscious consumer.

While I was in Florida, I made many Walmart trips. Because you always forget something.

On one of these trips I was picking up razors. I was about to buy my regular brand when I thought I’d check out the guys’ razors. My finances could use some shoring up, so I’ve tried to be conscious about exercising a bit more frugality. And the guys’ razors are always cheaper.

Except this time, they weren’t!

isolated incident of womens razors being cheaper than mens razors

My jaw hit the floor. The Pink Tax in reverse! Two similar products, same brand. One clearly marketed to women, the other to men. I’ve tried both, and they both successfully get the hair off my legs. It’s the packaging you’re paying for.

Normally, the women’s razors would be more expensive than the men’s, but for whatever reason, on this day in this particular location men’s razors were more expensive.

So this anomaly was exciting.

But then I came home and found that the Pink Tax has been working its regular magic at all the area suburban stores I’ve shopped at since.

In fact, Friday night I was shopping in preparation for Snowmaggedon. I was buying razors, and went through a similar thought process to the one I experienced at that Floridian Walmart.

*reaches for women’s razors*

Wait! Bad! Buy the cheaper men’s razors!

*reaches for Bic’s men’s razors*

Wait, wait, wait. Remember that commercial that made you feel like maybe there are some good people in the world after all? And how at least some Twitter bots are protesting because apparently they don’t want a society that’s safe for women and children? Because that’s a platform now?

Buy the Gillette razors. They used their platform for good. And, yes, to appeal to Gen Z for advertising purposes. But you know what?

Good job, Gillette.

*grabs Gillette’s men’s razors*

*eyes Gillettte’s women’s razors. realizes that means you’re looking at Venuses.*

Nope, that ish is still expensive as hell.

*walks away, Nike sneakers squeaking on the freshly mopped floor*

The Pink Tax

So obviously I’ve had a lot of deep thoughts about razors lately. I’d like to look at the financial issues and psychological economics behind these thoughts I experienced.

First there’s the Pink Tax. It’s this thing where women’s products cost more than men’s, even when they’re identical products only differing in presentation, which is gender-binary-oriented.

Razors are obviously an example. So is shampoo. The list goes on. If it’s marketed to men, it’s cheaper. Perhaps the logic behind it is that women are more eager to be beautiful because that’s how society values them so they’re willing to invest more money into “beauty” products which are really just a part of basic hygiene.

But that logic makes me want to throw up in my mouth.

The Pink Tax is also a problem when it comes to feminine hygiene particularly. I live in the great state of Pennsylvania, where we’re not taxed on things like food and other necessary items like basic clothing.

You know what else we don’t pay tax on?

Tampons.

Pads.

Also known as feminine hygiene products.

H-Y-G-I-E-N-E.

No one buys tampons because they like the way they feel. These products are not luxuries. We buy them because they are necessary to function in the day-to-day world. They’re necessities. Just like food. Just like basic clothing. Yet many states still tax them.

I’m kind of crazy and think that not only should they not be taxed, but they should be a fully-covered benefit of any ACA-compliant plan. And that same coverage should be mandated as a contingency of granting states Medicaid funding.

But that’s just me.

Am I a sucker for advertisers?


Yes, I did exactly what these advertisers hoped their commercials would influence me to do. I bought their product because of their moral stance. Gen Z is coming of age.

You can officially stop calling 18-year-olds millennials. I’m in my 30s now, and I’m pretty close to the middle of the pack.

Gen Z is the hottest new target audience, and they lean liberal. They take note of things like social positions of companies, and they truly do vote with their dollars.

Millennials do this to some extent. Obviously. I bought into the razor ad. But I think Hasan Minhaj does a good job of exemplifying the effects of millennial anxiety on our final spending decisions. I’d recommend watching the whole thing, but you’ll pretty much get the point I’m trying to make if you watch to 1:40.

Note: We’ll be talking more about millennial anxiety and its effect on our personal economies in coming weeks. You can subscribe here to get a notification when the post goes live.

So I bought a product because the people in their marketing department were smart enough to prey on my sense of morality.

Does that mean I’ve been duped?

I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t. Now, it may have been a bit irresponsible of me to not research if Gillette as a company has any skeletons in their closet before I made the purchase. But given the information I had at the time, I’m happy with the decision.

Conversations for Informed Consumers

Really I think we just need to talk about these things and accept that sometimes our individual actions or opinions may be wrong. For example, with retrospect I can see that I should have researched the company via actual news sources to see if my values aligned with theirs or not. This rather than relying on an advertisement put together by marketing professionals. They hit my values on the nose in that ad. But do they exemplify those values after I give them my money?

They very may well. The marketing department may have had only the greatest of intentions as they crafted this ad that made me cry. The company may very well live up to these values. I haven’t heard anything to the contrary. I couldn’t immediately find anything disturbing about the ad like I experienced with that terrible Pepsi commercial a year or two back, either.

But because it is coming from an advertising department, it’s not necessarily a reliable source to represent the actual company culture.

If we don’t openly talk about our values and the way we digest media when those are the very things advertisers are targeting, we will cease to be informed consumers.

In the meantime, if anyone has an inside scoop on the work and company culture at Gillette, lemme know. Until I have information that changes my mind, I’m going to consciously allow myself to be swayed by this brilliant marketing campaign.

Frugal Fun at the Wildlife Refuge

Definitely putting this on my to-see list next time I take the family on a trip down to Sanibel Island!

When I’m traveling, I’m not opposed to doing tourist-y things. But if I’m going to do them, I prefer to do them as affordably as possible. Sometimes you can’t avoid admission fees and exorbitant costs to experience once-in-a-lifetime activities, but I’ve gotten pretty good at finding frugal activities no matter where I go.

The recent Florida trip was no different. We were able to take part in two non-beach-related activities while we were in Fort Myers Beach: JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and The Mound House.

Both were really cool, and I’m going to let you in on all the deets of The Mound House next week. But today I want to tell you all about our low-cost trip to the wildlife refuge.

JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

national wildlife refuge

JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is on Sanibel Island. We were staying on Estero Island, but the trip over to Sanibel was pretty darn short.

When we got there, we headed into the visitor’s center, which has a ton of fun educational displays and activities about the local flora and fauna. It also features the history of the refuge and JN Ding Darling himself.

Also, the visitor’s center is free!

While we were there, we learned about the refuge’s app. It looked pretty cool, and was going to be super interactive for the kids on our self-guided tour, but the sun was super bright and we had trouble seeing the screen while we were outside.

No complaints about the warm weather. I’ll take not being able to see my screen over the snow I was trying to escape any day.

The Trails

black bird sanibel island

From there we hiked the trails. It was really cool. The first portion reminded me of our hike down the Mayan-maintained walkways of the Yucatan rain forest. We were on a raised platform among low trees with wildlife potentially lurking all around us.

We mostly saw birds, but we also saw fish and spiders as we made our way through the mangroves.

The second path we trekked was made completely of seashells where you’d expect to see gravel. We made it to an observation center where I finally was able to conceptualize the Laetoli footprints.

Costs

heron mud florida

Visit the wildlife refuge is incredibly affordable. Like I said, the visitor’s center is free. And the three paths you can walk or bike are pretty darn affordable, too. The Bailey Tract is free, and the Indigo Trail is only $1/person.

You can also do wildlife drive, which can be visited via foot, bike or car. It’s closed every Friday–which is the day of the week we visited–but you can catch it every other day of the week for $5/vehicle, $1/pedestrian or $1/bicycle.

Whichever path you take, I highly recommend the refuge as a quality activity that you won’t even know you barely paid for.

Catch it on Insta

I’m currently documenting this Florida trip on Instagram, including some more pictures of the refuge, so be sure to follow along!

What to Do in #Pittsburgh on #MLK Jr. Day

Looking for something to do in the Burgh this holiday weekend on a budget?

Look no further. On Monday,  you can gather up the crew and head on over to the Mattress Factory without worrying about how much cash you have on hand.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration at The Mattress Factory

martin luther king day mlk day mattress factory

When: Monday, January 21, 2019
Where: The Mattress Factory
Time: 12p-4p
Cost:
 Pay what you can.

Every year, the Mattress Factory hosts a party for MLK Jr. Day. This year, there’s going to be a lot of really cool all-ages activities going on. The education department at the museum does a really great job with its events.

For example, there will be a scavenger hunt, a station where you can decorate Celebration Crowns, a cookie table (we are in Pittsburgh, after all,) and entertainment provided by DJ Dave Zak. They’re also bringing in the XOXO: A Project about Love and Forgiveness pop-up in from the Children’s Museum for the celebration.

If you’re a regular of the Mattress Factory, you’ll know that they’re not typically open on Mondays. But in honor of the holiday, not only will they be hosting the party, but the museum’s galleries at 500 Sampsonia Way, 516 Sampsonia Way and 1414 Monterey Street will be open for visitors.

If you haven’t been to the Mattress Factory yet, go. I lived here a total of 15 nonconsecutive years before I visited, and man, do I wish I had done it sooner. One of the coolest museums in the city–and that’s saying something in a museum-rich metro like Pittsburgh.

The event is pay-as-you-can admission, so you can take the whole family without breaking the bank. Plus, it’s a really great way to get them out of the house while they’re home from school on a winter day.

And celebrating a man so full of love, a penchant for peace and a desire for justice isn’t a bad way to spend any day.

Flash #Giveaway: Lunar Weekend in #Pittsburgh

This post is in partnership with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Whoa. These actors recreate the Apollo 11 mission using just their bodies. Definitely going to go see Moon Walk, and then head over to the Heinz History center to see the Columbia!

Happy weekend, friends! Fridays are always a happy occurrence, but this week I want to make yours a little bit happier with our next Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Giveaway!

A Very Lunar Weekend in Pittsburgh

But first, I want to throw some ideas at you for a very lunar weekend here in Pittsburgh on January 18th or 19th, 2019.

One small step for man, one giant leap over to the Heinz History Center.

Right now the Heinz History Center has an exhibit called “Destination Moon.” Among other things, you’ll be able to see the only surviving piece of the Apollo 11 spacecraft–the Columbia Command Module.

It’s pretty darn nifty, and it’s only touring four museums in the entire country. We’ve only got it here in Pittsburgh until February 18, so time is running out!

I don’t have History Center tickets to give away, though I wish I would have thought of that beforehand.

What I do have is tips on how to reduce your admission costs to the Heinz History Center not only this weekend, but every day.

  • Get $2 off admission if you are retired or active-duty military.
  • Get $9 student admission when you present your student ID.
  • Get significantly discounted admission if anyone in your household has an ACCESS card.
  • If you pay full admission, you can get free admission to the Fort Pitt Museum and Meadowcroft Rockshelter & Historic Village the day of your visit and the day after. For example, if you visit the History Center on a Tuesday, you’d have free admission at the other two sites Tuesday and Wednesday.

Catch an Out-of-This-World Performance

EQT Bridge Theater Series

Running on Friday, January 18th and Saturday, January 19th, 2019, you can catch Moon Shot–an anthropomorphic recreation of the Apollo 11 mission. This I do have giveaway tickets for, though you can get them here starting at $12.

Here’s what you’ll want to know about the show:

Biggest Story, Smallest Stage. To recreate the story of America’s Apollo 11 lunar landing, seven actors squeeze onto a 21-square feet stage nearly as tight as NASA’s original Mercury capsules. Using only their bodies and their voices, this astounding play brings to life one of the most daring times in the history of human exploration: the Space Race. From the Cold War to Sputnik, from Yuri Gagarin to Neil Armstrong, this action-packed show brings the company’s tongue-in-cheek humor to a whole new atmosphere—one where the rules of gravity no longer apply.

Content Information: Recommended for ages 7+.This show features acting, story telling, sound effects, physical theater and comedy. It contains moments of silence and minimal staging.

Moon Shot Ticket Giveaway

Sounds like a pretty cool day, right? I’m so happy to be able to give away four (4) tickets to a Moon Walk performance of your choice in partnership with Pittsburgh Cultural Trust! This giveaway’s only going to be open through 11:59a Monday local time, so make sure to get in all the entries you can over the weekend! Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pittsburgh EQT Bridge Theater Series 2019

Interested in other galactic adventures in Pittsburgh?

You might be interested in checking out the free tour of the Allegheny observatory, then! When I was there, I got to see the best telescope in the world (until the 1990s, that is,) gaze at the rings on Saturn through a telescope and learn who the heck Brashear High School is named after.

Easy Tricks to Save Money on Wedding Gowns

This post, which is contributed by an outside writer, is brought to you by JJs House.

Great tips! My BFF just got engaged--pinning for when she goes wedding dress shopping!

Every bride wants to make her wedding day extremely special. She tries to manage everything within her wedding budget. But there’s one thing most brides don’t like to compromise on: wedding dresses.

Fortunately, you can find beautiful wedding dresses at an affordable price. You will need to strategize ahead of time so that you have plenty of time to plan out all the small details. To make your search easy, get an idea of a budget for your wedding gown. Then sit down with these ideas that can help you in the selection of a beautiful dress within your budget.

A Beautiful Trunk Show

If you are crushing on a particular wedding dress, choose a trunk show. In trunk shows, designers highlight their new or current collection at bridal boutiques. These boutiques list their shows in advance, so you can easily shop dresses for your wedding.

While scheduling your appointment, you have to ask the greeter about purchase incentives. In this way, you can get bonus items for free while you buy a beautiful dress. Incentives can be a veil or a unique wedding accessory. You have to do your research before going shopping to make this process easy.

Try Rented Dresses

If you can’t buy an expensive wedding dress because of your tight budget, you can consider renting this dress. There are tons of sites out there that allow you to rent a dress, searching within your budget.

You can rent a wedding dress for almost eight days for $525 or even less. Many times you’ll find high-profile designers for rent on these sites. People wear the dress once and then try to recoup some of their expenses by renting out or reselling the dress.

Make sure to read the terms, conditions, and policies before you borrow a dress. Confirm any payment plans so you don’t accidentally miss a payment.

Pre-loved Wedding Gowns

If you love a designer wedding gown and it is out of your budget, you can consider alternative options. Used bridal dresses are readily available, especially with sites specialized in re-selling designer gowns. You can wear a wedding gown for only once and only for a short time–at least in a way that’s socially acceptable. Reselling is a more practical choice than paying a bunch of money to store it in your attic for some hypothetical grandchild who won’t want to wear it someday.

With you purchase a used wedding dress, you can wear a wedding gown from your favorite designer at a good discount. Or, if you purchase the dress new, you can resell the gown on the market after your wedding to recoup upwards of 70 to 75 percent of the purchase price.

Select Must-Have Items

Start shopping based on the elements on your wish list and eliminate pricey or less critical items. Select a must-have or focal point item for your wedding dress to control your budget while widening your choices. Shop your wedding dress with an open mind. Consider a sequined bodice with a beautiful skirt instead of intricate lace gowns. You can up the glitz by instead accenting with unique jewelery and shoes. You can even browse bridesmaid dresses to find a white gown for your wedding. These options can be affordable for anyone.