Recent surveys around the world are pointing to a worrying – and growing – trend: many women are not saving enough for retirement. What’s more, women tend to save less than their male counterparts, leaving their savings in cash rather than actively growing it. So why is this the case? Why are women finding it harder to save?
Words by Budget Babe
Did you know that the average Singaporean woman owns at least:
- 10 bags (handbag, wristlet, clubbing bag, sling bag, casual going-out bag, fancy formal dinner clutch, backpack…)
- 20 dresses (LBD, romper, summer dress, bare-back dress, skater dress, spaghetti dress, lace dress, halter dress, toga dress, evening wear, clubbing bodycon dress, office A-line structured dress…)
- 20 tops (tank top, spaghetti top, racer-back, cropped top)
- 20 bottoms (jeans, skater skirt, flare skirt, bodycon skirt, A-line skirt, trousers, leggings)
- 15 pairs of shoes (flats, sandals, wedges, mid-heels, kitten heels, high heels, dinner heels, boots, running shoes…)
Now of course I’m generalising, but I’m sure you can agree with me that this is, at the very least, a conservative estimate.
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I thought I owned too many things, until one day I went for a sleepover at a girlfriend’s place and found her wardrobe literally on the brink of bursting. It was so full, she had multiple items of clothing hanging on her chair, behind the door, and even on her bed. We all know of girls who have so much more than the numbers I listed above. In fact, I’m sure we know at least one girl who’s like this:
I did a quick survey among some of my friends and they all attested to knowing at least one girl who has so many pieces of clothing in her wardrobe that it’s a struggle to find anything at all. In fact, I used to joke that taking any item of clothing from my wardrobe is a daily test of my arm muscles. I’m guilty of having so many clothes that one hanger is used to hold 2 to 4 pieces at any one time.
I did a quick stock take of my own wardrobe, and discovered to my horror that I had all these in total:
- 20 bags
- 30 dresses
- 20 tops
- 10 casual shorts
- 15 dance shirts
- 10 dance pants
- 4 dance sneakers
- 15 pairs of heels
- 10 sandals
Not to mention, I had just spring-cleaned my wardrobe last year. If I were to include the number of clothes I’ve packed into bags for selling or giving away, and the ones I listed on Carousel for sale, I’m guessing the total number could go into 500 or even more.
Imagine just how much money has accumulated in my wardrobe over the years!
Using a conservative estimate of $15 per clothing, and $20 per shoe and bag, that works out to be over $2,200! And of course, the real amount is probably a lot more, because I have some $60 dresses, $120 shoes and $50 bags.
[Photo Credit: Regina Chow]
Local fashion blogger / shopping queen Regina Chow’s shoe collection. I counted at least 25 pairs of shoes in there, and this photo hasn’t even shown her slippers or sports shoes yet.
No wonder we girls find it so hard to save! But do we really need that many items?
We often buy new bags or shoes or clothes to wear for certain occasions, but the truth is these “occasions” are usually not more than a few times a year.
Take a look at your wardrobe – when was the last time you wore that dress? How many times have you worn that top since you first bought it?
The truth is, 80% of women wear only 20% of their wardrobe most of the time.
Here’s a good tip I found online which I’ve used to great effect:
Okay, so maybe you don’t have to give away every piece of clothing like the photo above says. But using this tactic should at least give you a good idea by year-end how seldom you end up wearing your clothes than you thought you would. This same method made me realise that out of the 10 pairs of casual shorts I owned, I only ended up wearing 3 of them throughout the course of an entire year.
The good news is, now that you’re aware of the problem, the solution doesn’t seem so impossible anymore. I highly encourage you to do a stock take of your own wardrobe as well, so that the next time you’re tempted to buy that gorgeous lace dress calling out to you from the store display, you’ll stop and think about how many dresses you already own. Hopefully, you’ll be able to control your impulses a bit more this way, and put that dollar into the bank instead of handing it over to that retail store assistant.
It’s a problem I’m still learning to control, but at least I can proudly say that my urges to shop are much fewer than before. And as a result, my savings have also grown.
This article originally appeared on Budget Babe’s blog and has been republished here with permission.