Do our chromosomes make a difference?
There are definitely differences in the ways that men and women handle the household budget. Whether these differences are the result of being male or female – or just the way that we are raised and the sex-specific messages we’re bombarded with by the world - it’s difficult to say. Either way, exploring these differences can provide some interesting insight into whether Venus or Mars should lead when it comes to budgeting choices.
Research suggests that male financial decisions are much more focused on ‘right now,’ whereas women are conditioned to think about providing for themselves and for a family into the future. Research has found that 91% of households run by women had budgeted to put money aside, compared to 82% of those households run by men. The difference here is that women are more likely to make room in the budget to create a financial buffer – and so their households suffer less if budgets don’t work out.
When managing the household budget, both sexes tend to have the same inclination to make it work. The difference between the two lies in the fact that men have more confidence in sticking to the budget that has been created. This idea comes from a survey by the Money Advice Service, which found that 58% of men were confident in their ability to stick to a budget – in female survey respondents this figure was 56%. So, not a lot of difference and a survey based on self-assessment, as opposed to statistical proof, but worth bearing in mind in terms of attitudes to finances.
There is a school of thought that believes that women are much less objective when it comes to financial decisions. So, in a budgeting context, there is the potential for choices to be influenced by emotion or empathy rather than objective decision-making. Of course in some situations this can result in better and more flexible budgeting. In others, it could create budgets that just don’t work or last.
For both men and women budgeting can seem like a chore but there are often fun ways to save money so don't look on the bleak side – instead remember these basic budgeting tips that can help to create a sustainable budget on an ongoing basis:
Be realistic – it’s important to create a budget that works with what you have and what you need, rather than what you wish you had and what you want.
Keep revising your budget – there’s no use setting the budget for the month and then ignoring it until the start of the next month. Finances change, expenses pop up and sometimes your calculations are wrong. Staying on top of your budget and revising it regularly will make it work.
Acknowledge your failings – if there is part of the household budgeting process that you’re not great at and there’s someone else to ask for help then do. Two heads are almost always better than one.