When it comes to spending, many single women get a bad rap. Maybe it’s the Carrie Bradshaw effect that has branded the group with the Manolo obsessed, impulsive spending stigma or the shopaholic profiles of women out of control. But as the latest numbers from the government show, single ladies spending is not all that different from women who are coupled up.

In its latest “Women at Work” report the Bureau of Labor Statistics looked at the spending of single women comparing them with single men and married couples without children. For couples, the average annual income was $75,876, for single men it was $37,058 and for single women , $29,286.

And while single women do spend differently in certain categories, they weren’t the ones many would think.

For single women, housing is overwhelmingly their largest expense. While married couples spent 23.9 percent of their income paying rent or mortgages, single women spend a significantly higher 39.8 percent. However, the difference can be quite logically explained: with two people pitching in, the burden is less on the individuals’ purse strings.

The same logic can be applied to the categories of food costs, hygienic products and cleaning supplies, where the overlap in use often helps cut the total cost.  In the categories that single women did spend more (i.e. entertainment, apparel, education) the differences between them and married couples was less than one percent.

The data does not show a stark difference between the ways women spend whether they are in relationships or on their own.  So where does the single ladies spending stigma come from?

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