Women’s Spending Behavior Linked to Their Menstrual Cycles

In a study that applies to some 40% of all overshoppers, spending behavior has been demonstrably linked to menstrual cycles.

Professor Karen Pine, of the University of Hertfordshire, presented “Sheconomics: Why Women’s Emotions Cost Them Money” at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in April. Specifically, her study looked at 322 pre-menopausal women not using hormonal contraception (since contraceptive pill users are less susceptible to hormonal fluctuation during their cycles). It found that “women in the luteal (premenstrual) phase reported significantly more uncontrolled spending behavior, and there was a significant increase in impulsive spending behavior across the cycle.”

We might have hypothesized this connection, since, as Pine’s paper notes, “fluctuations across the menstrual cycle account for variations in a wide range of cognitive and affective responses in women.” Still, Pine’s is the first study to confirm the link. Her data found women’s behavior with money to be “menstrual-cycle sensitive, with self-regulatory behavior being lowest in the luteal phase, giving rise to excessive and unplanned spending.”

Forewarned is forearmed. It’s useful for women, and particularly for overshoppers, to be aware that their buying urges will likely intensify toward the onset of their periods. This, then, is an ideal time not to shop, but to focus instead on alternative activities that fulfill needs without racking up debt.

By Carrie Rattle

Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Read More