Call it whatever you like: “Aunt Flo,” “That time of the month,” or “My excuse to eat chocolate without feeling guilty.” For us ladies, our period is an inevitable part of life that can end up costing us hundreds of dollars a year.
This post deals with a topic that you may find taboo, but the cost of period supplies is a recurring expense that is often relegated to a necessity instead of a way to save money.
Every month we shell out the big bucks to buy sanitary products like pads and tampons. But there is a less expensive way to go about it. I’m not talking about buying low-quality, cheap pads and tampons. I’m talking about using alternative methods like menstrual cups and reusable pads.
There are many brands of menstrual cups and aside from price, the main difference is the material. Some of the most common materials are rubber and silicon. The cups, which range in sizes depending on the brand, are inserted like tampons to collect the menstrual flow. Most menstrual cups cost around $25 to $40. While it may seem like a lot of money, think about how much you fork over for a box of tampons.
Menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours. The benefits of using a cup is avoiding the risk of toxic shock syndrome and saving money over time. However, there are some drawbacks. It can be really frustrating to switch to a cup and not be able to properly insert it. Others may be grossed out by having to remove the cup, flush the fluids, and rise it. This brings me to one of the major drawbacks I’ve encountered, which has to deal with “changing” in public restrooms. It’s difficult to find privacy in a public restroom if you want to rinse the cup.
Like menstrual cups, there are many brands of reusable pads that can be found online or at local health food stores. The pads range in sizes just like the ones you would find at the drug store. Prices vary and they can be expensive. I bought a week worth of pads from Lunapads for $95 on sale and haven’t had to buy disposable pads and tampons since, saving me about $10 a month after ten months of use. You can also make your own reusable pads from adsorbent cloth.
Unlike regular pads, reusable pads are washed after each use, giving you the peace of mind of never running out. The pads can be tossed in the washing machine or washed by hand. The cloth is especially comfortable on hot summer days. Some women who use reusable pads have had problems with leaking.
If you spend $5 to $7 on pads and tampons each month, you could break even and begin to save money with these alternative methods in just a few cycles.