What got me interested in this topic is an article my husband recently mentioned to me about a brilliant man in India, named Arunachalam Muruganantham, who invented a revolutionary machine for poor communities to manufacture their own sanitary napkins. In some parts of the world girls stop going to school once they start their menstrual cycle, and according to the article referenced above, “Approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases in India are caused by poor menstrual hygiene – it can also affect maternal mortality”. That is very sad and eye-opening. We are fortunate in the west to have a plethora of options available for purchasing feminine hygiene products. Many of us assume that the money we spend each month on feminine hygiene products is a necessary evil, something which is difficult to save money on. Fear not, bargainmoosers, I have some tips on how to save money on our necessary supplies. The tips don’t involve using old scraps of material, these ideas are easy to implement, and some are even better for the environment.
The Diva Cup
I used a DivaCup for about a year when I was in university. It is surprisingly easy to use and is extremely cost effective. It costs $39.99 on Well.ca. Additionally, Well.ca sells DivaWash, which I recommend to purchase along with the DivaCup to ensure cleanliness of the cup. They have very particular restrictions around how to properly clean and care for the cup, so in order to get the most bang for your buck, take proper care of the cup. In terms of cost savings, I find it easy to spend approximately $10 per month on feminine hygiene products. $10 x 12 months equals a total cost of approximately $120 per year. They recommend you replace the DivaCup once per year, and at a cost of $39.99, you will save approximately $80.00 per year by using the DivaCup. Check out their website for their Q+A section, it is really informative. I have a $10 gift certificate for Well.ca which I got through a WagJag I purchased a few years ago, and I think I will use it towards a DivaCup purchase. There is a certain “ick” factor to using a DivaCup, but once you are familiar with how to use it, that quickly dissipates.
Personally, I am not a huge pad wearer. I have always been an athletic person, and have found that tampons are an easier option for my lifestyle. With that being said, I know there are some women who swear by using pads for their cycle. What are Luna Pads, you might ask? They are a reuseable, washable pad system whereby you purchase pads and inserts which you wash and re-use. To be honest, the idea of washing out my pad seems pretty icky to me. It’s likely not something that I will invest in at any point in the future, although I could make use of the pantyliner kit. Check out Luna Pad’s Q+A section to find out all about their products. In terms of cost of Luna Pads vs. disposable pads, if we use a similar estimate to our tampon calculation where we assume we spend about $10 per month on pads, our total cost per year for pads is about $120. The deluxe LunaPads starter kit costs about $130 and they say it will last for approximately 5 years. This means that your annual cost using LunaPads is under $30 per year, or less than $2.50 per month.
Use coupons and combine them with sales
Another relatively easy way to save money on feminine hygiene products is to look for sales and combine the sales with the utilization of coupons. P+G has coupons quarterly which are published as an insert, and there are almost always coupons for always and tampax products. Usually it’s a coupon for $0.50 off per package. I always wait until packages are on sale for $2.99 per box, and when I combine the sale with the coupon, I can purchase a box of tampax for about $2.50 per box. Check out our coupon forum for more great coupons and deals. Even if you don’t use a coupon, however, shopping for sales is the best way to get a great price on feminine hygiene products.
Shorten your period
Another, off the beaten path way to reduce the costs of your period is to attempt to shorten your period. I have never tried to do so, but I am definitely interested in trying some of the natural methods outlined in this wiki on how to shorten your period. I still have some red raspberry leaf tea from pregnancy that I will try during my next period.
Environmentally friendly options
Last but not least, many of the options we listed above are fantastic options to be more environmentally friendly. According to sustainable personal finance, an estimated 12 billion feminine hygiene products are put in North American dumps each year. We will soon be running out of space to store our disposable products. It’s time to make a change.
As women we are blessed with our monthly visit from aunt flow. I say this sarcastically, as getting our periods suck. Try to save as much money as possible each month by using some of these methods. Bargainmoosers, do you have any tips to save money on feminine hygiene products?
Photo credit: Bekah Spangler