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Figures below are estimates, your amounts may be a little more or a little less. I’m going to call her Eve because I don’t like not naming things or people, even hypothetical ones.
On average, a young woman can expect to start her period around age 12. Let’s say she enters menopause at age 52. That’s 40 years of menstruating! Of course, if she has children, she won’t have as many months of menstruating. I’m going to assume Eve has 2 children and got her cycle back 3 months after delivery (which is when I did even though I breastfed, not fair!). Now, Eve can expect 38 years or 456 months of menstruation.
Cost of Menstrual Products
Let’s say Eve uses 20 tampons and 10 pads per cycle. Her cost per period would be around $8. Each year, she will spend $96 just on pads and tampons.
Eve decides she is sick of throwing away her money and invests in some reusable options. She decided to buy a menstrual cup and cloth pads. She bought enough pads to get through her entire cycle. She purchases 5 overnight pads that cost $14 each and 5 moderate pads that cost $13 each. Upfront cost: $135. She also buys a menstrual cup that costs $15, bringing her total upfront cost to $150.
That sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it? Well, the pads and menstrual cup should each last at least 5 years, possibly more. If Eve continued to purchase disposable options, she would have spent $480 in five years. By purchasing reusable options, she is actually SAVING $330!
But what if Eve doesn’t use and only uses pads? We can assume she goes through 5 pads a day if she’s changing every 4 hours and 1 overnight each day. Eve purchases Ultra-Thin Heavy Flow Pads for daytime use and Ultra-Thin All Night Pads for nighttime use. Her daytime pads cost $0.36 per pad while her nighttime pads cost $0.27 per pad. Over the course of her cycle, she spends $10.35 on pads.
Each year, she will spend $124 on pads. Over a five-year period, she would spend $620 on pads!
She purchases. 5 overnight cloth pads at $14 each and 25 moderate cloth pads at $13 each. Her total upfront cost is $395. She just saved herself $225.
But, Eve doesn’t have $395 right now. She goes to Party In My Pants Pads and chooses the “surprise party” print options. Now, the cost per large pad is only $10 and the cost per overnight pad is only $11, bringing her total down to $305. She then uses the coupon code frugalland to save an additional 10%, bringing her final cost to $275.
Of course, there are other ways to offset the initial cost of reusable menstrual products.
Many women choose to purchase their reusable menstrual products over a period of time rather than all at once. If you choose to use cloth pads, you can buy enough to get through three days and do a load of laundry halfway through your cycle. This method allows you to purchase less pads but does mean you are washing them twice as much which can wear them out quicker. You might choose to buy two cloth pads each month. You can build up a stash over a year this way.
Find Cheap Options
There are cheaper options when it comes to cloth pads. Some women really like the pads available on Wish.com. I’m not a big fan of them but they are a cheap and viable option. There are also several sellers on Etsy that have lower prices. Be aware that buying the cheapest option really isn’t the best deal if the pad is poorly made. This is not a case where cheaper is better. My advice is to look for a coupon code or wait for sales to build your stash.
Make Your Own Cloth Pads
If you are handing with a sewing machine, you might want to think about sewing your own. This is a great way to cut down on the initial costs of purchasing cloth pads.
Regardless of which option you choose, using reusable menstrual products will save you quite a bit of money over the years. I believe the cheapest option is the menstrual cup but that’s not a good alternative for women who can’t use anything internally. But, if you can, it’s a great way to save a lot of money. I will be posting a full menstrual cup review next week.
Are you surprised at how much disposable pads and tampons cost over a five year period?