Sanitary products are essential items you cannot simply ‘go without’, yet some may struggle to afford. Here are some items that could help you save money in the long run:

1) Menstrual Cups

This is an item that exists in a few varieties, and whilst the price tag may seem steep, keep in mind that you will only need to buy one. Just one reusable cup can last anywhere between six months and 10 years, depending on the cup and how well you take care of it. A menstrual cup works as a great alternative to tampons as it is inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood. Unlike tampons, however, you do not need to dispose of it. They simply need to be emptied and rinsed clean before re-inserting.

Each company or brand that makes menstrual cups may offer different instructions on how and when to clean the cup properly, so this is something you will have to read up on when you purchase one. Because they are inserted internally, reading reviews is a great way to learn more about what shape or size cup may be most appropriate. If you have never used one, they may take some time to get used to, but with a bit of practice, you should find them comfortable and easy to use.

Menstrual cups have become much more popular recently, and with plenty of companies and brands producing them, you have much more choice. The competition between brands also means discounts, promotions, and sales are something you can take advantage of when purchasing one. Menstrual cups are also popular due to them being an eco-friendlier alternative to single-use, disposable tampons. They may not be for everyone, especially if you have trouble using tampons, but if they are something you might consider trying, you could save yourself money each month.

2) Period Panties

Another item that can be considered an investment is period panties. Period panties are designed to absorb liquid like sanitary pads. They have in-built layers of fabric to ensure they are comfortable against the skin but also offer absorbency. Once again, you will need to spend money initially on them, but on lighter days or combined with a menstrual cup, they offer protection and peace of mind.

As a great alternative to sanitary pads, period panties can be rinsed and then thrown in the wash with the rest of your dirty laundry. They are not as effective on heavy-flow days, so they may need to be combined with another period product, but they will save you the despair of ruining your favorite undies at the very least.

Once again, a variety of products exist, so read reviews and keep an eye out for offers, promotions, and discounts if you are looking to save even more money.

3) Re-Usable Sanitary Pads

This is a product which could work out slightly cheaper than period panties – especially if you sew your own. Re-usable sanitary pads are made from washable fabrics and can be used like regular sanitary pads, except you can wash them instead of throwing them away. Once again, they are more eco-friendly, and if you stock up on them, you won’t need to purchase sanitary pads anymore.

They do come at a higher cost, but if you wear them each month, then you will get your money back. This is a product that will require some commitment to laundry, though, so if you have a tight laundry budget, it may not be the best option.

4) Choose Cheaper Own-Brand Products

Whilst it feels better relying on brands you know, and love, switching to cheaper brands will save you money. Many people find they don’t actually notice the difference between their favorite brands and cheaper alternatives, so paying for the same products but without the brand name is worth a try. If you find you do prefer the brands you know, maybe compromise and use cheaper products on ‘light flow’ days, so you still save some money. It might not seem a huge difference, but in the long run, every little bit you save will soon add up.

5) Period Poverty

The options listed above are great ways you can save money overall, but what about if you cannot afford even one box of tampons? The average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, which means that if you have a uterus and you are menstruating, you could be spending 13 weeks every year on your period. Some factors can affect periods, such as pregnancy, birth control and reaching menopause, but unfortunately, for most people, periods are an issue that women deal with for around 30-40+ years.

It doesn’t matter whether you can access period products or afford to purchase them each month, periods happen. Despite being a biological occurrence that affects around half the population, periods are unfortunately still a taboo subject for many. When people with poorer backgrounds cannot afford to purchase period products, this can lead to missing school or work to avoid embarrassment. Saving money with the above suggestions can work well for many of us, but unfortunately, it doesn’t help those in much poorer situations.

6) How You Can Help Others

There are lots of ongoing petitions to decrease ‘period tax’ and to support schemes where period products can be free and readily available to those who need them. You can also consider donating period products to charities, whether to help local people and the homeless or for global support to help people in other countries. Some brands that make products like menstrual cups also have their own schemes in place, so that when you purchase a product from them, they donate a product to someone in need. There are lots of great ways you can help and support others, so perhaps the money you save on period products each month can be donated to a good cause.

Hopefully, this has given you lots of ideas about how you can save money and help others too. This is an issue we should work together on and be open to each other with advice and tips.