skip the tampon tax
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Skip the Tampon Tax

Psst, I make money on some of the links in this post at no cost to you. It keeps the lights on around here.

As my fellow ladies will attest, being a woman isn’t cheap. We’re surrounded by products promising youth, beauty, and happiness in the form of little jars. While I own quite a few of these little jars myself, I was shocked at just how expensive they can be.

We’re already fighting a battle against companies making pink products (that are in manycases identical to the men’s products) and selling them at higher prices. Couple that with the wage gap between men and women, and we can see that it can be more difficult for women to save for financial independence.

Enter the Tampon Tax.

Most states currently impose a sales tax on feminine hygiene products. In 2015, California generated $20 million in taxes from the sale of feminine hygiene products.

On a personal level, this adds up over time. If you spend $7 a month on tampons or pads (which is on the cheap end, let’s be honest), in a year that adds up to $84. Over the course of the average 40 years a woman has her period, she will have spent a minimum of $3,360 just on feminine hygiene products. Factor in the Midol and the chocolate that (at least for me!) are needed, and periods quickly become expensive–which isn’t conducive to frugal living.

What’s a girl to do?

Mrs. Picky Pincher’s answer: don’t buy tampons or pads.


That’s right. As a frugal woman, it makes no sense to me to spend upwards of $80 – $100 annually on tampons and pads. How do I get away with it?


All bow before the menstrual cup!

I’m a proud owner of a Diva Cup. It wasn’t an easy switch to make, but when you compare buying a $30 cup to spending $84 annually on tampons and pads, the difference is astounding. Diva Cup recommends replacing the cup once a year, but other sources claim that they can last several years with proper care. For me, I will probably replace my Diva Cup after two years of use. In two years I would have spent $170 on tampons and pads. But with the Diva Cup, I’ve only spent $30, leading to a total savings of $140 over two years!

While the Diva Cup isn’t a viable option for everyone, it’s certainly worth checking out.

Why I Switched to the Diva Cup to Avoid the Tampon Tax

      • Tampons are expensive: I have to reiterate again just how stupid-expensive tampons and pads are.
      • It’s more comfortable: Some people are weirded out by the silicone cup thing. I was, too. I had no idea how the cup would be more comfortable than a cotton stick. I was wrong. Tampons cause discomfort and dryness, which can lead to a host of problems. The cup stays in place and some days I truly forget it’s there (FYI, set a reminder if you’re prone to forgetting stuff like me).

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      • It’s better for you: Did you know that tampons and pads contain all kinds of chemicals? I thought they were made out of just cotton, but like most things that come out of factories, they have suspicious components. Dioxin, rayon, chlorine–the list goes on. While all-cotton tampons do exist, they still cause irritation that can contribute to Toxic Shock Syndrome. The Diva Cup is made from medical grade silicone and carries a lower risk of TSS.
      • More time: Did I mention you can leave the cup in for up to 12 hours? That’s probably my favorite thing about it. I only have to think about it twice a day and that’s it. Done!
      • It’s eco-friendly: Tampons and pads can take over six months to decompose, which is too long in my opinion. By switching to the cup, I’m not contributing more waste to the landfill. And that feels pretty good!

While the Diva Cup is also taxed like other feminine hygiene products (ugh!), the savings are downright too good to ignore. I didn’t switch to Diva Cup solely because of the Tampon Tax. But once I did more research on the issue, I’m completely happy to be buying less hygienic products that, in my opinion, states unfairly profit from.

The next time you find yourself shelling out $7 for a box of pads or tampons, consider the alternatives. You don’t have to be tied down with what’s available in front of you. Test the waters and find a hygiene method that works best for you. Your wallet and your body will thank you.

This post contains affiliate links. I will only link to products that I genuinely like and recommend. Affiliate links allow us to continue writing great blogs for you!

9 comments on “Skip the Tampon Tax

    1. I agree! I actually got so frustrated with my Diva Cup when I first got it that I didn’t use it for two months lol. It’s very, very hard to do the Diva Cup in a public restroom. I was fortunate enough to plan my day around the cup, but that’s not always possible for everyone. You know, I’ve been interested in trying Thinx! I guess I was concerned with how effective they were, but it’s a great idea to combine them with the Diva Cup.

  1. Oh my goodness I love my menstrual cup too! My friends get a little tired of me trying to convert everyone. Haha. For those worried about public restrooms, it really doesn’t come up that often. Since you can leave the cup in up to 12 hours, most of the time you can leave it in until you get home or a more suitable place. If you do need to clean it in public you can just look for a single bathroom with a sink. A tip for those without kids… You may not have noticed “family restrooms” are becoming very popular in stores, etc. They have one toilet and a sink in a single room and are very convenient for cup cleaning on the go! Unless there is a line of baby mamas waiting, no one will care if use it without kids.

    1. Long live the menstrual cup sisterhood! Honestly I’ve only dealt with the public restroom issue a handful of times. Even then, you wash your hands before entering the stall, empty the cup in the toilet like usual, and clean it with toilet paper–not perfect but it’s good for holding you over until you get home. I had a really hard time adjusting to the cup, so I know it’s hard to make the switch. But man, it’s a night and day difference!

  2. Yes! I love my cup! Three years down and absolutely no need to replace it. Cups are the best for your wallet, the environment and really getting to know yourself down there.

    Bloody fingers take a little getting used to but my cup has been a lifesaver. Especially for camping and hiking

    1. Woop woop! I had a really big learning curve with mine. I even got angry at it and it sat in my pantry for, like, three months before I tried it again. But wow. Wow. I have no idea why cups aren’t the standard. They’re so much more comfortable and give me so many fewer problems. 🙂 All hail the Diva Cup!

      1. I watched a lot of YouTube videos for tips and tricks before my first use 🙂 After the first few attempts it’s far nicer than tampons.

        A couple of years back (on an old blog) I managed to score a couple of free ‘trial’ cups and gave them both away. A friend of mine had a daughter just entering puberty and she has never used anything else. They are pretty intimidating for the youngen’s so it took her a while to be comfortable, but she’s super please now.

        1. I should have looked up videos, but I was scared of what I would see, hahaha! Wow, that’s so cool that you got a few as a trial too! It sucks that they’re so pricey; it’s not like you can just try it out without dropping $40.

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