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).
- 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.