Reader Suggestions On How To Fight the Pink Tax from Birth Control to Bras
Oh yes, we’re going there today. The “pink tax” refers to the fact that women often pay more for goods and services marketed to them. A 2018 study found that, “…women pay as much as 13 percent more for some categories of products (source: NPR).” Not cool, ladies, not cool at all. This insidious increase in price has been documented in everything from women’s razors to women’s clothing. In some instances, we can just buy men’s stuff instead (such as the men’s overalls I recently purchased), but there are plenty of products created for–and needed by–women alone.
While a number of states are working to repeal taxes on menstrual products, many states still have such taxes in place. Since I can’t change this sexist public policy (yet), I can convene you brilliant folks to share how you combat it. Today, thanks to the insightful readers of Frugalwoods, I’ve compiled a massive list of how to save money on the sometimes taboo, sometimes annoying, always necessary aspects of being a woman/woman-identified person.
P.S. I decided to lean in–waaaaaaaay in–to the stereotypes and cliches and went with flower photos. Enjoy this tour of my weed-ridden flower gardens and fruit trees.
Welcome to my monthly Reader Suggestions feature! Every month I post a question to our Frugalwoods Facebook group and share the best responses here. The questions are topics I’ve received multiple queries on and my hope is that by leveraging the braintrust of Frugalwoods nation, you’ll find helpful advice and insight. Join the Frugalwoods Facebook group to participate in next month’s Reader Suggestions.
How I Save Money
Before we delve into your advice, I’ll share how I try to economize on:
I have a Mirena IUD. I had a Mirena before getting pregnant with my first, in between my two kids, and after having my second. I love it and I paid a $25 co-pay (each time). I have no adverse side effects and several fabulous side effects: no periods, no cramps, and no PMS. Win!
I had terrible cramps before getting the Mirena, so the cramp abatement alone is worth it. Plus, since my husband and I have decided our family is complete with two children, we like that, “IUDs are one of the best birth control methods out there — more than 99% effective. That means fewer than 1 out of 100 people who use an IUD will get pregnant each year (source: Planned Parenthood).” I like those odds, ladies.
In terms of the insertion procedure, I found it fairly painful the first time (and felt ill for about a day afterwards), but my two post-childbirth insertions were painless. With my second baby (a VBAC), the doctor inserted the Mirena immediately after she was born–right there in the delivery room as I held my newborn! That was an ideal healthcare moment for me, let me tell you. Since I love being period (and cramp-free), the IUD is a better option for us right now than a surgical approach.
I have zero advice for you because I’m still wearing the nursing bras I received as hand-me-downs before my first daughter was born. So… yeah.
Thanks to my magical Mirena IUD, I don’t have periods! I truly bow down to the Mirena for delivering me from what used to be monthly torture in the form of debilitating cramps.
I had all hand-me-down maternity clothes (bras included), which I discuss in depth here: Maternity Clothes Are Like Christmas Trees: The Clothes-Buying Ban Continues.
For pregnancy test and ovulation test strips, we used this multi-pack from Amazon, which is dramatically cheaper than what you’ll find in a drugstore. While lots of folks have success using other ovulation tracking methods, I didn’t get pregnant (either time) until I used ovulation test strips.
I have a wildly unpredictable cycle and couldn’t get any of the other testing methods to work for us (I had a thermometer and everything!). The ovulation test strips were so effective in helping us conceive our second daughter that I was able to donate an almost-full box to my friend… who now also has a second daughter and has since passed along the nearly-full box to another friend…
No Judgement. No Rudeness. Just Helping Your Sisters Out.
This is not a political discussion. This is not a religious discussion. This is a discussion about taking care of your body in a way that’s healthy and inexpensive. There are many divergent viewpoints below and the key is that they’re all offered with respect and without judgement. Find what works for you; leave what doesn’t. There’s no room for shame or silence around things like bras and tampons. These are necessary aspects of women’s lives and worthy candidates for frugalization.
Note: I’ve included links to some of the products and services mentioned so that it’s easier for you all to find the items under discussion. Some of these links are affiliate links, some are not. Consider this your disclaimer.
How Frugalwoods Readers Fight The Pink Tax
Menstrual Products: Cups
Laura suggests, “Menstrual cups – buy once, lasts a decade, much better for your wallet and the environment. Moon Cup is the best one I’ve had.”
Cny Nicola votes, “Sckoon menstrual cup.. I wish I’d had one years ago! I also bought water wipes, a cup wash & a collapsable silicone cup for on-the-go changing & cleaning options.”
Pamela wrote, “I have only tried and used Diva cup. I put it in my Amazon cart for a couple months before I purchased because I was on the fence on whether to try it- it went down by $10 so I went ahead and bought it. Cups are not one size fits all though and it could be expensive to buy one that doesn’t work… Here is a quiz that can help.”
Kristin said, “YES this…. I use a Lunette cup. I feel so much cleaner, I no longer get headaches from tampons absorbing too much moisture, it’s very budget friendly, easy to use, never have to worry about running out or being out of the house without a tampon. The best!!!”
Wendy said, “I use a Lunette Menstrual Cup and LOVE IT. I save so much money and so much trash from using it.”
Carly wrote, “I use Diva Cup as well! I find it much more comfortable then tampons, on top of all the other positives others have mentioned.”
Larissa shared, “I’ve been using the Diva Cup since 2006! I did need to size up as I got older, just as they suggest.”
Laura relayed, “I originally had the Mooncup when I was 18, then I got a different one about 10 years later – a Divacup I think as it was on sale. But the original Mooncup was more comfortable tbh, so I’m going to get the bigger size Mooncup once I’ve given birth and periods are once more a thing!”
Jennifer explained, “I have found mine [menstrual cups] are only good for a few years, after that they move and leak. It’s still worth it. They are a huge life saver when I am working offshore.”
Kristine uses, “Diva cup– bought at Bed Bath and Beyond with a coupon.”
Lisa said, “I bought my Diva Cup back in 2013, and we’re still going strong! I agree with the woman who suggested investigating the different brands. It is not a one size fits all situation, and each period-having person needs to know their own physiology before making the purchase.”
Leah wrote, “I’ve got a Diva. I’ve had mine for 11 years now, and I didn’t have any problem using the small size even post-childbirth. Cups are so ‘your mileage may vary.’ You really have to read about them and be willing to try different ones if one cup doesn’t work for you. It is hands down my best purchase ever. I also like to pair it with reusable cloth liners in case I have any leaks. I’ve been debating buying a pair or two of Thinx as well.”
Noa shared, “I have tried multiple menstrual cups (both with and without the Mirena birth control) and finally settled on the Ruby Cup. Mine was $43 and it even came with a cup cleaner and a bag to store all of it in. I liked that each time you buy one, they donate one to someone in need. And they have a 120 days no-questions-asked money back guarantee which was nice although I didn’t need to use this feature so I can’t speak of how true it is. I can say though that this particular brand has been absolutely wonderful and much better than the Diva cup. I didn’t like how the Diva easily stained and a definite perk the Ruby one was I was able to purchase a black one. I bought mine online off their site. ”
Jana said, “I use the tulip cup! I got a pretty good deal. It came with 2 cups, container that accordions down for storage- use container to sanitize in microwave or travel with. I also got a set of cloth reusable pads for a just in case backup! This was around 70 dollars, but with all the extras, feel it was worth it! They have 2 sizes to choose last I knew. There are some tricks and little things to make the cup work best for you, but I seriously love it! ”
Luann concurs, “Definitely! I bought mine [menstrual cup] about 8 years ago for about $30, and haven’t purchased anything disposable since. Also environmentally friendly!”
Naomi wrote, “I love my moon cup. As well as all the eco benefits I don’t freak out when I forget about it during a long shift at work!”
Jennifer said, “I used a menstrual cup – I liked Lunette best – plus reusable pads that I could throw in the washer machine each month. Not only were they much cheaper in the long run but I felt better using these products compared to typical pads and tampons. For birth control, I’ve had several friends get and really love their IUDs.”
Menstrual Products: Reusable
Rebecca wrote, “Reusable menstrual pads are also great and you can get some very cute designs via Etsy or sew them yourself if you know how..”
Margaret said, “Seconding the menstrual cup with the addition of washable pads/pantyliners. I find them to be so much more comfortable and I basically have a 4 piece set of two different sizes.”
Stephanie divulged, “The Thinx menstrual underwear are terrible quality, my waist band unravelled so they sent me replacements and an apology which was nice, but the ones they sent were the same terrible quality. I now use Modibodi and have had no problems.”
Nicki recommends, “Thinx underwear and DivaCup – reusable, so saves money! Be sure you buy 3-5 pairs of Thinx, and always air dry!”
Tanja said, “I love love love my reusable pads. I’ve tried a few of the commercial brands (Luna, Hannah, Oko) but the best made and most comfortable one is from a gal at the farmers market who makes them by hand. I find they don’t smell after a few hours like pads tend to do. I’m not throwing anything away so they’re earth friendly and they last for many many years. Of course my teens are quietly horrified to see them drying on the line but I figure it’s also normalizing a bodily function and bringing it out of hiding. Cloth pads are so comfortable too. I feel like I’m treating myself. One pad is about $8 CAD but will last probably 10 years”
Menstrual Products: Disposable
Rachel shared, “I routinely go on the websites for the major feminine product companies. They are usually offering a link to free samples. I use these as emergency items in my purse.”
Bras: Maternity, Nursing, and Pumping
Rebecca wrote, “For maternity and nursing bras, swap with friends – body changes happen so quickly that it’s surprising how you change sizes in cup and back.”
Kate shared, “I wear an unusual size that Walmart and Target don’t carry, so I went to a Nordstrom Rack and got a high quality bra on clearance for $12. It fit perfectly. I followed a YouTube tutorial and added nursing clips myself. It’s been awesome!”
Laura said, “I buy all my bras at Wal-Mart or Target, and they usually run $15-$20, but I am just a standard size, some people are differently shaped or have bigger cup sizes, this option might not work for them.”
Kelly shared, “For bras, I don’t think you can skimp on quality or fit. My approach is to buy only a few, well-made bras (my favorite brand is Natori). A great bra makes all your clothes look better. I go get a free fitting to make sure its going to fit perfectly and then wait for a major sale to buy. I always buy nude because I can wear that color generally under everything and it means I need fewer bras. So I guess my overall approach is one of high quality minimalism. I hand wash and hang dry to make them last!”
Beth Anne noted, “The part of my bras that seems to stretch out of shape the most is the section at the back where the hook fasteners are. Replacements are available at most fabric stores and by using them I significantly extend the life of my bras at far less expense than the cost of buying new bras.”
Sharon wrote, “I used to shop sales for bras. I’m in my 50s and am a C cup. A few years ago I had invasive surgery that makes it painful to wear a bra. I wear cheap tank tops as undershirts. Muscles have gotten strong enough to support me.”
Allison said, “I get sized at a department store for bras and then look at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s for the department store brands for less. At 38B it can be hit or miss, but they tend to be $10-15 for ‘last years’ model vs $35-40 for the newest one.”
Megan shared, “Bras- I buy them every year or every other year during Black Friday- for some reason they always have the best prices on these at Kohls or JCPenny.”
Elizabeth said, “I really love my two sport bras. I can wear them around and if I feel fancy that’s when I wear the nicer non sport bra I got at Walmart.”
Kate wrote, “Nordstrom Rack has great bras on their clearance rack for a fraction of the price! I got a $70 bra for $12.”
Sussanne shared, “As far as bras – quality over quantity. I am not small chested so they aren’t cheap. I buy 2 sports bras from Victoria secret when they go on sale. The key with bras is to hand wash or wash on delicate and HANG to dry. The dryer destroys the elasticity.”
Katherine recommends, “The brand Smart + Sexy on Amazon. Their signature lace bra is almost indistinguishable from the ones I used to get at Victoria’s Secret but 1/4 the price and in a wider variety of sizes.”
Birth Control: Pills
Andrea said, “My prescription BC ran out before I could get a doctor visit so I signed up for The Pill Club. It asked a few health questions and required a recent blood pressure reading but so far I’m loving it! Switched to menstrual cups this year too, there’s no way I’m going back to tampons ever, I love that you can go up to 12 hours and there’s so much less waste. I did have a small learning curve though but all is good now.”
Hope shared, “I use Nurx for my birth control prescription. Saved me from having to pay out of pocket for an unnecessary office visit, totally free with health insurance (and very cheap without), a doctor answered any questions I had, and my birth control pills show up each month in my mailbox without me having to physically go to a pharmacy.”
Amy wrote, “I’m on continuous hormonal birth control for my endometriosis. It’s free under the ACA, and I don’t have to buy menstrual products since I skip the placebo pills and just start a new pack. At least one benefit of a very unpleasant disease.”
Birth Control: Natural Family Planning
Linda shared, “NFP [natural family planning] is free after the cost of a class (and can be learnt from a book for free esp. if your cycles are fairly simple – more complicated would benefit from a teacher). Menstrual cups – I use the Keeper and have for a long time. You can make reusable pads from flannel – if you’re already washing diapers, it’s easy to throw pads in also. Aldi has good prices on disposable pads though. Bras….I wish I had a frugal answer for those.”
Loni said, “NFP, once learned, is so helpful! Take the time to take the classes. SO worth it!”
Nicki wrote, “The book ‘Managing Your Fertility’ is a good resource!”
Margaret explained that, “…the symptoms of fertility are not subtle at all if you are trained to look for them. The sympto-thermal method teaches you to cross check three indicators which are easily measured/observed for most women… Modern day Fertility Awareness is much more scientific than anything our mothers and grandmothers had. They really cannot be compared. Just as modern hormonal birth control is much improved. Also the topic as a whole is less taboo in our current culture so women can learn and discuss much more openly than our predecessors.”
Laura shared, “I believe understanding your own body is the best birth control. There are so many ways to do this (basal body temp, mucus, etc). There are even phone apps you can get now to help. On some of the “off days” you could use a barrier method such as a condom or spermicide.”
Birth Control: IUDs
Allison votes for the, “Mirena! I’m in a research study to keep it in for 8 years (currently at 6.5 years). So for the last 18 months I have been paid $30/month to answer a daily question on a phone they provided and keep the Mirena. I also get $60/dr visit every 6 months. AND I have no real period so no need for supplies. AND my annuals are covered and I get a free Mirena at the end.”
Tabitha recommends, “Diva Cup! Or any menstrual cups. Also the IUD. I have a copper one that will last for 12 years and my insurance (health partners) covered it since it’s considered preventive care.”
Anne said that for, “Birth control, I got a Paraguard, which is non-hormonal IUD. Good for 12 years. Got it put in at Planned Parenthood for a $50 donation when I had two small ones and no insurance.”
Susie said, “…the Mirena IUD has taken away my period (which used to be super heavy), so no more pads/tampons!”
Helen has the, “Mirena coil fitted free on the NHS in the UK. Provides 5 years of birth control and I don’t have periods when on it so no costs there either. Had one for 12 years now and no additional cost to me for being female 😁”
Margaret shared, “IUD was magic for me while it lasted (I have a very weird body that expelled them two different times after about two years of successful use) but I would get another one today if I could. Insurance paid for everything but the $40 co-pay.”
Danielle said, “I got an IUD and don’t need to buy any menstrual products at all. My insurance didn’t pay for all of it so it costs $300 every 6 years.”
Sydney wrote, “My IUD was completely covered by insurance, lasts for 6 years, and has eliminated my periods except for a day of spotting a few times a year. No co-pays for birth control pills, no emptying my menstrual cup in shared bathrooms during work, no plastic waste, no incapacitating cramps. 👌”
Sylvia shared, “I had very very heavy periods all my life but toward my 40s it got worse. I only bought night time maxi pads sometimes used 2 at a time so I bought a big box at Costco. Last October I had a hysterectomy and had saved on the pain and suffering. Lesson is surgery may be best option for women like me. No more menstrual migraines and days spent in bed.”
Nancy wrote, “I had my fallopian tubes removed (they don’t usually tie them anymore – they remove them. It also reduces the risk of ovarian cancer) as birth control. My health insurance covered every penny because it was considered preventive care. It doesn’t mess with hormones (or menstrual cycle) at all, and it is the most successful non-abstinence birth control there is. It was an outpatient surgery and I felt fine afterward.”
Rose votes for, “Vasectomy. Third love bras. Expensive but last years esp if you hang to dry.
Emily wrote, “My husband got a vasectomy last week and it was a $50 copay :).”
The Last Word
I have to give the last word to Carolyn, who sagely advised, “Use whatever birth control is best for your body, but don’t worry about price as much as you think. The priciest birth control is still cheaper than raising a child birth to college!”
Carolyn said it best: Figure out what works for you and do what makes you comfortable and happy. I love the advice for reusable products that eliminate recurring expenses and also lessen the environmental impact of disposables.
Anytime you can get a two for one, I’m all in favor. It also hasn’t escaped my notice that this is not a standard personal finance topic. But it is a standard, repeated expense for many people. I hope this list is helpful and I hope you all will offer even more ideas in the comments section!
How do you save money on pink tax products?
Never Miss A Story
Sign up to get new Frugalwoods stories in your email inbox.
For disposable menstrual supplies, the cheapest generic store brand is still far better quality than the best brand name stuff when I was a kid in the 80’s. There is no reason to ever buy premium. The pads have wings, they no longer have bad adhesive that stubbornly clings to your panties and they no longer fall apart as you wear them.
Carolyn is spot on with the advice that all birth control is cheap compared to the cost of raising a child. And that doesn’t even take into account the far more critical issue of an UNWANTED child or the horrendous decision of what to do about an unwanted pregnancy. How do you measure the cost to your mental wellbeing of such a situation compared to the “cost” of prevention? There is no comparison and we are lucky to have access to so many options.
I just got a single bikini bottom from Rubylove for my 13 year old daughter who doesn’t want to use internal products but needs to stay active on her swim team. All told the cost was over $40 but sometimes frugality is about value rather than a specific number, and I can’t find any other reasonable solution to this problem. If it works, and if it covers her needs for the next year or so, it will be well worth the investment.
Anyone have any insight about saving money on disability insurance? When my husband and I were underwriting for life insurance after buying our first home, our premiums were fairly similar but when we were quoted for disability, I was shocked that my premiums were nearly double to his. Made me so angry that we declined coverage even though statistically we’re more likely to use disability than term life.
Disability insurers can have a long payout in front of them. Some underwriting facts:
Your health history, including your height/weight ration and occasionally, BMI (Body Mass Index)
Your occupation and it’s hazard level
Your income, as well as historical income
Hobbies and other potentially dangerous non-work activities
The elimination period (how long you wait before collecting). And as long as you pay the premium, is it guaranteed renewable (premium can change), can you increase the amount you collect with medical underwriting (premium can change), noncancelable (premium or amount you collect cannot change) can affect the premium amount. Own occupation is also key unlike social security disability. If you are a fork lift operator (example) and can no longer be one, the policy will pay.
How long you want to collect – five years, until age 65 – affects the rates.
If you are self-employed, disability can be tricky. You may be making X when you take out the policy, but read the policy carefully – if you had a slow year prior to being disabled, the amount you collect could be less than you need.
I have disability thru my employer – post tax so if I collect, not taxable income. Employer provided would be taxable. Replaces 70% of my income which would be sufficient for me until I turn 65. YMMV.
I love all of the ideas in this post. I have a Paraguard which I got from Planned Parenthood for free when I was in AmeriCorps and on food stamps. Now I try to send a small donation to that specific clinic each year. I am so grateful for their services and help, especially when I was living in a new place with a very limited income. I have a couple pairs of the Thinx underwear which I really like, especially for sleeping (pads don’t seem to be designed for when you are lying down for eight hours!). I recently got a Lena menstrual cup and like it, but have quite a bit of leaking. I’m sticking with it though and going to keep trying and maybe get a different type too.
Another vote for continuous Pill use. In my case, I had used the Pill for years as birth control but started skipping the placebo week to manage migraines. I save on menstrual products as well as migraine meds!
I use reusable menstrual products and even got my daughter some as well (she hasnt started yet but, she does she will have everything she needs so no running out to the drugstore at the last minute).
As for bras I will buy quality bras and just have a few and then when they die after getting to the last three or four hooks then it is time to get new ones. I will get my bras from Amazon usually.
For family planning I will almost be looking forward to menopause until then I have an app on my phone that is a period tracker and will tell you when you fertile days are . So far it has worked.
You missed hair removal. As you said, no judgment on whether you do or don’t, but pink razors cost more than blue! I know friends who have had success with laser, sort of permanent, removal. I use an epilator so I use energy to charge but it’s cheaper than wax and razors. A slightly less close result, but for me I think that’s partly because skin sensitivity affects how much I can exfoliate.
Yes! Epilators are wonderful tools! It was an initial outlay of 110 euros in a sale. But, I figure that despite charging it, I’m not using extra water, shaving gel, or razors, so a net gain for cost, plastic waste, and time is great. I can sit an watch a Netflix show with my glasses ON while using the epilator instead of being trapped in the shower squinting at my legs wondering how many spots I missed.
It was super painful at first, I grant you. I almost gave up, but I remembered how painful plucking my eyebrows was at first compared to absolutely nothing now. Glad I persevered!
Thank you for bringing up hair removal!!
On the subject of hair removal: shaving cream that is marketed to men is waaaay cheaper than that which is marketed to women. Works just as well for much less money.
I’ve never used shaving cream. I find that any lotion-like substance works just as well to smooth the razor over my skin. I’ll often use hair conditioner because I already have it with me in the shower.
I don’t use shaving cream any more. I have sensitive skin, but as long as I shave under the shower spray after being in there for a few minutes, there’s no irritation!
I just use my bar of moisturizing, sensitive skin soap. I buy in bulk on sale, and I’m washing my legs and shaving at the same time with the same product. I also use blue razors, stock up on sale. I use cheaper razors for my under arms and nicer razors for my legs. The nicer, costlier razors last longer that way, especially if you clean and dry them after use and store outside the humid bathroom.
Or use cream rinse for shaving cream. I save hotel bottles of that, as I don’t buy it for my hair.
I’m a cheap shampoo person anyway, and it works just fine
Allison is right. Several years ago we stopped buying “girl shaving cream” and guess what… saving money AND same results.
I had laser hair (groupon purchase) removal on my lower legs and underarms, and it was a game-changer. I still get a few strays that grow back, but they’re far enough between that even though I have pale legs and dark hair, you’d only see them if you were staring at my legs from very close by. I now shave about every two weeks in the summer with an electric razor.
Back when I was shaving regularly, I got amazing results using a $.99 bottle of suave conditioner–plus it smells good.
Razors! I have an old-school safety razor that is vintage and just lovely to look at. The blades are super cheap. You need to go slower and be more careful, but it makes shaving more of a process and ritual. I kick back in the tub and treat it as a small luxury to spend some extra time soaking in warm water and slowly shaving my gams. 🙂
I love, love, LOVE my IUD! I’m almost 2 years in and it’s magic. No worrying about babies and my periods have more or less stopped. I don’t miss dear old Aunt Flo at all!
I have a weird bra size, so I buy them from England when they’re a good price (or when the pound falls big time). I’m considering Third Love for the next batch though. The English bras can be a bit hit or miss.
What an excellent list. Thank you to everyone who contributed. It’s especially encouraging to see so many people using menstrual cups so successfully, and hopefully it inspires newbies to try them. I just want to point out that anyone with metal allergies or an inflammatory condition had better avoid IUDs. I have CRPS, in which any new injury or irritation can cause debilitating, irreversible symptoms, but my doctor leaned hard on me to get an IUD anyway, because I cannot keep any of the pill forms down. In the end I decided it was safer to have a tubal (in my area they do still tie them, not remove), which would be a one-time insult while my body was in super healing mode after birth, rather than an ongoing risk. It has worked well for me. Everyone has to do whatever works best for them, and fight to keep all options on the table for everyone, because even an option that doesn’t work for you may be the only fit for someone else.
I love how you phrased this and want to highlight it: “Everyone has to do whatever works best for them, and fight to keep all options on the table for everyone, because even an option that doesn’t work for you may be the only fit for someone else.” Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
Another great post by Mrs. Frugalwoods! Thank you.
A few thoughts from an older woman.
Razors- I buy a cheap men’s razor and just shave my arm pits. The razor lasts for years. I’m not sure why women shave their leg hair. Men don’t.
Also, I used a diaphragm for birth control. It is easy, cheap, effective and noninvasive.
Thanks again for all of these great ideas.
Haha and I’m the reverse! I shave my leg hair but not my armpit hair! Either way we save on razors!
Yes! I forgot to bring up shaving in my other comment. I am socialized to prefer the look of shaved legs, but just cannot be bothered to do it. My resentment at the time and money it takes outweighs my desire for smooth legs. A few friends were recently surprised to learn that I don’t shave, which just goes to show that it’s not as noticeable as you might think (and my hair is dark).
I used to make my own pads with flannel. They were super soft and I put a small piece of water proof material inside the last fold. A couple of stitches held them together nicely and they washed up fine. I still remember sitting down in a quiet moment to assemble a batch and admitting to myself that I enjoyed the task.
1. Vasectomy was surprisingly cheap as hell
2. I started making reusable pads as a “learn to sew” project and now I’m hooked on them.
3. Happily used a DivaCup for 10 years until birth injuries ruined that for me. There are so many more options now though!
I second #1 and #2…YAY for vasectomies (I figured it was the last my husband could do after I birthed our two children…and hormonal birth control gave me terrible anxiety, as it does many, many women) and reusable pads. I bought my reusable pads on Etsy and they are so soft and cute with different patterns. Best money I ever spent and I only wish I’d done it a lot sooner! No more tampons or disposable pads in landfills or oceans! (and I actually WANT to have periods and a cycle. It’s what my body is supposed to do)
An aside on vasectomies: my husband’s was dirt cheap, too ($300). We figured out pretty quickly it’s because insurance doesn’t cover them as an elective procedure…so everyone has to pay out of pocket, which keeps all costs down.
Please, please be aware that menstrual products apply to females, not women or women identifying people. Please correct the misnomer.
Yes, I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear in the post. Since there’s a lengthy section on bras, I wanted to be as inclusive as possible, which is why I mentioned women-identifying people. Please let me know if there’s a better, more inclusive term that I should use.
Yes! I was going to write more, which is that the term female applies to all information on people with female organs, but that the bra section could apply to both females and women of all phenotypes, since female breasts can be created with a bra. Thanks for correctly recognizing.
I get really picky on these terms, because they are misused so commonly. If we are talking OB/GYN, then lets talk about females, to be fair. Even with my driver’s license in MA, it lists me as “female” to the question on “gender.” I am really upset by this, not because it’s not true, but because it’s a nonsense question-answer set. Correctly, on my birth certificate it asks…”sex?” the correct question to the answer, “female.” It does not list me as a little “girl.”
These are important distinctions as sex-gender lines are getting increasingly blurred. I also don’t need extra pressure to be a “woman” before above all being a person, though I am a cis female. I would like other things to define me before getting to the “woman” part, and using correct terms is all part of this progress.
Thanks so much for bringing the pink tax more into awareness! I do really appreciate this post.
I really appreciate the nuance and that everyone here is being very inclusive and respectful. I just want to note, though, that under this definition, many trans men and some non-binary folks would be categorized as “females” which likely would not align with their identities and would be disrespectful. It is extremely difficult to navigate discussions about sex and gender perfectly, since identities are so very individual. One term that many people use is “assigned female at birth” or AFAB. This addresses the issue that there are many people who do not identify as women or female but who were identified as the female sex when they were born.
This really ISN’T a standard personal finance topic and it should be. Thanks for covering it!
One thing you didn’t mention for birth control: condoms! We always, ALWAYS keep a spare pack handy and sometimes used it as a primary method, sometimes as backup because mistakes will eventually happen for the majority of people, especially with the daily pill.or NFP.
But, be sure you and your partner know how to use them properly! Read the advice on the Planned Parenthood site: with perfect use, they are 98 percent effective. As others have mentioned, even though these are single-use and can be pricier, even the most expensive ones are much cheaper than having a kid!
For birth control methods, I didn’t see any technical family planning methods. I use a Daysy, which is a fancy-shmancy, highly sensitive thermometer that uses your body’s basal temperature to predict your fertility status (fertile, not fertile, or potentially-fertile-so-use-contraceptives-if-you-don’t-want-to-be-preggo). I know it sounds like hooey but I LOVE it. And it works- I’m still *not* pregnant! Birth control, particularly the second IUD I used, made my hair fall out and gave me acne that would never clear (both common side effects of birth control….that nobody ever tells you) so I wanted to move away from a hormonal option. I thought about the copper IUD but didn’t want to deal with anymore painful insertions or heavy periods. So I tried Daysy. Admittedly, at more than $300 upfront, it’s expensive. But it’s a one and done and can be paid for through a FSA. I’ll have it for the rest of my life, assuming I don’t break it, and I’ll only need to replace the batteries. Plus, if I ever want to get pregnant, the device tells me when I’m ovulating (because your temperature changes).
This is such a treasure trove of amazing ideas! I recently switched from disposable products to a menstrual cup and I’m never going back. For bras, I’ve started to purchase new ones from Poshmark (I sell my old ones there too!). It was a little strange at first but I got over it.
I use the Blossom cup with Thinx (the boy short style is the most comfortable thing ever) and I haven’t had to buy any menstrual products for over 5 years. Also, before I had any credit, Victoria’s Secret was the only company who would give me a credit card, so I bought a bunch of their bras to help build my credit, and I’m still wearing them all 8 years later! They are really well made. I bought some bra balls from Amazon (little mesh zipper thingys) and wash them in the washing machine with my other clothes, then hang dry. It works great and the bras are clean and protected. Spending money on a few good products will save you loads in the long run.
Your kids are adorable. Thanks for the information. I am past periods and child-bearing; appreciate the information on bras. I try to buy everything on sale or used; bras and underwear I get new.
Good supporting bras can be expensive, I buy Marks and Spencers’ Total Support which cost £18.
They last a lot longer if you don’t use fabric conditioner. I use homemade laundry liquid and vinegar in the final rinse. I don’t care that they don’t have chemical whiteners added in the wash, they are clean and comfortable.
When did the normal underwear colour change from “Knicker Pink,” ( yes, that was the correct name of the 1940’s colour,) to white?
I’ve never heard of this- “knicker-pink underwear”! I’ve been told that underpants for any gender used to be only white so they could be bleached as needed.
For bras, check out eBay. I wear a 36GG (European size)/36J (American size) and the nice ones can run $70-100+. I got fitted at a local lingerie shop, bought one of the less expensive bras from them, and bought the rest from eBay. Last year’s models (but who would know?), and much less expensive. Many of the eBay sellers are reputable online or brick & mortar stores getting rid of overstock, etc.
In my community (London, Ontario), City Council passed a motion this year to provide FREE menstrual products (tampons and pads) in the washrooms of all of the City’s public facilities – amazing for those who struggle to access affordable products. In our community’s case, buildings such as City Hall, recreation centres, and arenas are equipped with these much needed products. Hopefully this movement grows.
I’m in London, ON too! I had no idea this happened, that’s wonderful. Funny to learn about this on Frugalwoods:)
My advice to the the couples who are done having kids: vasectomies. Not necessarily super cheap (but our local University was doing them for free) but it saves money in the long run, women don’t have to worry about which birth control to use, and no extra hormones coursing through your body.
Once again, useful and intelligent information and discussion. Thanks Mrs. Frugalwoods for bringing up topics rarely covered by other bloggers.
Great list. Wanted to underscore the importance of hand washing and air drying bras to preserve shape and elastic.
Also re hair removal: I invested in laser hair removal a few years ago. The initial spend was pricey ($800/10 sessions) but now I just get a refresh once a year and enjoy zero hair year round.
A few thoughts on another pink tax product: razors. I got SO tired of spending over $20 a month on disposable razor cartridges that I switched over to a safety razor. I bought a good quality safety razor for about $20 on Amazon and I get boxes of replacement blades for $10 for 150! (which lasts me a year) It works so well that my husband made the switch too and we save so much money. 🙂
Yes, the safety razor is King (or queen!) Also got to say the Reddit sub abrathatfits is life-changing. Also love my mirena iud so far.
Those who are considering IUD may want to explore the risks. I became pregnant while using the Skyla 3 year IUD. It failed after 30 months, I didn’t know I became pregnant. The risk is higher for ectopic pregnancy if you are the 1 percent of women who become pregnant. My pregnancy was ectopic which resulted in an emergency room visit and me almost dying due to a ruptured fallopian tube. Bayer Pharmaceutical refused to take any ownership of the adverse event because they say that you assume this risk when you have the medical device inserted. Just a warning to those considering IUD. The risk of adverse effects is real and can be terrifying.
This is an excellent article. Although I am post-menopausal, I absolutely remember the days of worrying about the cost of contraceptives and menstrual supplies. I still struggle with the cost of bras, but I have found that the manufacturers’ websites offer savings not found in stores. When there is a sale or special offer, I generally buy two or more.
Since it seems many of your users might use both, has anyone had any issues with using a menstrual cup with an IUD? I’ve used a cup for years and wanted to switch from pills to an IUD and my OBGYN (who was admittedly not very familiar what menstrual cups..isn’t that crazy?!?) was concerned that the removal of the cup could inadvertently remove the IUD. Is that true? Are there different types of IUDs? Is this more of a problem for people with certain internal configurations? Do IUDs stop most periods so this is a non issue? Would love to get away from hormonal birth control and having to remember a daily pill!
I am not a medical pro so can’t say for sure, but it’s hard for me to imagine a menstrual cup having enough strength to actually pull out an iud. To take out a cup, you typically break the suction first if I remember correctly. Plus, the string for the IUD is located right outside the cervix which is typically much higher than you would be inserting the cup. I can’t even reach the string on my latest IUD. Removing an IUD, while not as painful as insertion, normally requires a dr’s expertise.
There are different types of IUD’s and I have only had the Mirena so can only speak to it as far as personal experience, but it does tend to stop periods in most women, usually within 6 months I think (it always takes longer for mine to completely stop, like closer to a year). I believe the copper IUD’s have been known to make periods heavier.
I used a diva cup with a mirena iud without issue. Like many of the other commenters, I stopped having periods after a few months with the mirena though so I can’t say I have a ton of experience using both at the same time.
Also, the Mirena and some other IUD’s do actually have a small dose of birth control hormones in them, so you wouldn’t be totally avoiding hormones if that’s what you want.
I have a Paraguard copper IUD (no hormones; pregnancy is prevented both by the shape of the IUD and the copper, which kills sperm) and I regularly use a Diva menstrual cup. I’ve never had an issue and I would also be surprised if you could accidentally pull out an IUD while removing the cup.
I love reusable period pads and making them by hand cuts the price down to almost nothing! Also for hair-removal, a stainless steel safety razor is a one-time, life-long purchase, and the refill blades cost pennies. My husband and I share a safety razor since his face likes a fresh blade and my legs couldn’t care less- it’s super economical.
I use a combo of a diva cup and cloth pads. When I take a shower in the morning, I take all of the used pads from the day before, and rinse them out really well. Then I just toss in with a normal load of laundry. Makes it so easy.
For shaving, I just cut down on frequency. I shave my legs twice a week in the summer, and maybe every other week in the winter. Saves time and money.
Big fan of my (nonhormonal) IUD. And I’ve saved money on bras 100% by being 2.5+ years into a total clothes buying ban 🙂
“Felt cute; might drop some pollen later” LMAO
Thank you, thank you for noticing 😉
Like others, I use an IUD (copper, body doesn’t like hormones) combined with a menstrual cup and thinx underwear. Besides the cost, it’s just convenient to not have to worry about whether I’m running low and need to buy more.
For razors, I use the Dorco razors that my husband bought in a bag for cheap. I use hair conditioner for shaving.
For bras, I get them from American Eagle Aerie during their black Friday/cyber Monday deals. I bought several last year for around $12.50 apiece and they’re the most comfortable bras I’ve used.
Anyone care to share their experience with non-hormonal IUDs? I’ve heard that you spend more on menstrual products because periods are heavier. Any thoughts would be great!
I have a Paraguard non-hormonal copper IUD. I think the mileage can vary on this one. My doctor cautioned that it could make my periods heavier, but I really haven’t noticed that. Maybe slightly heavier. I use a reusable Divacup so I don’t spend more on menstrual products. My sister-in-law did have very heavy bleeding when it was first inserted, but I think it leveled out.
I really dislike adding extra hormones and think it affects me adversely, so I would consider your personal reaction to hormones more than the bleeding issue, unless you tend to have really heavy periods already.
Thanks for including NFP / fertility awareness methods! They’re definitely compatible with frugality, and no one can take away the value of having learned more about your body! While you can definitely use the methods that involve taking your basal body temperature for free (or the sub-$10 cost of an oral thermometer), I did just invest in a TempDrop prior to the birth of our first child (due any day now 🙂 ). It’s a basal body armband thermometer that automatically syncs the data with the fertility tracking app I’m already using. It has an algorithm that can correct for midnight bathroom trips and nursing to make temping postpartum even easier. I’m excited to try it out, and I’m excited that advances are being made in fertility awareness technology!
I opted for a tubal and at that time, they “tied” them. I was done having kids, my spouse wanted to keep his options open in the event I died or we divorced. I sincerely hope doctors today are not like the butthead I had. Informed me he usually wanted the husband to be at the office visit. But that I “seemed pretty sure” of my decision based on my reason for a tubal. He had the gall to ask “what if one or all of your children were to die”. I said they aren’t like pets.
I work as an RN,C in a prenatal/women’s health clinic and we do have a checklist or pre-tubal ligations discussions. It includes this question: “if one or all of your children were to die, would you prefer the option of being able to give birth to an additional child or children?”. Of course children aren’t “pets”, but it does introduce a topic that many families have perhaps not considered and more than a few times the client has then changed her mind. And I personally know several families in which a child has died or been seriously ill and they did go on to have other children, feeling that the family was not complete. Of course we educate about all possible adverse outcomes of all family planning methods. Also, I love my pets and they, too, are irreplaceable, if you know what I mean…
I too love my pets – knowing there are always other pets needing a forever home helps me thru the grieving process.
But after telling him “I’d rather be dead than pregnant again”, I thought his dead children question was ridiculous. His comment and tone about having husband present was downright out of line and insulting- I am not a breeding vessel. I also told him my husband wanted to keep HIS options open.
There is also adoption or being a foster parent. Some women feel strongly about biological children and are not interested in adoption or being a foster parent. But it is always an option.
For everything you never knew you needed to know about bras, including fit checks and brand suggestions, there is https://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/
In the non-hormonal contraception catagory, I’d like to add the diaphragm! I’ve been using the Caya diaphragm for about a year now and so far so good. They’ve modernised them so they are easier to get in and out, more fitted to your anatomy and you generally don’t have to size up or down unless your weight changes really dramatically. I had an appointment to get fitted and show me how to use it, and it was surprisingly easy to get used to. I just wasn’t up for the pain of an IUD insertion and I don’t like the feel of condoms.
Thank you for sharing this.
Menstruation/ contraception: I used the Paragard IUD (non-hormonal), along with 3 pairs of Thinx underwear and a cup, and I loved my system. The inital costs were a little “expensive,” but the savings on not buying a ton of feminine hygeine articles every month definitely made it worth it. Plus the environmental aspect aligned nicely with my values. The other thing is that you don’t have to use just one method. I always kept a box or two of disposable pads/tampons for the days that I didn’t feel like wearing my cup, or for sleeping if my flow was very heavy. But buying 1-2 boxes every 1-2 months…. so much better! A note to cup users that I wish I had known: 1.) IUD and cup is possible (but the manufacturers don’t recommend it. My OB/GYN gave me the green light.). You just have to be extra careful to break the suction first before removing. 2.) Sun dry the cup. Mine started to have a distinct odor and I tried EVERYTHING to clean it and get the odor out. After much research and googling, I tried leaving it in the sun for a couple of hours and BAM it was clean and literally smelled like new. I couldn’t believe it!
Shaving: I just stopped shaving except for special occasions. I used one pack of razor heads for an entire year with a reusable razor. It was AWESOME!
Maternity: Unfortunately, none of my friends that have babies were even close to my size when it came to maternity clothes, so hand-me-downs weren’t an option (a couple friends tried to donate, but I had to return everything because they didn’t fit). I originally tried to buy pieces at Goodwill, and just get a size or two bigger, but I had to keep going back basically every month to buy more pieces- and the pieces I got were ill-fitting anyway, cluttering my closet, and I was spending a lot more money than I wanted to. So I finally broke down and bought real maternity clothes from a couple of stores. Not a ton of items, but a handful of maternity pants and dresses, and that was game-changing. Now my closet is a lot more streamlined, I know I can fit into every piece, and it was worth it to spend more money up front on clothes that will last the rest of my pregnancy than to keep trying to cobble things together that don’t make me feel good. For maternity shirts, I found an awesome sale of shirts that were loose, baggy, comfy, and stylish at a name brand store, for $5-$10 a shirt (clearance items out of season). I bought a handful and they have worked perfectly. And my last trick was Facebook Marketplace. People are selling maternity clothes all the time, but they go fast, so if you see some in your size that you need, buy them as soon as possible. I bought a box (with like 12 items) in my size for $40. It was the best $40 I’ve ever spent.
Bras: I am a very busty lady, so there is no such thing as a cheap bra for me. Each of my maternity bras were $70, and normal bras run around $50. But I think of a good bra at this point as a medical device. An ill-fitting one can lead to back problems, and a well-fitting one can make you look good and feel good and change your posture and appearance. So I invest in a small handful (like 5 bras total) and treat them very gently and take as good care of them as possible, so that they last a long time. I buy one new bra every year or every other year and cycle through them. It’s definitely not the cheapest, but again, it’s about the worth and the value.
My dr advised me that about 30% of women using a Mirena stop having periods – while Mirena is an IUD it does also slowly release a hormone too, 30% continue to have regular periods and 30% have either continual spotting and/ or heavier periods (and these unlucky people often get it removed). So while I love my Mirena, it’s definitely not for everyone.
I believe educating yourself on your body – particularly your periods, can help each lovely woman decide what is best for them (alongside medical advice where needed). Personally I found the book Period Repair Manual, Second Edition: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods a helpful resource.
I second the quality over cost on bras. I bought 3 Third Love bras & I love them. For the first time, I have bras that fit me. I have scars from years of underwire rubbing me so I’m thrilled to have a bra I barely notice when I have it on. Ironically, I recently retired & I only wear a bra when I leave the house. My dog gets very excited when she sees a bra come out because a walk or car ride is in the near future! 😂
Katherine, I love this so much!!! So funny! 🙂 I am also a huge fan of Third Love.
Love this post! Agree these issues are regularly overlooked/dismissed.
I urge everyone to read, “The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women: Exploding the Estrogen Myth” by Barbara Seaman. Those who are taking birth control pills in particular.
I would also urge everyone to become involved in the patient safety movement. The Patient Safety America newsletter by John James is an excellent start! Good luck to everyone!
Another tip that might only work with close friends or family–my mom and aunt gave me their leftover stashes of pads and tampons when they were sure they were finished menstruating. I usually use a Diva Cup but it’s nice to have these as backup and to carry around in case I’m caught unawares or to give to someone who happens to need one while I’m out and about.
Along those lines, I used disposable heavy duty pads for postpartum, as you can bleed heavily for several weeks after giving birth (I also made soothing padsicles with them which were clutch). If you have some leftover or have friends who gave birth and no longer need such heavy duty ones, asking around is another option.
Just bought the ovulation test strips. Thanks so much for posting about this. We’ve been trying for about 8 months with no success. I haven’t opened up to anyone about the fact that we’ve been trying, so I haven’t been able to get any advice from my female friends. Really appreciate you being open about it and giving that tip.
I used the strips too, but I would also highly recommend Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler–I think that was more helpful and if there is something that needs to be checked out, it can help you pinpoint potential issues more accurately so you have information to bring to your doctor and aren’t hit with a barrage of tests.
I LOVE my Thinx! I agree that at first the elastic tops were not the best quality but they have improved those a lot. And as a panty liner, they have always worked so well for me. My period is on the lighter side and for 3-4 days of my period I can use Thinx and nothing else at all. I have a Diva Cup too for my heaviest days and I love the convenience of it but I don’t use it every period because it isn’t the most comfortable. This website actually has a quiz to find the best fitting menstrual cup and I’m thinking about switching to one that fits better! https://putacupinit.com/quiz/
Was that an “All Your Base are Belong to Us” reference!?! I see what you did there!
YES. Thank you for noticing!!!!!
Good old Zero Wing… one of my favorite memes.
Thanks for this post! It’s making me rethink menstrual cups, which I tried years ago but couldn’t get to work for me. I never realized there were so many available and I could have tried another brand. Also, nice reference to all your base are belong to us :D.
Jealous of the women who have IUDs & no periods. Pre-kid my cycle was light & predictably irregular. Had one (and only) kid 4 years ago thanks to $5 Clomid & a $250 ultrasound. Post-kid I got the Skyla IUD & spouse & I decided that we were one & done so got the Kyleena 5 year IUD when Skyla was removed. Periods post kid/with IUD have been regular like clockwork & awful in terms of cramps. I tried a menstrual cup but found that reusable pads & Aldi brand pantiliners have served me well.
You’re photo captions 😆 lol. I once worked for a catholic university, whom for religious reasons didn’t cover oral contraceptives on their insurance. I have both PCOS and severe endometriosis and needed the hormones to help manage my conditions, along with other medications. I had to pay out of pocket for these prescriptions. Clearly I’m still mad about it.
I would also like to mention tranexamic acid (Lysteda). I’ve had some issues with heavy periods and it’s been incredibly helpful. It’s not a hormonal contraceptive, your period doesn’t stop, you simply bleed a LOT less. I find I am able to do so much more, have more energy, etc. without having to feel constantly tethered to a restroom! It also costs about $12/ month, which I am more than happy to pay for a week’s worth of relative freedom (and not having to buy huge quantities of pads and tampons saves me money)!
I love this! I’ve finally bit the bullet and ordered menstrual cups. I also bookmarked the birth control delivery for when my prescription runs out. Big thanks to my frugal sisters!!
I love the menstrual cup, got my first around 12 years ago when they were not very common (at least here in Sweden) and it was kind of a crunchy thing to do and I needed to explain what it was all the time. My current cup is a Lunette and when I need a new one I think it will be another one of those for me since it works very well for me. Before I gave birth I used another cup and I briefly tried another one after my second birth but I went back with the Lunette eventually. All together these three cups cost way less than disposable products. I have also used homemade pads for a while and I liked them but compared to the cup they are nothing! If you don’t like internal products they are a great alternative and not hard to make yourself if you want to. You can make them with second hand materials if you like and then they cost next to nothing.
We use condoms as birth control, not for money reasons, it is just what we are comfortable with and it is a good protection if you actually use them correctly. I keep track of my ovulation so that I have an idea of when it is in case we would have an “accident” but that hasn’t happened yet. I have considered getting my tubes tied but have not gotten around to doing it. I do feel “done” with kids so it makes sense but I am lazy I guess. I have considered an IUD too but again I am lazy but that is also an option. I want the copper one in that case, I seriously don’t want to mess with my hormones any more than my body does on its own so not even the hormonal IUD is interesting to me.
I shave my armpits perhaps 1-2 a year because I don’t really give a f*ck what people think about it and I never shave my legs so a pack of disposable razors last a couple of years so I don’t really think about this cost but if I did do that more often I would try safety razors. My husband uses them and loves them.
As to pregnancy and child birth, in my country all the health care related stuff is covered by taxes so I don’t have to think about that but for maternity clothes I actually used a lot of my regular clothes. I wear loose-fitting clothes anyway so I could use at least 50% of my regular clothes. I bought a couple of maternity leggings and pants though and I didn’t really think that much about finances when I bought them but knowing what friends spent I know I spent less than them.
I loved seeing NFP/fertility awareness discussed here as an option. I found it really empowering to understand what my body is doing and have used it effectively to avoid pregnancy and to conceive. The key for us has been the technology that makes NFP way more objective (I prefer using the Marquette method of hormonal monitoring with temping as a backup confirmation). Here are some tech tools that I love:
Marquette method (using fertility monitor): https://nfp.marquette.edu/
Natural Cycles app: https://www.naturalcycles.com/
Tempdrop (haven’t used yet but plan to use after my current pregnancy): https://www.temp-drop.com/
These tools all come with some significant start up cost, but they last for years, alleviate anxiety that comes with subjective fertility signs, and allow a woman to navigate irregular cycles and postpartum times. My advice is that if NFP is something you want to do, learn about the tech that can make it effective and sustainable. A few well placed technology investments can last years and pay for themselves many times over!
I LOVE this post. Thank you! I also loved my mirena. I think I wrote some songs about it. It was so beautiful and fantastic. I named it Vlad.
I wear 48DDD bras, so I buy Playtex 18 hour bras whenever the JustMySize.com website has a sale. They’re usually $15.99 for the size I wear. As for birth control, I had some real issues with menstrual periods when I was younger, so I took pills. Then I got a blood clot in my leg when I was 48, so we switched to over-the-counter methods. Now it’s not an issue because I had to have a vaginal hysterectomy with removal of tubes and ovaries when I was found to have cancer of the uterine lining in 2014. Because I caught it very early it was stage 1A so I didn’t have to have any further treatment. We married later in life and decided we didn’t want to start a family at that point (I was almost 40) so were extremely careful about birth control.
Word of warning, ladies: If you’re taking birth-control pills and you develop some kind of infection and have to take antibiotics, make sure to use an alternate form of birth control for the duration of the time you’re taking the antibiotics and some time afterward, as certain antibiotics, especially those routinely prescribed for urinary tract infections, can cause birth control pills to not work. While it didn’t happen to me, it happened to my mother and to two co-workers.
As an attempt to reduce my plastic use and from a frugal standpoint, I have switched to shampoo and conditioner bars! Each bar (around $12-18 off Amazon) lasts roughly 6 months for the shampoo bars and over 12 months for the conditioner bars for me which I find to be a big money and waste saver!
Save money on bras by not wearing them. This is what I do except at work. I hate that I have to wear a bra at work. Men don’t have to wear a cup and jock strap
I have actually increased the budget to manage my monthly periods but it’s worth the results.
To reduce waste due to sanitary pads, I switched to cloth pads. Cloth pads are supposed to last for 3 years atleast and this is my second year. I bough my pads from Aliexpress and they seem good. The only hassle is washing it twice and getting it dry.
Other than these I am also using biodegradable sanitary pads. In India, these are far more more expensive than regular pads. So, I use cloth pads as much as possible and use the biodegradable ones only when really required. That is mostly while travelling.
I was a non vegetarian earlier. After, I turned vegetarian and then vegan my cramps started reducing and are now very minimal. So, this is worth the effort taken to go vegan too. Being an Indian going vegan is affordable option.
My PMS symptoms also have reduced.
So, I am happy with the results although the cost has increased.
I’m menopausal now, but I switched to reusable cloth pads a long, long time ago. Now that I have no more periods, I’m going to use them in place of incontinence products. Why not? I spent a lot of money on them, but my vendor always sent me freebies. I have a huge bag of them.
Bras. Since I don’t work outside of the home, I rarely wear them. I buy cheap sports bras (I’m larger than average but a standard size,) and they last me YEARS. I think I own four.
Birth control. I always used condoms when I was younger. When I turned 30, I had my left ovary removed due to a cyst. That started peri-menopause for me. My fiance had a vasectomy as soon as he could after we got together, once he was on my insurance. Both surgeries were covered by my insurance. I think he paid a $10 copay. I don’t remember what mine was for the oovectomy, but it was under $100.