Healthier Periods On A Budget
From tampons and pads, to painkillers and potentially even taking days off work, periods can quickly become costly, especially if you suffer from conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, or particularly bad PMS. For many women, there is a constant battle between choosing period products that are good for our bodies and the environment, and choosing period products within our financial budget.
In the UK, our period products cost us around £70 a year (that’s £2,730 throughout our lives!), but it’s not just tampons and towels we need to consider. A 2015 survey found that the average lifetime spend on periods is a whopping £18,000, which includes unexpected expenses such as painkillers, new underwear, toiletries and even nice-to-haves like chocolate and period entertainment.
We believe you shouldn’t need to choose between healthy and affordable. Healthy, sustainable products should be available to all. So, here are 3 of the best ways we’ve found to have a healthy period while sticking to your budget.
Use a free period-tracking app to budget in advance
How many times have you been caught off guard by your period, and had to shell out for vending machine tampons or petrol station prices? Probably too many! There are tons of fancy period-tracking gadgets around these days, but if you’re on a budget, there are plenty of free apps out there that can potentially help. By tracking your period, you can be warned in advance when your period is due, giving you plenty of time to source the best and cheapest products without the last-minute rush. Similarly, it could also afford you the time to find the best deals on painkillers, and avoid having to replace underwear that’s been, um, compromised.
Sign up to an organic subscription service
If you don’t like reusables and can’t get on with a menstrual cup, organic period care products are a great alternative: designed with your body and the planet in mind, so you don’t need to worry about added toxins, synthetics and other nasties.
Unlike many high-street brands, organic period care is made with 100% certified organic cotton, grown without harmful pesticides. They’re naturally absorbent, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and don’t contain any dioxins, chlorine traces or phthalates. This is better for sensitive skin as well as the planet, which means less worrying about itches – and not having to spend more of your hard-earned dosh on creams or other remedies for secondary problems which those harsh mainstream brands can cause down there.
Subscription services can actually save you money – most will offer free recurring deliveries so you’ll never be caught out. Look for letterbox friendly brands that land on your doormat as often as you need them so you’re never caught out without what you need and have to rush to pay extortionate prices at the local corner shop – especially during lockdown when you really don’t want to be going out at all!
Subscriptions also recognise that the majority of women need a range of products and absorbency levels each month, which is why most will offer a range of options you can pick and choose from. This also means you can pay only for what you will use each month, rather than ending up with a surplus, plus they generally have nice online portals to let you pause or skip deliveries so you don’t pay for more than you need. Easy.
…but watch out for packaging!
An alarmingly large number of period care by post brands will load their deliveries to you up with fancy boxes and packaging which inflates their costs (and kind of betrays the whole “friendlier for the planet” thing too, if they call themselves organic). These are the ones that will make you do a double-take at the cost of their boxes; you’re paying for a load of pointless dressing that is only going to end up in the bin anyway! Plus it means more for your postman to carry and likely won’t fit through your letterbox anyway so it’s back to the old game of figuring out where your parcel was left – what a drag.
However the good news is that there are “organic period posties” out there who have thought properly about their packaging approach and gone for a fuss-free, letterbox friendly option rather than getting overexcited about loading everything up with glossy leaflets and other nonsense. This keeps their costs down, so as well as being genuinely friendlier for the planet they can also pass the savings on.
“Having simple packaging built to fit through a normal letterbox was a big driver when setting up our service. If you’re just inflating costs and delivery complications with wrappers, you’re not really helping women or the planet.” Daniella Peri, founder of Yoppie, is a big believer in keeping waste to a minimum. “In fact after your first order with us we send all subsequent deliveries in our low-waste refill boxes, meaning even more minimalistic packaging. That lets us pass savings onto customers and be more environmentally friendly. There’s no point in having a super-green product if you then package it up with a bunch of landfill.”
Making your healthy period budget choice
There are plenty of ways to have a healthier and more planet-friendly period without breaking the bank. Reusable pads and menstrual cups are a worthwhile investment if they suit you, but if you (and your sensitive body parts) still prefer tampons and liners then subscribing to packaging-light organic period care can be a great winner. Saves the pennies (and pounds) up for more things to help survive that PMS, too…!
This is a collaborative post