How much money could you save by switching to a menstrual cup?


You only need to replace them every few years (Picture: Getty/Shutterstock)

Today it was announced that schools across England and Wales will start offering free menstrual products to pupils, in a move designed to work towards ending period poverty.

It’s a step in the right direction for sure, and we’re seeing so many inventions coming from the women’s health sector at the moment that are also making big changes.

One of these is menstrual cups, which although not technically new, have been popularised massively in recent years.

These cups can replace pads or tampons, and because they’re reusable can save us a whole lot of money on single use items.

But just how much can you really save?

How much money could you save by switching to a menstrual cup?

According to the Women’s Environmental Network, the average woman is thought to use more than 11,000 disposable menstrual products in a lifetime.

This is likely a somewhat conservative estimate, given that some people will have periods that last much longer, or have a heavier flow and therefore need to use more products.

For example, if you change your pad or tampon every six hours, have regular monthly periods that last seven days at a time, and get your period from age 12 to age 42, you will use 13,440.

Basically, these numbers will always vary, but here are some calculations based on WEN’s 11,000 figure.

If we calculate using tampons on the cheaper end of the scale (Tesco’s Free Spirit non-applicator 24-pack which come in at 4p per item), you’re looking at £440 over the course of your life.

More expensive ones (in this instance Always Pearl 18-pack which come in at 16p per item), you’re spending around £1,760 on 11,000 products.

You get roughly 12 hours of leak free protection with a menstrual cup (Picture: Getty)

Pads can be more expensive, too. If you add panty-liners to your shopping basket you’re looking at another £400 or more on top of your tampon spend.

Or, if you solely use pads, expect to spend roughly £2,090 on 11,000 of them (based on Always Platinum with wings 10-pack from Tesco).

All of this is before you factor in the cost of tampons or pads you hadn’t planned on buying – for example from a machine – or costs incurred by people who aren’t able to get to a major supermarket and therefore may pay more.

Not everyone can use menstrual cups, but they’re an option for people who are able to and want to save money in the long run. They also have the added benefit of reducing plastic waste.

It’s recommended that you replace your menstrual cup every two years or so, although many people claim they can last longer as long as they’re sterilised correctly.

But, if we assume you’ll have periods for roughly 40 years, that means you shouldn’t need more than 20 menstrual cups over your lifetime.

A Hey Girls cup is available from £8.95 in a number of supermarkets (and for every box you buy the company also give a box away) although there are various different ones that cost more or less depending on what you’re looking for.

This would mean that you’re spending roughly £179 in a lifetime, compared to the bare minimum of £440 on cut-price tampons. That’s a £261 saving at the very least or £1891 on 11,000 Always pads.

If you have longer or heavier periods, get periods earlier or later, or do totally normal things like sometimes have to buy extras or more expensive sanitary items, the figure will grow.

Menstrual cups can be a daunting prospect, but thankfully there are plenty of guides out there that help you work out how to get to grips with them.

They’ve also been proven to be just as leak-proof as tampons, and have no increased risk of infections.

If they are something you’re able to use, then it’s a win-win situation for your bank balance, health, and the planet.

Don’t worry if not, though, as there are tons of other reusable or eco-friendly items out there that can save you money in the long run. Check out our list here to see what’s right for you.

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