Menstrual products are so important for all women and girls to have, but what do you do when you can’t afford pads or tampons? These tips may help.
Ya know, having a period each month can get rather old pretty quickly. Not only can they be painful, but honestly they can be rather expensive. I mean the alternative – if you’re of child bearing age – is much more expensive, but that is neither here nor there.
In a perfect world, menstrual products would be cheap and available for everyone who needed them, but in case you haven’t noticed; we don’t live in a perfect world.
That’s why the possibility of running out of menstrual products and finding yourself in a situation where you can’t afford more is a real possibility. It’s a sad possibility, but a possibility none the less.
When You Can’t Afford to Buy Pads
Being in that situation – the one where you can’t afford to buy pads – can be both humiliating and depressing. To be 100% honest, the only thing I can think of that would embarrass and depress me more would be if I had a little one and was unable to afford diapers.
It can be very easy to blame yourself in a situation like this. After all, if your personal budget has gotten so far out of hand that you can’t afford a few dollars, you must be in the wrong financially, right?
Not necessarily. Actually for the time being, I would say there’s a good chance that you’re not doing much wrong unless you’re simply spending money you don’t have. With prices rising as much as they are and inflation running rampant in the US, what used to be a $5.00 purchase has now almost doubled in price.
The good news in this though is that there are things you can do when you can’t afford to buy pads that will help you get what you need.
When You Can’t Afford to Buy Tampons
While there is no one size fits all approach to this particular problem, there are things you can do to help yourself. The tips below are written specifically for when you can’t afford menstrual products.
Some may be more than what you’re willing to do and if so, that is perfectly okay. Choose the ones you can handle and simply leave the rest.
Earn Quick Cash
Because pads and tampons are still not horribly expensive, you can probably earn quick extra cash to help pay for them. Whether that means selling something you no longer need or want or doing online tasks to earn money, it should not be too difficult for you to do.
When I need to earn extra money fast, I turn to InstaGC and Swagbucks. Both sites will pay you to complete offers, take surveys, play games, watch videos and more. InstaGC pays instantly after the first time you’re paid – the first time is 24 hours-ish – and Swagbucks takes 7-10 days.
In either case, they’re great for padding your budget just a little bit to help you afford what you can’t.
Prepare Ahead of Time
The one good thing about periods is that for most women, they’re predictable. This means if you know yours is coming and you know you won’t be able to afford supplies, you can prepare ahead of time. The time to earn extra money or to use some of the other tips on this list is now; before you start.
If you haven’t had this issue yet, now is the perfect time to build a stockpile of the products you’ll need. Doing so will keep you from running out when you can’t afford to buy them.
Call Your Bestie
We’ve all got that one person in our life that we can call for anything. Not being able to afford pads or tampons is one of those acceptable cases. Whether you call to have them bring you what you need or simply to borrow a few bucks to buy them is up to you.
Family also falls into this area as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help here if you need it.
Make Your Own Pads
Have you ever heard of reusable cloth pads? There are a lot of reasons you should switch to reusable menstrual products, but for the sake of this post, cost is the most important. Instead of buying them over and over again as you must do with disposables, you pay for them one time and you’re good.
If you can’t afford to buy cloth pads, consider making DIY cloth pads yourself. I have a free cloth pad sewing pattern HERE that will get you started. They’re not difficult to make at all and will be great for when you can’t afford to buy them.
Use a Menstrual Cup
Menstrual cups are not for everyone. Truth is that not everyone can get over being grossed out by the thought or act of emptying a silicone cup of blood into the toilet everyday.
But for those who can do it, buying a menstrual cup and using it can help completely remove the issue of even needing to buy pads or tampons. Like cloth pads, they are a purchase once item so while they may cost more up front, it will pay for itself within the first year.
If you’re new to using a cup, be sure to get the right size. Most are sized as before childbirth and after. The wrong one will hurt to wear and no one wants that.
As a side note; period cups are a great option for off-grid menstrual items since they create zero waste and only need to be rinsed with a gentle soap and water.
It’s not ideal by any means, but there is absolutely nothing anywhere that says you absolutely must use a pad or tampon.
In fact, you don’t actually have to use anything. Free bleeding as it’s known is just that; not using pads, tampons, cups or any other “normal” period device and allowing your period to flow naturally.
Some women like to use period panties like THESE to protect their clothes and others simply let it go and use towels to protect furniture combined with frequent showering.
While this my seem gross to some, there are some benefits to free bleeding that you might find appealing.
If you can’t afford feminine products, but happen to have diapers handy, they will work as a period product in a pinch. Simply unfold the diaper like normal and place in position. I wouldn’t recommend you go running while wearing one, but it will keep you from making a mess if that is a concern for you.
Check Local Pantries
Food pantries often deal in more than food. In some cases, they will also keep a small supply of diapers and feminine products on hand.
If you’ve run out, call your local pantries and ask. The most they can do is tell you they don’t have any and the best you’ll get is a quick fix to your situation.
Use Toilet Paper
Every single woman who has ever had a period all remembers that one time at school when she started unexpectedly and used toilet paper in a pinch.
It worked then and it will work when you can’t afford them.
Granted, it is not the best option, but it will keep your clothes clean if you’re truly in a bind without the products you need.
Finally, like cloth pads, rags can be a reusable option for when you run out of menstrual products and can’t afford to buy more. They won’t stay in place as well as a reusable pad would, but they will catch what you need them to.
Fold the rag lengthwise twice for the best results here. If it is not folded well enough, you may find that you’re leaking through. I would recommend you go to the bathroom often to check that it is still in place and that you don’t need to change the rag.
How to Clean Cloth Pads and Rags Used as Menstrual Products
If you’re using cloth pads or rags, you’ll need to keep them as clean as possible for next time. The simplest way to do this is by keeping a bucket of water in your bathroom. Rinse them in the sink as best you can and soak in the water.
If you’re worried about stains, you can use a little Borax in the water to help prevent them.