Saving money on your monthlies - and other useful stuff!
Many women choose reusable sanitary products for health or environmental reasons, but we thought the cost comparison would be an interesting exercise - it's always good to know that our environmental choices are actually saving us cash! And it's not just your monthlies, you can save money in other areas too AND go greener.
Sanitary Protection / Feminine Hygiene Products
Most women spend between £2 and £5 every month on sanitary protection. It all adds up, but I'm willing to bet that because you can buy your sanitary towels and tampons in the supermarket, you just pop them in the trolley without even looking at the price most of the time. It's a bit irritating to discover that you also pay 5% VAT on feminine hygiene products - so the government gets paid every time you have a period! How unfair is that?
So, how can you save money? Reusable menstrual productsare available in three main forms: menstrual sponges, menstrual cups, and washable sanitary towels or pads.
- Menstrual Sponges cost around £8, and last around a year. So the cost of a years menstrual protection is £8.
- Menstrual cups cost around £15 - £20 and last for around ten years. This works out on average at less than 20p per period, assuming you have 12 a year.
- Reusable sanitary towels cost around £5-£7 per pad and should last you for 5-7 years. Most women find they need to buy about 6-8 reusable sanitary pads.
It's not an exact science, you may want to have a look at the prices you're paying every month for sanitary protection products, including your panty liners, and work out a more accurate figure for you, but the savings are clear to see.
A cost comparison over five years (60 periods) of using each option:
- Menstrual Cups £9 (around 15p per month)
- Reusable Sanitary Towels or Pads £30 - £56 (50p to 93p per month)
- Menstrual Sea Sponges £40 (66p per month)
- Disposable Sanitary Towels/Tampons/Pantyliners £120 - £300 (£3 to £5 per month)
Of course you may opt to use more than one type of product, for example many women use reusable panty liners in addition to a menstrual sponge or menstrual cup, for security. You can see that changing to more eco-friendly - and arguably girl friendly - sanitary products (also known as eco sanpro) will save you money - and that can't be a bad thing!
Deodorants are another product that we tend to pick up at the supermarket without thinking about it, costing around £2 a time every 3 weeks or so, costing you around £35 a year. In contrast you can switch to highly effective crystal deodorants, with a cost of between £3.50 - £9.00, which will last for at least a year and save you £30 or more! Next time you go shopping, have a look at the cost of your deodorant. Isn't it time to get Earthwise and save some cash?
Our cost comparison, over 12 months:
- Faith in Nature Crystal Deodorant £3.30
- Tawas Crystal Deodorant from £4.95
- Disposable Deodorant Spray £35.00
We stock crystal deodorants by Tawas Crystal - purified potassium alum, and Faith in Nature - ammonium alum. Both work in a very simple way, simply apply to wet skin after using the shower or bath, and a microscopic layer is left on the surface of the skin to neutralise bacteria which cause odour. Crystal deodorants are great for people with allergies, being free from preservatives, emulsifiers, oils and fragrances that can cause sensitivities. They are also free from aluminium chlorohydrate (linked to breast cancer and alzheimers) and free from parabens (linked to breast cancer). If you prefer a scent, try the Weleda spray deodorants!
I won't get on my soap box (pun totally intended!) but here are the financial facts of laundry - you can buy the big brands, supermarket own brand, or even a green brand like Ecover, and you will spend money on that every single month. Switch to Ecoballs or Soapnuts, and the savings will surprise you:
- Conventional laundry powder/liquid - approx 20p per wash
- Soapnuts - 3p per wash
- Ecoballs - 3p per wash
So, how many washes are you doing a week? Multiply by 52 to get the annual figure, then work out how much you could save. For my family (2 adults and 4 children) we reckon the saving is around £88 per year. Plus we generate a lot less waste by not purchasing the conventional laundry products, and we don't have to lug them home from the shops either!
Soapnuts are actually nut shells, grown in India. They contain saponin, a natural soap. You put a few shells in a small bag in the wash with the clothes, and they will get everything clean and soft. In hard water areas you may like to add a little softener if you're used to using it, but if you're in a soft water area you won't need it at all. When the soapnut shells are exhausted, just throw on the compost and put some more in the bag.
Ecoballs are a bit more technical, they look like little flying saucers, and contain clever pellets that will clean the washing very effectively. Replacement pellets are also sold so you can keep going with the same outer balls for years.
As neither product contains "optical brighteners" or harsh cleaning ingredients, you will notice that coloureds keep their colour longer. Stains should be pre-treated with a suitable stain remover (we stock the Ecover one).