Apr 21, 2024

Martin Lewis' MSE explains how women can save £3,662 on lifetime period products

MoneySavingExpert has revealed all of the places you can get cheap sanitary care - as supermarkets protest a 20 per cent VAT on period pants.

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It is reported that the average woman can spend up to £3,990 in their life time by buying branded sanitary products, but Martin Lewis' MoneySavingExpert has revealed that by switching to a far-cheaper alternative, this can be knocked down to just £328. For context, that's a massive £3,662 saving in the grand scheme of things, for switching out a label.

The NHS suggests that a woman will have somewhere in the region of 480 periods between the age of 12 and 52 should they never become pregnant. The Enviromenstrual fact sheet from 2021 meanwhile, detailed how women use 25 or more menstrual pads each month.

Combining these two figures together means that women will use around 10,560 sanitary pads or tampons throughout the course of their lifetime - and when you collate the cost of the higher-priced, premium brand products, a substantial fee will start to accumulate.

Read more: John Lewis and Waitrose join Tesco and M&S in slashing prices of period pants

Martin Lewis' MSE has actually crunched the numbers with regards to this, and found the rough average expenditure below - dependent on the types of sanitary products women use.

Lili-lets organic normal sanitary pads (10-pack) -

Price: £3.80 (Ocado)

Cost per item: 38p

Average lifetime cost: £3,990

Tampax organic cotton (16-pack) -

Price: £3.80 (Waitrose)

Cost per item: 26p

Average lifetime cost: £2,756

Asda regular applicator tampons (20-pack) -

Price: £1 (Asda)

Cost per item: 5p

Average lifetime cost: £525

Tesco regular Ultra towels (16-pack) -

Price: 50p

Cost per item: 3p

Average lifetime cost: £328

So by making the switch to a supermarket's far cheaper sanitary product, you could save a small fortune over the course of your lifetime. MSE also detailed some other handy ways in which women can save money when it comes to period products.

On their website, MSE, said: "Many MoneySavers report finding little difference between branded tampons and towels (eg, Always, Bodyform, Tampax) and supermarket own-brands. So don't just go with the flow (sorry) – you can save a fair whack if you shift down a brand."

They added: "Find out which store sells the cheapest sanitary products with a shopping comparison tool – there's even one just for sanitary products. Specialist sanitary product comparison site and app Sanitary Saver (developed by ex-MSE team member Adam) breaks down the cost of tampons and pads from Asda, Boots, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Superdrug, Tesco and Waitrose.

"It lists every sanitary product sold by these shops, and you can sort them in order of total cost, or cost per tampon or pad. So you can see if you can save by switching product AND the store you buy it from."

MSE, said: "Big brands often give out free samples, usually when they have a new product they want to promote. Snap them up when they're available, and use them to supplement your stock of sanitary products. For example, Bodyform once offered 200,000 free samples of its pads, as well as two 50p off coupons.

"We'll list these freebies when we spot 'em on our Supermarket Coupons page, alongside other coupons available for sanitary products and personal hygiene. Although it's generally cheaper to go unbranded, coupons can be a good way to save if you're keen to stick to a particular brand."

MSE, explained: "There are a number of free smartphone apps to help you track your cycle, and predict when your next period is due. This can help you plan ahead and save, by ensuring you have your preferred sanitary products ready in the cupboard, rather than having to rush out and buy at a higher price from the nearest shop."

The advice comes after a number of supermarkets teamed up to slash the price of period pants, with the Government failing to make these exempt from the 20 per cent tax bestowed on all garments. A 5 per cent tax was of course abolished for tampons and sanitary towels back in 2021, but now supermarkets are calling on Victoria Atkins - the UK's Financial Secretary - to reclassify period pants as a sanitary product.

Marks & Spencer and WUKA initially set up the Say Pants to the Tax campaign earlier this month, writing a letter to Atkins to make period pants more affordable. John Lewis, Waitrose and Tesco have all also done their bit, by slashing prices on their own-brand period pants.