Aunt Flo. The Curse. That time of the month. My husband calls it "girl week". Whatever you call it, we women have to deal with it. So the question is, is there a way to approach girl week frugally? And the more pressing question, have I taken this frugal thing too far? Hard to say.
The most popular of the ones mentioned was the Diva Cup, so I read more about it. Menstrual cups have actually been around since the 1930s and the design hasn't really changed at all. Basically, you insert it like a tampon and it catches everything instead of absorbing. (I promise, I'm totally blushing as I'm writing this.) The other difference is that they're reusable because they're made of silicone. You empty the cup, rinse it with hot water, and use it again. Apparently, they last for a long time (though the company says to replace it annually; other sites say this isn't necessary, saying that they can last for up to ten years). And, apparently, you don't need to use pads or tampons ever again. They're totally leak-proof and you can even wear it through the night, as there's no risk for toxic shock syndrome with the cups.
I read all that and thought, "Well, that's fine and dandy, but isn't it uncomfortable/messy/gross/weird?" So I did what I do with just about everything: I checked the reviews for the Diva Cup on Amazon. There were like 200 different reviews and the average rating was 4.5 stars, with review titles that said, "Life-altering!" and "So useful, so comfortable -- it will change your life!" and "I forgot I was even on my period!" And a lot of the reviews said something to the effect of "I was skeptical at first, but now I'm converted! I'll never go back!"
So, I got brave and ordered one.
I'll admit, it's a little pricey. I bought mine off Amazon.com for about $23 + shipping (the price may vary). But, even if you spend only $5 a month on pads and tampons, that's $60 a year. In comparison, $23 is a bargain (like only spending $2 a month). And if it's true that you can use the same one for years, then the savings are even better. Plus, I know a lot of women stock up on pads and tampons as part of their emergency supplies and storage -- the menstrual cup would be an awesome solution for that.
I will spare you the details, but I did test it out. I'll tell you now, it lived up to the hype. It took a little while to figure it out, how to make it comfortable (there are different ways to fold it before using it. I suggest the 7-fold. Google it.), but after the first day, I had it down. And just like promised, it was leak-proof. I even wore it at night. That month, I only used one or two pads (just for back-up the first day). All the reviewers were right, too -- I totally forgot about it. I never thought I'd say anything about that time of the month being great, but it kind of was. It was almost like not even having a period.
I'm not going to go into the details on how to use it or some of the questions associated with it -- I'll refer you to the site. It's really helpful. You could also watch this video (you know, for a second opinion):
EcoStiletto's Rachel Breaks Down the Reusable Cup from EcoStiletto on Vimeo.
I'll just put this right out there: it's a little more...how do I put this?...hands-on than the mainstream methods. It takes some getting used to at first, I'll admit. But, really, if you take a step back and look at the methods you use now, it's all kinda weird; you're just used to the norm. The only thing I didn't get about the Diva Cup was why it comes with a lapel pin of their logo. On that, your guess is as good as mine.