Every time you have to make that emergency run to the drugstore for tampons or pads, it’ll cost you likely anywhere from $7 to $10. But did you ever think about how much your period costs over a lifetime? And also, did you know that the U.S. state you live in can make a difference in the cost of menstrual products?
Thankfully, virtual health platform PlushCare did all the math so you don’t have to—they just released a report about how much is costs to have your period in various different locations on a monthly and a lifetime basis, and some of the results may surprise you.
They started by checking out local costs of basic period products, including tampons, pads, and ibuprofen, per month and compared those costs to the average income of a person from that state. From there, they calculated which states may cost you the most for your period over your menstrual lifetime (which is on average, about 40 years of your life, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health).
Keep on reading to find out where your state falls on the list of most to least expensive places to menstruate.
How much of your monthly income you spend on your period
This may come as less of a surprise if you live there, but a monthly supply of period products costs on average $15.56 in New York, which is the most expensive out of any state.
Overall, in terms of percent of monthly income, Oregon is actually the most expensive state, because it takes about 0.39 percent of the average monthly income for that state to afford period products (and remember, this might be even more of an expense for people who make much less than the average in that area). New York is a close second, at 0.38 percent of the monthly income going toward menstrual products, followed by Georgia, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
On the other hand, the most cost-effective states to menstruate include Colorado, California, Ohio, and Nevada, which costs an average of $5.96 each month for period products, the lowest of any state.
Interestingly, all four of these cost-cutting states have repealed the tampon tax (a.k.a. the pink tax), the sales tax on period products. Repealing that tax, which is as high as 7 percent in some states, certainly seems to be making a difference in menstrual products becoming more affordable for people.
How much you spend on your period over your lifetime
If you begin menstruating in your tween years up until your menopause years (which begins, on average, between ages 45 and 50) you might be spending a full seven years of your life total bleeding, the PlushCare research estimates.
For anyone living in New York, which takes the highest spot on the list of lifetime cost of menstrual products, that’s going to run you about $7,282 over the years. Oregon follows, at $7,048 over a lifetime, and a few New England states, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut round out the top five.
The least expensive states over a lifetime include Nevada, Ohio, California, Colorado, and Washington. But even in the cheapest state to menstruate, Nevada, it’s still costing you a decent chunk of change: about $2,789, to be exact.
Having your period, even in the states deemed least expensive to pay for menstrual products, is still an expense that many people cannot afford, when it comes to feeding their family or paying for tampons. More states need to repeal the tampon tax so that the products are cheaper at the drugstore counter, but also more state-run businesses, offices, and community centers should normalize offering free menstrual products for the public to access.
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