Being a woman is expensive. Not only are women charged more for everyday shit that both men and women use, such as dry cleaning and deodorant (hello, pink tax); they're also pressured to blow their paychecks on fancy makeup, expensive bras, high heels, waxing and Lean Cuisines in an effort to adhere to our culture's capricious beauty standards.
While opting out of face paint, torture shoes and even bras is certainly doable, most us can't opt out of the monthly curse that is menstruation.
According to one estimate, nearly 70% of American women use tampons when Aunt Flo comes to town. And unfortunately for ladies, tampons aren't free: According to one estimate from the Huffington Post, if you use tampons at the rate of the average woman, you'll spend $1,773.33 on them in your lifetime. That's a whole lot of cheddar that could be far better spent on other items.
Fortunately for those who don't want to be beholden to the tampon industry, there are tons of alternative menstrual products on the market, from menstrual cups to reusable pads to straight-up free-bleeding for the more adventurous among us. So if you don't want to dole out your hard-earned cash to tampon companies for the rest of your menstrual life, don't worry — you no longer have to. Here's how you could spend that money you'll save.
1. For $1,773.33, you could get an entire used car on Craigslist (albeit a pretty shitty one).
Even if this $1,700, 2000 Honda Civic Ex is a clunker, it can get you to interviews and jobs faster, meaning you can get and keep a job and literally drive your way out of poverty — which, frankly, is much more valuable than having a wad of cotton up your vagina.
2. For $1,773.33, you could make a small dent in your student loan debt.
As a country, we are harboring more than $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. Considering the average student loan debt is approximately $28,400, your $1,773.33 probably isn't going to make a huge dent. But imagine if women — who are disproportionately affected by this burden due to the gender pay gap — could all put nearly $2,000 toward their debts.
3. For $1,773.33, you could donate to your favorite reproductive health care organization. (Or do that anyway!)
In light of the the House voting to defund Planned Parenthood, there's a nationwide attack against reproductive rights currently raging in the United States. It's a critical time for women's healthcare — so instead of spending money on tampons, you might be better off supporting your favorite local reproductive rights organizations.
4. For $1,773.33, you could invest that money and take the stock market by storm! (Or just use it to help meet your Roth IRA max for the year.)
As a whole, women lack confidence when it comes to investing, and it's hurting us financially: One poll showed that just 22% of women rated themselves financially confident, as opposed to 37% of men. By learning how this money stuff works — and by throwing our money into the stock market or individual retirement accounts or what have you — we can start to even the playing field a bit more. Wall Street isn't just for male wolves, y'all.
5. For $1,773.33, you could pay for 7 community college courses or adult education classes to expand your horizons.
Education expands our horizons, gives us opportunity and hope, and makes us more confident. At $46 per unit and at 5 units per class, you could theoretically afford to take seven classes at Pasadena City College. So if you ever wanted to take a class on anesthetic technology or even welding, this would be your opportunity to do so. Plus, it's fun to pull a Never Been Kissed and pretend you're back in school as an adult.
6. For $1,773.33, you could pay for 2 months of full-time preschool for your behbeh.
Forty-three percent of women who have babies end up leaving their jobs. While it's obviously up to individual mothers whether that's a choice they want to make for themselves, not every single woman who leaves her job necessarily wants to. This is obviously a larger problem: We can enable more women to work by providing better childcare services. But at least the money you save could provide a jumping-off point to making that feasible.
7. For $1,773.33, you could take 8 rides on a sweet helicopter.
Gotham Air, a New York City-based service that's like Uber for helicopters, will fly you to your chosen destination for approximately $219 a pop. Do you need to pop into your cousin's bar mitzvah in a sweet chopper? Nope. But do you want to? Hell yes!
8. For $1,773.33, you could buy 4 Rihanna backstage meet-and-greets. (Subsequently become best friends with Bad Gal Riri: priceless.)
Basically, it is everyone's dream to meet and become friends with Rihanna. If you say otherwise, you are either a liar or a lunatic.
9. For $1773.33, you could buy a $4 latte every single day for 443 days. (It's PSL season. Don't front; you live for it.)
On every financial diet they always tell you to cut your morning latte out so you can save money. But screw that. If you love your morning latte, you should have your morning latte. Just stop buying tampons and know that your Diva Cup is keeping your local coffee shop in business.
10. For $1,773.33, you could buy 25 fly-ass bikinis at $70 each that make you feel straight-up amazing about your awesome body.
Whether you're fat or skinny or short or tall or literally shaped like a doughnut hole, buying clothes that make you feel good about your body is one of the most worthwhile expenses of all. Also, other women seeing you out there strutting your sexy stuff will help them feel more comfortable about their bodies. Representation matters, so you might as well rep your body type looking dope af.
11. For $1,773.33, you could buy a 4-day off-season Hawaiian vacation.
You need a vacation, right? I bet you do — especially when you consider that, on average, women take fewer vacation days than men. Taking a few days to lay on the beach with a cocktail in hand is good for your soul (come on; have you even seen Eat, Pray, Love?). Let's break it down: With this vacation package, you could theoretically spend about $757 on airfare, $396 on this vacation rental and $620.33 on food, Mai Tais, sightseeing and more Mai Tais. Take that, Tampax. Hello, Oahu.
12. For $1,773.33, you could buy a gold 12-inch MacBook 512GB on which you can pen your great American novel.
This model costs about $1,599, so you'll have some money left over to sit at a coffee shop and buy some cappuccinos for inspiration. Write that dystopian YA novel you've been plotting since your teens. The world needs to hear your voice.
13. For $1,773.33, you could rent a pretty nice 1-bedroom apartment in Montreal for 3 months.
In New York City, $1,773.33 will maybe — if you're lucky! — pay for five minutes in a rat-infested sixth-floor walkup built on top of a toxic waste dump. But take that money six hours north to Montreal, and you will live like a queen in this spacious, sun-drenched apartment! Well, maybe not an actual queen, but a jaunty duchess.
14. For $1,773.33, you could buy a '90s hip-hop-themed purse on Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle website GOOP.
Worst purse ever or best purse ever?
15. For $1,773.33, you could literally replace your own hair with a top-of-the-line human hair wig.
Let's be honest: This should be No. 1 on the list, because it's the best possible thing you can spend your money on, particularly if you are interested in costume parties and/or role play and/or general sexual intrigue. There is nothing else to say (other than, "I'll meet you in a darkened corner of a darkened bar, and we can trade the secrets of our countries over martinis.").