We women go through a lot don’t we? I mean we create life and our bodies endure many changes too. And then we also have our monthly cycle which is sometimes a pain, literally and figuratively.

An issue that has increasingly come to light in recent years is the cost of taking care of ourselves – for example, when we cannot afford to buy sanitary towels.

I went into the store the other day to buy myself some pads, it’s really expensive. And the fact that we have to buy it every month is difficult, with many not being able to afford them. So I decided to do a comparison of prices.

Cost of sanitary products


  • Always Maxi Sanitary Pads Cotton Soft 10’s = R24.99
  • Lil-Lets Essentials Unscented Winged Thick Pads 16 Pack = R17.99


  • Always Maxi Sanitary Pads Cotton Soft 10’s = R 24.95
  • Lil-Lets Essentials Unscented Winged Thick Pads 16 Pack = R18.95


  • Always Maxi Sanitary Pads Cotton Soft 10’s = R24.99
  • Lil-Lets Essentials Unscented Winged Thick Pads 16 Pack = R18.99

Please Note: That when looking for Pick ’n Pay prices I was not able to find anything online, but the prices should generally be similar to Checkers’.

Who can afford pads?

The argument for years has been that sanitary products should be free, and made easily available, in the same way that condoms are. I agree with this sentiment as menstruating is something that women have no choice on. We already bare so much of the reproductive burden – don’t make us pay the additional price of having to fork out our precious cash on sanitary towels too.

When I did my sums, I concluded that each woman or girl will spend roughly R300 – R500 a year on pads alone. Now this might not seem like much to some people, but many people cannot afford this amount – there are so many other spending priorities they have to consider.

Tasmin October, a Capetonian, started a sanitary towel drive, called Bridge House, in a bid to help young girls who are struggling to afford pads at Cypress Primary School. I think that this initiative is so important and it would really give girls the confidence to leave home knowing that they are taken care of.

Understanding your flow

I generally have quite a heavy flow during my period and I usually change my pad about 3-4 times a day. This can honestly vary from person to person; one friend said her flow is quite light so she may only need to change twice a day.

I tend to lean more towards maxi or thicker pads because my flow is so heavy. I feel like I bleed right through the thin pads, so I think that it’s important to understand your flow so you are prepared to deal with your period. Technology is now able to help us download period calendars on our phones and this can help us be prepared for, and deal with, the onset and the duration of our menstrual flow.


  • Always keep a pad handy in your bag.
  • If you’re unsure about your monthly cycle, ask someone you trust; or you can even ask us gals in the comment section.

Life is really expensive, now more than ever. Getting to know your body and your monthly cycle can help make a tough time a tiny bit easier. If you’re struggling to afford pads, simply ask. You’ll be surprised at the response.

Take care xx



Read more here on premenstrual syndrome.

Tell us: Do you agree that sanitary towels should be free of charge and freely available? How do you think this could be made possible?