So, I was talking with someone on the phone tonight, and somehow the conversation rolled around to things like disposable diapers. Very expensive, and let's not get me started on the impact to the environment.
But when I told him I'd used cloth diapers with both my kids, he was really surprised. Didn't occur to him that anyone did anymore. Didn't occur to him that people couldn't afford pampers. And I really blew him away when I told him that often, I didn't even have change for the laundromat, and I'd have to soak and wash them in the tub, and hang them up to dry. Never liked doing that. They never seemed quite as clean, and they always came out stiff as a board and chafed their delicate baby butts.
(OK, caveat here. Often, the really poor are forced to use disposables because they don't have access to the means to wash cloth ones on a regular basis. Especially when homeless. Won't speculate here on how they obtain said disposables.)
Then, somehow, the talk got around to the expense of feminine hygiene products, and how manufacturers really have us by the proverbial balls, cause we need the product and therefore have to pay whatever they charge. But when I informed him that really poor people can't afford that particular luxury, he was shocked beyond anything. What did they do, he asked. Well, I went to an extremely cheap second hand store, bought up old towels, and made my own 'pads' by sewing layers together. I washed them and reused them. He couldn't decide whether to be totally grossed out, or very impressed with my ingenuity.
His final word...baby, people just don't really understand poverty unless they've been there themselves.
How low can you go?
As low as you need to, to survive.