Birth control is a fact of life. You’ll probably need it eventually. The problem is it means adding yet another line to your budget. But there are a few sly ways to avoid a cold shower.
Condoms are ubiquitous. They’re very effective (when used properly), anyone can use them, and they can be relatively cheap. They’re also available all over. For example, New York City has over 2,000 places where you can find free condoms. Check with your city or county department of health, Planned Parenthood clinic, or any other sexual health clinic in your area. If you’re in college, free condoms can likely be found at the student health center or a women’s or LGBT resource center.
Free is good, but cheap is also good. You can bargain shop for condoms the same way you do for canned pineapple. Same rules apply. For example, buy in bulk. Yes, you can buy condoms at Costco. I checked. Use the self-checkout that day though, unless you want to be entertained by the look on the cashier’s face. The expiration date rule applies too, though I imagine a condom will last at least as long as a can of beans.
This is for the ladies only, for now. The pill has been around since the 1950s and is a stand-by for millions of women. In this case, though, you have to get a doctor’s prescription. This presents a problem: not only do you have to fork over for the pills, you have to fork over for the appointment as well. The good news is that while you’re picking up condoms at the department of health and Planned Parenthood, you can also make an appointment to get oral birth control. Payment will probably be based on a sliding scale (pay what you can), and Medicaid is usually accepted.
And the band plays on
There are TONS of different birth control methods out there: the patch, the shot, the ring, diaphragms and IUDs, just to name a few. Planned Parenthood has this awesome tool called My Method that can help you pick the birth control that’s right for you. Personally, I’m a fan of the IUD (Wired had a great article on them) because it’s harder to forget or screw up. “Oops” is not in my sexual vocabulary, thank you very much. It was expensive, but when you break it down and compare it to 5 to 10 years of condoms, it doesn’t look so bad.
Do your research, find out what type of birth control is right for you, and let us know if you find any other short cuts to get reasonably priced birth control.