Saving Money with Cloth Diapers

March 26, 2012

Basics/Getting Started, Budget

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Guest post by Amber Roy.

Cloth diaper users say it all the time, “cloth saves money.”  But in reality, the cost of cloth can add up quickly.  If you have decided to use cloth to cut costs, here are the best ways to save money:

  1. Don’t go overboard buying diapers

We all enjoy getting a fluffy package in the mail.  Cloth diapers are adorable, especially with endless print options available.  Don’t buy more diapers and accessories than you need.  If you purchase 24 diapers that cost $18 each, an estimated 2,250 diaper changes are necessary to get your money back.  This can take 7-10 months (depending on changes per day).  If you purchase 36 diapers, it may take 11-14 months.

  1. Don’t supplement your cloth diapers with disposable.

Adding one diaper a day for nighttime use or errands can really eat into the cost savings.  Before using disposable, try a more absorbent insert.  Also, don’t wait until your baby is several months old to start using cloth.  If you’re going to do it, jump right in!  Several brands of one size diapers can be sized to fit a newborn.  The cost benefit of cloth increases with each diaper change; don’t deplete it with disposable!

  1. Buy less expensive diapers and wait for sales.

Some cloth diapers are more expensive than others.  The costs can range from under $10 to over $25.  More expensive does not always equal more effective, better for your child or even a higher quality.  Sales are key, especially when you are buying your first stash.  If you are using cloth to save money, it is not necessary to pay $20 per diaper for a high quality product. Also, keep costs in mind when making decisions about sized versus one-size diapers.  Seconds and gently used diapers also can save big.

  1. Be careful with the cost of laundry.

Don’t use a dryer unless it’s absolutely necessary and be sure to fill your washing machine.  Be aware that electricity and gas rates fluctuate.  In some areas, the cost of electricity can fluctuate throughout the day.  Find out if this is true in your area and do your wash during non-peak hours.  Also, ensure that your hot water heater is properly insulated.

  1. Keep the diapering process simple.

Expensive detergents, wipe solutions and flushable liners are not necessary.  Use a more economical detergent, make your own wipe solution and avoid liners.  Flushable liners are hard on many septic systems (adding plumbing fees) and can add 3 cents to each diaper change.

If you are determined to save money with cloth, you can realize huge savings.  Be aware though that cloth doesn’t always save money.  By following these tips, you will save money with fluff!

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About Amber Roy

I am a follower of Christ, wife and stay-at-home Mother to a five month old baby girl. I chose to stay at home after obtaining my Master's in Youth and Family Education and 6 years experience in the non-profit sector. I have experience as a Program Director and Quality Control Director in various non-profit organizations ranging from adult home living support, foster care, youth group homes and family-based services. I enjoy various hobbies including knitting, photography and hopefully soon, sewing. As the owner of empoweringellie.com, I hope to support women in their roles as wives and Mothers.

View all posts by Amber Roy

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13 Responses to “Saving Money with Cloth Diapers”

  1. Anthony Says:

    You forgot to mention that once your baby is out of diapers the diapers can be sold for atleast half their new price on eBay or Craigslist. This only makes it cheaper to cloth diaper. Buy $18 diaper, use it for 2 years, then sell it for $8-9 on eBay.

    Reply

  2. Ben Says:

    If you want to save money on bamboo cloth diapers I would suggest you with giraffita diapers. These diapers are very nice quality and soft.

    Reply

  3. Ita Says:

    You save the most money by keeping it simple: prefolds and flats. I love my econobum diapers, and my flip covers which I bought as seconds at $9.00 apiece (cottonbabies.com — you don’t even have to pay shipping!).

    Reply

  4. Amber Roy Says:

    I didn’t include sewing your own diapers, but this would save HUGE! I don’t have any sewing skill (yet) so that wasn’t an option for us. Definitely an excellent option.

    Reply

  5. Debra Joy Says:

    It’s so true! If you want to save money, you can save a TON using cloth. I cloth-diapered my daughter from 2 months to 2 1/2 and only spent $125 up front, and probably another $100 over the whole two years on extra laundry expenses – and that was only because we had coin laundry in our building. We did supplement with disposables but wouldn’t have had to – the cloth dupes we had were more than sufficient. (And even then, I probably only spent $10/month on disposables.) All in all I figured we spent about half what most of our friends spent using disposables all the way through. I am a huge believer in saving money with cloth!

    Reply

  6. Liz Houser Says:

    This is such a wonderful post! I completely agree, cloth diapering CAN save you tons of money, but not if you go crazy. It’s so easy to get sucked up in all the fun products and the newest, cutest, most innovative diaper to hit the designer boutiques! I wish I would have read this before I bought my first stash. I didn’t do too bad, but feel a little silly now that I realize that my 25 dollar diapers wore out sooner than my 18 dollar diapers, and my 7 dollar diapers work just great! You hear how much money it saves so many times that you feel justified buying an entire stash of uber-cute, 4 dollars extra for prints, 25 dollar diapers! Oh well, live and learn. Thanks for the post!

    Reply

  7. Carissa Says:

    The pitfall for ne was getting cloth-happy and buying two complete diapering systems!
    One of the things I did that really helped was never pay full price for a diaper. I chose a diaper that is $19.95, but only bought it on sales and promotions from multiple retailers. I paid an average of $14/diaper.
    I also bought used, several online retailers have used sections, I bought from eBay and also the FB group fluff swappers.

    Reply

  8. Rachel Healy Says:

    If you or someone you know has ANY sewing ability, you can save big bucks making them! There are tons of resources, & a one size pocket can cost $5 or less.

    Reply

  9. Rhonda Says:

    This is so true! I chose to cloth diaper mainly for economical reasons and have tried to be very careful in my selections. I have gradually built up my stash as different online stores have had great sales. It has been quite a feat to refrain from getting drawn in to buying all the different adorable patterns available but I’ve stayed strong. I’ve watched Youtube videos in which women were displaying their collection of HUNDREDS of cloth diapers and covers and I thought, “That had to have costed at least twice as much as what disposables would have costed over 3 years!” I also do my diaper laundering in the middle of night when I know our electric rates are cheaper. I put them on pre-soak before bed, then when I get up for my first night time bathroom trip (preggo bladder….too dependable!) I set the first wash cycle, then my second trip I reset including a double rinse. When I get up the next morning they are ready to hangout on the line to dry….so easy! I love cloth diapering and wish I had done it sooner with my other children.

    Reply

  10. melissa Says:

    Another huge money saver for me was sewing my daughters diapers- which I realize doesn’t work for everyone! I put four differentbrands/designs of diapers on my gift registry, received 3 of these and tried them out on my daughter, then created a pattern based on the best fitting one. To date, I have only purchased diaperpins, two snappis (just prefolds when she was tiny), and hemp inserts at the diaper store. I used flannel sheets and shirts, purchased pul elastic and snaps on sale, and all told have spent less than 100$ since I started, and my girl has 30 adorable fitted diapers!

    Reply

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