You can cloth diaper on a budget!

March 5, 2010


Cloth diapers are the healthiest diapering choice for your baby. They are the most environmentally friendly diaper.  And believe it or not they are the best for your budget.

I get plenty of comments from moms wondering how in the world people buy $40, $25 and even $17 cloth diapers.  Not everyone is going to be able to buy $20+ cloth diapers but price isn’t what matters.  It’s the fact that you have stopped doing what everyone else is doing and considered that there is something better.

How do most people stumble onto cloth diapers? Did your venture into cloth diapers go something like this?

  1. A mom or dad discovers something shocking: gel crystals on baby, the enormous amount of disposables filling the Diaper Genie every week, the Quick Books column titled “Diapers” that is surpassing the “Auto” category…
  2. They look for alternatives. Perhaps a Google search using “disposable diaper alternatives” or “natural diapers”.  They’ll probably discover G-diapers.
  3. Once they research g-diapers they discover real cloth diapers.  Then they hit a wall called choices.  Almost every new user emails me saying they are completely overwhelmed.

That’s pretty close to how it went for me.  (3 Reasons I Cloth Diaper)

So, now that you have decided to cloth diaper you attempt to maintain your zeal for this new world while navigating the millions of cloth diaper websites.  It’s so easy to keep doing what you’ve been doing. Sure, disposable diapers cost a ton, sit in a landfill and contain nasty chemicals but it’s comfortable. We all do it in some area of our lives and it’s never a good thing.

But, I’m not going to let you do that.  Just like I wouldn’t let you eat Little Debbie’s treats or buy an item I knew you couldn’t afford.  The whole point of this blog is to make the choices easier for you.

Here are ways that you can start cloth diapering on a budget:

Make them: Check out this post listing many sites on how to make cloth diapers. is the one I would start with first.  She has a sale box on the homepage that includes kits and patterns.

Buy used: Once you’ve narrowed down a system or even some brands that you’d like to try go to a site like or to find second hand items. You can also find many buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook by doing a search based on brand.  If you’re grossed out by the thought of used cloth diapers you can always wash them in some bleach when you receive them. If you have friends that cloth diaper ask them if they have a couple you could borrow to try out.

Start small: The ideal number of cloth diapers to have on hand is a minimum of 12.  However, you can easily get by with a lot less especially if your child is a year or older.  When we began cloth diapering, at one point I was using 4 Happy Heiny’s for 90% of my stash.  I had few prefolds and prowraps that I could use in a pinch but I preferred to use the HH.  Needless to say, I did laundry 2x a day :)

Buy new: You could buy a stash of made in China cloth diapers off Ebay like Coolababy, Sun Baby or Sweet Baby but you are taking a big risk.  Reviews are iffy on whether they are worth it or not.  They are super cheap though and would make a great re-gift to someone in need when you buy better ones.  These will work they just won’t be leak proof, so change often.

Purchase a system like Econobums and Flips.  For $100 you’d have enough to last more than a day.  You’d run a small load every night and have them ready in the morning.

For birthdays, Christmas and anniversary ask for money to purchase diaper packages from sites like Sweetbottoms Baby,  Modern Cloth Diapers or Little For Now.  And don’t forget about tax returns and garage sales.  Of course, I wouldn’t recommend you purchase a package of cloth diapers that you’ve never tried first.

Enter every cloth diaper giveaway you can find.  And trust me there are plenty. We have lots here and also check out Emi @ The Cloth Diaper Report or Kelly @ The Cloth Diaper Whisperer to find many opportunities for winning cloth diapers.

Join the Baby Half Off facebook fan page and know what the next deal is first!

Check out the sales page on each of the listed sites.  Sometimes cloth diaper makers discontinue a style and you can get the old one for really cheap.

For my recommendations on prefolds and covers see my post How To Start Cloth Diapering On a Budget.

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About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at

View all posts by Autumn Beck

27 Responses to “You can cloth diaper on a budget!”

  1. Catherine W Says:

    Keep your eyes peeled at resale shops. One close to me always sells their used CD for cheap, even nice brands!


  2. Trenna Says:

    I haven’t seen anyone mention Nell’s Natural Baby Newborn Diaper Rental Program:

    After doing a massive amount of research I decided to start with these, because it’s 24 Kissaluvs that, once you return them, only cost $75 for 3 months’ use ($65 if you choose store credit instead of cash back). I feel good about used diapers from the pros, and about it being so easy. She has a package deal for covers & such too (not returnable). Similar programs I’ve seen cost twice as much and won’t give you cash back.

    No baby yet so no comment on how they actually worked, but I think it’s worth checking out.


  3. Elizabeth Says:

    I found a coupon for a FREE bumgenius AIO when you spend $10 or more on any bumgenius, flip, or econobum product in Pregnancy magazine this month. It’s the one with Joey Lawrence on the cover. My obgyn’s office had about 100 copies of this magazine. I couldn’t find a local retailer to take it, but I called bumgenius customer service and of course I had no troubles. I got the free bumgenius in the color of my choice and a flip in the color of my choice for less than $17! I hope someone else finds this comment and can take advantage of this offer from bumgenius!


  4. Freda Says: is my favorite site by far. They have all the products I need and they ship so quickly.


  5. Elizabeth Says:

    I started out with the coolababys….most of my original 16 are still intact a year later. I have tried some more expensive brands, like rumparoos (just ok) and applecheeks (LOVE!) but for cost and effectiveness I like Rainbowbbs the best. Like the coolababys they are also a china made buy on e-bay diaper. I got my first ones through a co-op on craigslist. I liked them so much I have bought several more, never paying more than $8 each.

    If you’re looking for great cloth deals, sign up for . You’ll get an e-mail with a different half off or more deal every day, and they have cloth diapers a few times a month. That’s how I got my applecheeks for less than $10!


  6. kira Says:

    I started cd’ing when my 1st dd was 8 months. She is now 33 months and we are expecting a little guy in june. We have only bought *maybe* 6 diapers new…none were at full price and we also got bogo for 4 of them. Sign up for email newsletters of your favorite stores. Some stores now offer gently used, such as jillian’s drawers. I pretty much stalk craigslist for diapers. I had to wean myself from DS for a bit because it was quite the addiction, but with baby brother coming I will be back soon. I ask all my cd’ing friends to let me know when they sell their diapers. I have gotten all of little guy’s stash from friends used diapers and will only be buying 2 new diapers (we have the bg coupon!) For his newbie stash. So far I have $100 invested that a friends cousin letting me pay in payments and could do fine w/ just those…but I’m getting a heck of a deal on another friend’s stash so I will have less than a total of $200 in his stash that I can resell when he outgrows…as well as big sister’s diapers that we saved. I am not sure how cd’ing a newborn is, let alone a boy so I wanted to have lots of options…fitteds, aio’s, pf’s, covers, wool. I opted for no pockets in the nb size even though I LOVE pockets just due to time management. We rarely buy new anything and it pays off. We get more for our money and get to put that towards other things.
    W/ his newbie stash I will only have to wash every 2-3 days and will still have extras…which w/ a newborn will be great! Buying used definitely allows you to test your options! And diapers resell quickly!


  7. Megan Says:

    SmartiPants have been the BEST for us. They are all-in-ones, but without the high cost of the other brands. I bought one 3-pack at $40 or so, expecting they wouldn’t last long, but they are AWESOME! They hold up just as well as my other AIOs and the inserts ALWAYS come out in the wash.


  8. Catina Ivy Says:

    I have a son with a rather large bottom. He is only 10 months old but the diapers are beginning to not fit around it. Do you have a recommendation for cloth diapers that would fit his butt?

    Thank you,



  9. jsboys Says:

    All of your advice and information has been so valueable as a I have gradually switched to CD with my second child. Of all of the sites and blogs, you have organized and presented all of the necessary info in the easiest to read format. Thanks!
    I have a few bumGenius, an Econobum and a Flip so far, and use G-Diapers when we are out or travelling. I can also use a prefold in the G-diaper cover, so I love that it’s double duty. I think my favorites are bumGenius pockets and the Flip system. I love how trim and easy the Flip is! And I can also use the pocket inserts for bumGenius in the Flip.

    So I guess my advice is buy systems that are interchangeable and that way you can get away with just a few covers and 6-12 prefolds or pocket inserts. If you do laundry almost every day like me, it’s no more work than your regular,daily chores!


  10. tgal Says:

    Oh my gracious!!!
    I am at the brick wall inmy cloth diapering journey. I getting by on gerber dsq’s and flats and a few fitteds that I made. But I want to venture out and by some “real” dipes. I have entered giveaways and prayed to win so I can get over this WALL! I would love to have gmd prefolds and bummis to try. I would also like the sposo easy aios, the aristocrats, the snug to fit supremes, sbish dipes etc, etc,etc,etc,etc… I am really stuck. I asked my hubby and he responded just make sure you get good quality investment. Duh, I won’t know until i try. So in the mean time I just use what I have and do the wash every 3 days. SIGH


  11. Andrea Says:

    I love AMP’s.

    Similar idea to GroBaby when used as an AI2, but much cheaper & I like the fit much better. It is also more versatile as I use the one-size duo pocket mainly & I can still use a pocket for nighttime which I like because I can stuff it with whatever inserts I want that work for my son & it keeps him dry.


  12. Laurinda Says:

    Prefolds and my own hand knit wool covers- I did buy a few AIO’s starting out wished I hadn’t, they retain poo smells even when washed/clean- the prefolds were cheap and wash/dry easily (20 mins max in the dryer) If you can knit and have extra wool (my covers are all multi-colored made from left overs from sweaters) its the cheapest way to go IMO.


  13. Mummatutu Says:

    my go to place is to check out ever day… I’ve purchased at least 4 diapers from them already and if you don’t like the style or if it does not work for you at least it was not full price!


  14. Megan Says:

    We could not afford the upfront cost all at once. So we decided to buy one or two every month we were pregnant (or waiting since we were adopting). It spread out the cost over a year or so and gave us something to look forward to every month.


  15. Klayre Says:

    Can I offer a few more suggestions for cloth diapering on a budget? I check out sites like,, daily and sometimes they have first quality diapers for 1/2 price or less! I love for pre-loved diapers and for second quality and overstock diapers. is another site for seconds and overstock and callie’s closet on is also great for pre-loved/discontinued/overstock diapers. Also, friend any diaper companies or shops on Facebook! They’ll give you heads up for sales, discount codes and contests for free diapers. Most diaper companies have a outlet shop link on their sites to check out.


    • Cat Says:

      I just wanted to also say that I got everything I needed for my 4 kids cloth diapering and potty training needs at (Other than the actual diaper pail : ). They answered all my questions, have great monthly specials and giveaways and are a small local home run business. The prices are the best I could find and all seconds were totally functional. Dapa diapers saved us loads of money.


  16. Amy Says:

    I was a Huggies girl all the way with my older ones. When I decided to CD with my youngest, I switched to the cheapest brand of diapers I could find (using coupons and shopping sales to get the cheapest deals). Using my savings, I began purchasing cloth diapers…one and two at a time…and mixing them in with the disposables. Sure, I was washing more often, but it didn’t kill my budget either. Before too long (considering I was buying 4 of the huge packages of diapers a month), I had enough to cloth diaper for one whole day and kept buying when I saw good sales. It was SO much easier than I thought.


  17. Debra Joy Says:

    This is funny…because budget is the original reason that I chose to do cloth, before I discovered all the other good reasons. I figured out that disposables cost about 25 cents a pop, which sounded like a lot to me! So I went the cheapest cloth route, with prefolds, covers, and microfiber cloth inserts from Target. And I was able to get all the diapers & supplies I needed to last me a whole week for around $120 – about what I’d spend on 3 months of disposable diapers, and they’ve lasted me 20 months already! This cost included trying a few different brands of covers to find the ones I liked. Even with having to pay $2/load to wash & dry in my building, I still am saving a lot compared with what I’d be spending on disposables. I would definitely recommend this option to someone on a budget…I love the simplicity of prefolds & covers!


  18. Serena Says:

    I love your blog. For me cloth diapering became a solution to a budget problem. I had a 2 year old and had just given birth to a new baby. My hubby was on unimployment which suddenly ran out. I had no money and 2 babies in diapers. We weren’t making any progress potty training and I am a firm believer in not forcing the issue. My 2 year old would figure it out in the right time for him. With no money coming in we couldn’t buy disposable diapers. Hence my research into the cloth diapering world. Boy do you have it right to. There is tons of info. Your blog has helped tremendously. Thank you.


  19. Karen Says:

    This is such great info. I only wish I had had this info 2 years ago when I was new to CDing. Definitely passing this post on to friends who have a baby on the way. Thanks Autumn!


  20. carley gregg Says:

    as a great brand to start out with i suggest gro baby. if i hadn’t discovered these, i might still be searching for which ones to get. but after 3 months of using them- haven’t had a single blowout. they are so darn easy and quick, they are perfect for someone who doesn’t want to have to keep rebuying covers for each size, since they fit up to 35+lbs
    i<3 them


  21. Mer Says:

    Some cloth diaper sellers also provide a layaway option, like Bayla at (she also has a storefront in the Baltimore area which is where I bought my first cloth diapers). An arrangement like this makes it possible to buy higher quality diapers in sufficient quantities without catching the full hit of a frontloaded cost. Keep an eye out for internet sales or for cloth diaper outlet sites, where you can sometimes find great diapers for closer to $10/each. You also might want to wait–I put off CDing for a few months until I found a good “Black Monday” sale and could buy the quantity and type of diaper I wanted. The risk of buying cheaply made cloth diapers is that you won’t keep up with cloth diapering if your diapers just frustrate you or leak on your baby.


  22. Amelia Says:

    I started with 2 dozen prefods, 6 covers, and a few fitteds bought used from diaperswappers. It only cost about $100 and got us through the first 2 months or so.

    Another way to keep the cost down is to sell the diapers your baby has outgrown.


  23. Andrea M. Says:

    Also, find a company you really like and subscribe to their email. I like Pittsburgh Cloth Diapers. They have free shipping and occasionally really good sales. Take advantage of their sales and get your diapers then. Also, on Diaperpin, look for Sales and Announcements. (You’ll find sales for lots of different companies there.)


  24. Casey Says:

    Cloth Diaper Nation is also a great place to find used diapers. It’s a great community and the safest place to buy/sell/trade that I have found :)


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