With the wide variety of disposable diapers on the market today and how easy they are to use, it’s a big step to make the decision to cloth diaper your little ones. Cloth diapering does involve a little extra laundry each week along with initial start-up expenses like wet bags. However, it can also be a means for your family to save money over the course of the 2 or 3 years your child is in diapers. Here are a couple of ways cloth diapers can save you money.
How to Save Money on Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are an investment. Once an initial stash of cloth diapers is purchased, they can be used on subsequent children and resold once they are no longer needed. The ability to reuse them prevents parents from needing to buy another 2 or more years of disposable diapers for another child. On average, parents spend $2,600 on diapers for the first two years of their child’s life. A stash of cloth diapers can be purchased anywhere from $200 to $300 to an upwards of $1,000.
One cloth diaper can fit a child from infancy until 2 or 3 years of age. With boxes of disposable diapers, have you ever noticed how the box count goes down as the size of the diaper goes up? Yet, the price usually remains the same from size to size. Many brands of cloth diapers have created a one-sized version that allows them to fit babies from as little as 7 all the way up to 35 pounds. Not only does this reduce hassle, it reduces money spent on varying sizes as your child grows.
Cloth Diapering on a Budget
At first glance it may seem like the initial start up costs of cloth diapering are too much for a family on a budget. It’s important to remember that just like anything else, cloth diapering can be done as cost-effective or expensive as you intent. By following these steps you can save yourself money and build the cloth diaper stash you need for your little one.
- Start buying before baby comes. Any time you see them on sale or have a few extra dollars to spend purchase a diaper or two. One at a time doesn’t seem like a lot, but over the course of several months they will add up.
- Many local cloth diaper retailers provide lending bins for potential buyers to try before you buy. This will prevent you from wasting money on diapers that don’t work for your little baby. Just like disposables, different brands of diapers work and fit differently.
- Online buy/sell/trade groups allow you to buy used diapers for a fraction of a cost. Search for these pages locally or nationwide on Facebook. Many of these pages are buyer beware, so talk to friends and get a few recommendations on reputable groups before you spend money.
- Shop ‘seconds sales’ like the one that runs a few times a year through Cotton Babies. Along with a variety of brands and styles, this retailer sells BumGenius diapers and diaper covers on sale due to not passing quality control inspections. These diapers are sold as-is because they may have minor imperfections that won’t impair working condition. For example, a BumGenius 4.0 pocket diaper that is usually $17.99 sells for $11.99 due to a small pencil mark that comes clean after one wash.
- Diaper covers can be wiped clean and reused before laundering, thus making them a more efficient option. Because covers can be used multiple times before needing to be washed you typically don’t need as many of them as you would a pocket diaper. Keep costs down further by using them with cotton prefolds. A package of six cotton prefolds can be purchased for about $6.99.
- Take advantage of in-store and online retailer perks. Some retailers will offer frequent buyer cards that are totaled up once filled and a percentage of monies spent are credited back to spend. Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique and The Green Nursery are just a few online retailers that allow you to accumulate points with each dollar you spend. These points can then be used towards gift certificates or in-store credit on future purchases.
- Register for cloth diapers. Large retailers such as Babies-R-Us and Target carry cloth diapers on their websites but not at all store locations. It’s easy to forget they even sell cloth diapers. However, you can still add them to your registry and friends and family can purchase them for you online.
- Check to see if local cloth diaper retailers have consignment racks and scour them for deals! Reputable stores won’t buy back diapers that are defective but always carefully inspect anything before you buy.
- Link up with other cloth diapering moms through local social groups or on threads like those on Baby Center. They too are looking for a good deal and may be able to give you the heads up when and what stores are offering sales.
- Instead of buying expensive detergents made specifically for cloth diapers, know what other general laundry detergents are safe to use and purchase those instead. Detergents such as Ecos and Arm & Hammer Free and Clear are considered safe to use because they don’t have any brighteners, enzymes, fabric softener, or dyes. *It’s important to note that what may work well for one person’s washing routine may not work for others.
Emily is a mother of two, Army wife, avid cook, and recently discovered running to help stay fit. She enjoys the outdoors and sharing her knowledge about greener living with others, including cloth diapering and up-cycling everyday objects into something fresh.