My sweet blogging friend, Jill from Family of the Cloth (creative name!), was so kind to write a guest post about how to save money while cloth diapering. Yes, many moms do it ;)
Jill has many great giveaways on her blog so don’t forget to hop on over there.
Cloth Diapering to Save Money?
Budget restraints are a common reason why many mamas turn towards cloth diapers. When you consider the fact that the average baby goes through 6,000 diapers during the first two years of life (citation: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php), with average costs hovering around $1,600/year for disposable diapers, cloth diapers become an attractive option. And while you really can save money by using cloth diapers, it’s easy to get carried away with the latest, greatest cloth diapering system, cute prints, and numerous accessories.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your costs down:
- Don’t Blow Your Budget on One Type of Diaper
– If you’re new to cloth diapering, don’t buy a full stash of one type of diaper. Just because a diaper receives positive reviews, you never know how it is going to perform and fit on your baby. Do your research, and try out several styles and systems before deciding on a whole stash. You might also want to consider ordering a cloth diaper trial kit from a site like Jillian’s Drawers, which allows you to try out a variety of popular diapers for a low cost.
- Don’t Overindulge
– Find a system or type of diaper that works for you, and try to stick to it. I love trying new diapers as much as the next person, but I usually wait to read reviews before shelling out the money on the latest new system. Even after trying the new diapers, I usually tend to go back to my tried and true diapers.
– Try not to get wrapped up in cute prints and colors.
- Buy and Sell Used
– Consider selling outgrown diapers or diapers that didn’t work for you on sites like Diaperswappers, Spots, etc. You can often recoup some of the initial costs this way. If you’re not planning on reusing the diaper on another baby, or if the diaper just didn’t work for you, consider selling it.
– On the same note, consider buying your diapers on FSOT (for sale or trade). The idea of used diapers used to gross me out a little bit, but there are many barely used diapers listed. Plus, used diapers can be disinfected, cleaned, and repaired. There are many great deals on FSOT if you keep an eye out.
– You can also check with e-tailers such as Jillian’s Drawers, Nicki’s Diapers, and Kelly’s Closet who offer gently used diapers at a discount.
- Keep it Simple
– Simplify your wash routine. It’s easy to get carried away with special additives, extra rinses, and numerous cycles in the dryer. Try to simplify your routine, and consider hanging your diapers to dry (either on a clothesline outside, or inside on a rack).
– Consider using more inexpensive diapering systems, such as prefolds and covers. The Cotton Babies Econobum and Flip systems are also economical. Be sure to try one or two before buying an entire stash!
– Use cloth wipes. Consider making your own from scrap material, or buy cheap packages of baby washcloths. Cloth wipes are easy to use, and will reduce the amount of money needed for disposable wipes. You can wet the wipes ahead of time and keep them in a warmer, or wet them as needed.
- Become a Fan
– “Like” the Facebook pages of your favorite cloth diaper manufacturers and retailers. Follow them on twitter, as well. Make sure to sign up for their newsletters. Many companies offer giveaways and coupon codes to fans. Many major retailers offer exclusive sales to fans, or give them first chance at seconds sales.
– Shop seconds sales! Many retailers like Cotton Babies offer brand new diapers at a discounted price because of minor imperfections, most of which have no effect on the usability of the diaper (be sure to read the fine print!).
– Follow baby discount sites like Babysteals, Baby Half Off, and Green Baby Bargains. These sites often feature cloth diapers at discounted prices. You usually have to be quick to score one, but the savings are worth it. Be sure to like these sites on Facebook, too, as they often post clues ahead of time alerting fans that “fluff” is coming.
- Enter Giveaways and Contests
– In addition to the Facebook sites, many etailers and mommy bloggers offer giveaways of diapers. Follow your favorite cloth diaper blogs. You can also search the hashtag #clothdiapers on twitter for links to giveaways.
Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ.
I like what you said about simplifying the washing. I have been researching the best detergent and how to wash them… it’s so confusing because everyone says something different. And with children, who has time to do ten thousand rinse cycles and such.
Just curious, what detergent do you use?
Autumn Beck says
I use Clean B detergent or Rockin Green Hard Rock. (for back up I use Mrs. Meyers)
Trenna Wilson says
I’d have to add … resist the temptation to start with something complex. I researched cloth to death and lusted after the fancy stashes. In the end, even though I could afford a newborn stash of Grasshoppers, Mutts, et al … I went for 3 dozen GMD flats, a few Thirsties, and a few Imse Vimse washable wool covers. Small cloth wipes from GMD work as doublers, too.
And with our 8 pound little one, I couldn’t be happier. We’ve had zero poo on clothes, though breastfeeding, and its really quite simple to get them on, and especially to wash. I love that it’s no big deal to have to go through more than one diaper per change, when I forget to cover him up (it’s my first, I’ve never diapered ANY baby before, so I have much to learn!).
They’re also not as bulky as I expected, and I love that the flats will fit him for a good long time (saving us from a very sudden, UH OH TIME TO RE-STASH THE STASH!!).
Andrea in Alaska says
I have been cloth diapering for just about a year now. I started when my daughter was 5 months (and we moved into a place with a washer/dryer). The start up costs of cloth diapering seemed prohibitive, so I started simple and promised myself I could upgrade as I went along. I purchased 24 Clotheez prefolds from GreenMountainDiapers (I got them a little big so she would grow into them, and at 16 months she is STILL wearing mediums!), several different covers (Bummis, Thirsties, Thirsties Duo), 24 imse vimse cloth wipes (the cheapest I could find–I now use all the baby washcloths too), Kissaluvs wipes solution, a large hanging wetbag (for a diaper pail), a small wet bag, a few Snappis, a couple hemp doublers, and a bag of Charlies’ Soap. I did all of this for under $200, shopping at places that had free shipping (Mom’s Milk Boutique) or gently used items (Jillian’s Drawers).
Then I had fun entering diaper giveaways. I hit the jackpot when I won 6 BumGenius diapers (3 organic, 3 original). But I also won a diaper here and there, until, before I knew it, I could just diaper with pockets and all-in-ones and not hardly touch my prefolds! I bought a couple night-time fitteds and learned to double stuff my BGs for nights. Overall, I’ve had a fun, diverse system and haven’t really paid much for them.
Now I pick up a diaper here and there on a good sale. I have tried a lot of different brands. I really like snaps (they always look new and my toddler can’t remove them). My favorite diaper is the BumGenius organic diaper. So when I see a good deal on one, I try to pick it up (if it’s in our budget). Now I have quite a few of my favorite diaper.
Cloth diapering is very doable on a budget, and while all the diaper systems have merit, as long as the diaper fits your baby and doesn’t leak, you can make it work–and have fun with it!
I did all of one system in he start, all gro-baby. It worked great for the first few months, but then my son started hating to feel wet. So we switched to Flip stay dry because it was so affordable. My brother in law and his wife got a great present when they found out they were expecting though. They wanted to cloth diaper so I passed the gro-baby onto them.
While I do love Flip, my son is now a pain to change because he’s so active. So I had to add some pockets to my stash for the active afternoons. I also ended up getting some fitteds for over night because he started sleeping on his side. However, I wouldn’t have known to get the Toddler sized fitteds when we first started because I didn’t know he’d be so tall.
Overall, I’m happy that I still have spent under 1000! I have gotten some great deals despite being a one system starter.
Fantastic article. I am new to MCN’s and am grateful for all these tips. I haven’t ventured into using cloth wipes yet – we will see if I get this game.
I agree with Heidi, I think one of the ways to save the MOST money is to make your own diapers. I didn’t sew much before I started making diapers, but I found all I needed to know online and a lot of great patterns too, and since I got a lot of my fabric from friends and family in the form of old flannel sheets, tshirts, fleece blankets, etc. and since they have PUL at JoAnn’s now (!), I’ll be spending next to nothing on our second baby’s diapers that I am making now, besides washing costs. And if you like crafts AT ALL, it’s really fun!
My added tip for frugal diapering: sew your own! I recently made a cotton fitted with a fleece soaker cover for less than $2. And it works great!
I am a bit of a cloth wipe nut! I find that they work way better than disposable wipes for us. And it’s way easier to toss it all in one can with the diapers than having to separate it out and put it in a different can. And it’s cheaper. And disposable wipes suck, IMO.
But I also have a rule: disposable diaper = disposable wiper: if we are using a disposable because we need a heavy duty diaper cream, I don’t want that cream getting on my wipers and in my diaper laundry. We use the 7th Gen wipes when we need them. They are the only ones that don’t make my girls sensy butts break out.
I use cloth wipes 90% of the time. We still keep a few disposables on hand, which were essential when we transitioned to solids. For some reason, that “in-between” poo just came off better with disposables.
Another tip – buy in bulk. Once you decide on your primary diaper(s)/system, you can buy 12 packs that save you a dollar or more per diapers.
Craigslist is a great place to buy used diapers. I got a stash of 12 BG Organics (our primary diaper) for $19/each – new and in package! $6 off retail, which is great on a very expensive diaper like BG Organics.
I make my own cloth wipes. I mix up the wipe solution and pour it over them in a wipe warmer. I figure if I’m washing diapers I may as well wash wipes. Super easy
Grateful for Grace says
Great, great tips! And advice. I have some really wonderful Rumparooz, but the fun and curiosity of other cloth diapers can be addicting. I appreciate this post for someone like me who started cloth diapering for the financial reasons.
(But, I admit, I’m not willing to use cloth wipes. ;-)