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Monday, July 16, 2012

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Budgeting for Cloth Diapers

No matter how small your baby budget is, cloth diapers are more affordable than disposables. Some of us cloth diapering moms and dads become fluff addicts so we do go over budget. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t stay within your limits using some creative methods.

First, know your finances. While it’s preferable to sit down before you have the baby (or babies) and draft a budget for your stash, you can still do this with any age child.

For newborns, you’ll need to figure out a separate stash since newborns usually don’t fit right away in one-sized diapers. I recommend a duo size system like Thirsties has and flat diapers. Flat diapers are the most affordable diapers, and they can last you from birth to potty training. Prefolds are also another affordable option and are a little easier to use because you don’t have to do several folds.

Once you’ve decided on a system, I recommend buying in bulk. Diapers are often cheaper this way when bought in packages. is a good source. My newborn stash is mostly built on prefold diapers and newborn-sized Bummis covers that I bought in bulk.

For older children, you want to budget for the duration of their diapering days and for when they are potty training. Most of the time you can purchase one-sized items like Econobum which will last you a long time.

I try to build an affordable but varied stash. For at-home use, I use flat diapers with covers. For naps or nights, I have fitted diapers with covers. When going out, I prefer a pocket. Pockets and fitteds are more expensive so I don’t have as many as I do flat diapers. I also use one-sized diaper covers like Flips or duo-sized like Thirsties. For night, I have sized covers because they fit over a fitted easier. I recommend Bummis.

If you are starting a stash early enough, I suggest to add things that are a bit out of your budget like pockets or woolens to your baby registry. Kelly’s Closet has a gift registry, and your family and friends can easily search through and purchase items for you.

If you are starting to switch from disposables, I recommend starting slowly to find what works best for your family and to also not go over your budget. I would buy several covers and flats first. Then what you save on disposables can be applied toward purchasing fitteds and/or pockets.

When making a purchase, look for coupons and other great discounts. Kelly’s closet always has a special or coupon going especially around the holidays. Also keep an eye out for gently used diapers or second diapers. Seconds are when the manufactured diaper hasn’t passed the manufacturer’s rigorous standards. These diapers may have some cosmetic flaw, but they work just the same.

Make sure when you purchase that you sign up for the rewards programs. Kelly’s closet has a good one. After so many diaper dollars, you can receive a gift certificate to be used on a future purchase.

Try making your own. There are numerous free patterns for sew, no-sew, crochet, and knitting diapers floating around the internet. If you’re crafty enough and know how to up-cycle fabrics, you can easily create several diapers of your own for very little money. I’ve made my own woolen soaker this way.

Have enough diapers, but are interested in trying something else like a new pocket? Switching from disposables? Why not try winning one. The Cloth Diaper Whisperer Blog holds a new giveaway each week.

Cloth diapering is affordable so long as you know what you can afford and what is affordable. If you are learning how to purchase, don’t be discouraged. Go slowly so that you don’t end up spending money on something that you can’t afford or won’t ever use for very long.

Laura Weirich is a stay-at-home mom to two boys ages 2 years and 7 months both in cloth diapers. She chronicles her fluffy journey at her blog, Diapers and Drivel.


Randie Nichols said...

Good info! Recently I wrote on my blog about how to start cloth diapering when your broke. More for people who can't afford to buy in bulk. Check it out please!

Alysia Faxon said...

Just so you know, Sunbaby diapers are a lot less expensive, if you get 24 like i did they only cost $4.50 each! So us mamas on a budget can still get the convenience of a pocket diaper!

Laura said...

Alysia- Sure I know about Sunbaby diapers. I also know that for 24 the price is 108 USD with inserts. You can buy 25 flats and two covers for less than 50 dollars. I know because I've done so myself. So by my estimates, you can have twice as many flat style diapers making them more affordable than pockets.

Additionally, Sunbaby has to be bought in bulk. The smallest package is for 6. If you divide the price for a pack of 6, it's
7.50 USD with inserts. The package is 45 dollars.

Then there's the "over-time" factor. Diapers do wear out over time. Some manufacturers only estimate their diapers only last for 181 washes. If you use Sunbaby diapers only and wash your diapers every other day, that means Sunbaby pockets will last approximately a year without wearing out.

In other words, if you want to cloth diaper a child from birth until potty training, pockets (however inexpensive) are still more expensive than the flats and covers route.

So while those on a budget certainly can use pockets, those who are literally poor would do better to use flats and covers. Hope that helps!