Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Penny Pinching & Cloth Diapers: Perspective from a Broke Mom
Um… YES! For starters, can someone pick my jaw up off the ground for me? I seem to have dropped it. Because apparently I'm pregnant. Secondly… how am I going to pay for my own small human? Adorable as they are, they aren't cheap. I'm an actor. My boyfriend is a culinary artist (or a cook, for those of you who don't know the lingo). What on earth are we going to do?
When we found out that our very unexpected (but VERY wanted) little bundle of joy was on the way, we had our fair share of panic attacks over how to provide for said tiny joy bundle. Almost immediately we began researching ways to save money, and do you know what was the number one expense we found ourselves facing? Diapers. Not medical bills. Not feeding or clothing our little human. Diapers.
^The unexpected joy bundle.
Almost immediately we made the decision to use cloth diapers. We began buying them anytime we had extra money in our account. When asked what the new baby needed most, we instantly responded with "cloth diapers!", and then proceeded to tell the inquiring individual what brands were our favorites (bumGenius, GroVia, and Rumparooz).
How did we come to this conclusion? Well, let's start by looking at prices. A case of disposable diapers will run you a minimum of $24. The average newborn will go through roughly a case and a half (at LEAST) every two weeks. That's three cases in a month, if you're one of the lucky ones. At $24/case, that's a minimum of $72 a month. At the lowest rate, that totals out to $864 in your first year alone, and we haven't even factored in the price of wipes (which you will go through faster than a frat house goes through cheap beer). Most babies aren't potty trained until they are at least two and a half years old, so that brings our total to $2,160. Add in $9 on wipes every three weeks… $2,316
Remember that math we just did? Hold on tight kids, because we're about to break it out again.
If you choose to cloth diaper, it's recommended that you have at least 15 diapers in your collection. We have 19. We're over achievers that way. Let's say each diaper cost us $17 (they didn't. We found almost half of them on sale. But for the sake of math, we'll stick with $17). That would mean that between what we bought ourselves, and what was bought for us, a total of $323 was spent on our cloth diaper collection. Even if you factor in having to wash them, I wash our little man's clothes along with the diapers. We buy one jug of baby detergent every two months. One jug is $13. That makes $234 total in detergent, assuming we potty train by age two and a half. We spend $9 on wipes every three weeks. That's $156/year. Which is $390 total. Add $45 for the bidet attachment that we have on our toilet (that my mommy actually purchased for us, because mommies are the BEST) That brings our total cloth diapering cost up to….$992.
$992 vs. $2,316? That seems like a no-brainer. Especially when you consider the fact that we want to have more children, and the diapers that we have will be usable on another baby after our first little dude is done with them. BUT for funzies, let's go ahead and see how much you would spend if you had three kiddos in disposable diapers…. $6,948.
Once again, NOPE.
What turns most people off of cloth diapers? First of all, they think it's going to be super messy. Not true. Actually, we've had wonderful luck containing messes (I prefer the term 'poosplosion') with the cloth diapers. Any time we have to use a disposable? Eesh. Poosplosion. With the bidet attachment for our toilet, the diapers are practically clean already when I put them in the washing machine. They are so easy to clean, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. The other factor that deters most naysayers? The price. They see $16/diaper, and they decide that it's just too much money up front. But… well, you saw the math.
Grand total, we will be saving $1,324. For two people who have jobs in the arts, that's a lot of money. With everything that we will have saved on diapers alone, we can make sure that our son is able to do things like art classes, piano lessons, or soccer (which will require his dad and I to pretend we actually know jack diddly about sports, but hey. He's our son. We'll learn!). With that money, we can make sure that he is clothed, because let's face it: babies grow FAST. I pitched the idea to my boyfriend that we could use the money to turn his room into the Batcave, but he didn't go for it. Something about a college fund being more important. Weirdo.
Long story short: even with all the expense involved in the upkeep of cloth diapers, it was still considerably less of a strain financially than using disposable. The mess contained in the diapers is so much easier to clean than the poosplosions that disposables tended to cause. And most importantly… They're just cuter! All in all, I'm so happy with our diapers. They have served, and will continue to serve us well. I love 'em. And I can't recommend them highly enough!
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