The cost of cloth diapering is often a huge turnoff for moms, but don’t cross it off just yet because it can be done even on the smallest of budgets!
The number one reason why I decided to cloth diaper was to save money. I explain further in a separate post which you can read HERE.
For the longest time though I never once considered it because it seemed SO expensive. I would watch cloth diaper reviews on YouTube that I ended up turning off because I thought there was no way I could afford it.
Finally one day I realized that it doesn’t have to be expensive. Sure, you can make it cost more than disposables if you really want to get obsessive over the prints and such but I want you to know right now that it doesn’t have to be!
How Many Diapers Do I Need?
Before going wild and buying all the diapers, (because you can really get caught up in all the cute prints) slow down and think a bit. One of the many questions I get when asked about cloth diapering is how many do I need?
I’ve known of some moms going so overboard that they don’t even realize what they have bought until it arrives in the mail. They are then left with too many diapers and a large dent in their bank account. This is what you need to avoid.
When deciding how many diapers you’ll need there’s a few things to take into consideration.
How Often Do You Plan To Wash?
If you hate doing laundry then you may want to wash only once or twice a week. In that case, you will need more diapers than someone who prefers washing daily or every other day.
How Old Is Your Baby?
Will you be cloth diapering a newborn from the start or are you a bit late to the game and have a one year old? Age and cloth diaper usage vary greatly. On average, a newborn-3 month old baby will go through 10-12 diapers per day compared to a one year old who goes through 3-4.
Will You Be Cloth Diapering Full Time?
If you plan to use disposables at night or while traveling you may not need as many cloth diapers as someone who does it full time.
Plan For The Unexpected
After you have figured out how many diapers you’ll need it would be smart to have a few extra for those days when you are behind on laundry, someone is sick, or the baby has a poop explosion in a fresh diaper and then once again after you changed the second time… (true story, ya’ll).
Are All Diapers $25 A Piece?
No, no, no! Honestly, this is what turned me away from cloth diapering to start. Yes, some diapers are $25 a piece (or more) but those are typically name brand or custom made diapers. I’ll be honest and say that I do have a few of these but didn’t pay full price for any. Plus, they aren’t even a “need” especially if they don’t fit the budget.
The Cheapest Way To Cloth Diaper
If you have near to no money or just want to be extremely frugal I’m about to blow your mind.
Go to the kitchen section of Walmart and look for flour sack towels. You can get a pack of 5 for just less than $5! Buy about 3 packs of those for a total of 15 and all you need now is some covers. The cheapest I have found brand new is from Fluffy Penguin and you can get them for $5 a piece. Purchase 5 of those and you have just cloth diapered for only $40+ tax and shipping.
Do I think this is the easiest method? No. Have I done this myself? Sort of. I used flour sack towels as back ups for when I was behind on laundry and still do it today with my toddler. It takes a bit of extra time with folding but it does absorb really well!
But I Want Easy and Cheap…
So maybe you aren’t digging the idea of folding but still cannot afford expensive diapers. If you are this person you may like pocket diapers. They are what some call “modern cloth diapering.” Its as simple as stuffing a pocket with a layer of absorbency and then you put it on just like you would a disposable. Easy!
Although you cannot reuse the shell multiple times before washing, (unlike covers) they are still budget friendly. You can get a 6 pack of Alva pocket diapers plus inserts on Amazon for $29 right now!
What Is My Personal Preference?
I have tried just about every type of cloth diaper out there and several different brands. As you all know, I try to be as frugal as I can be but I also look for high quality. To me if I can spend a bit more and get extra use out of the item then in the long run it has saved me money! What works for me may not work for you but since you asked I have to tell 🙂
I like using a mix of diapers. Throughout the day I do Cloth-eez cotton prefolds paired with a Thirsties cover. For overnight diapers I put on a Cloth-eez cotton fitted with a hemp/cotton blend insert and a cover on top. Remember how I said I do have a few more expensive diapers? I currently have 4 and use them for the diaper bag when we are out and about. They are Thirsties Natural All In One diapers. I have a couple packs of flour sack towels as well and that’s it!
Can I Buy Used Diapers?
You can and I highly recommend it! I bought the bulk of my cloth diapers used in a bundle and it had a mix of cheap and name brand, as well as various types of diapers too. I used them for a few months until I decided what worked best for us and then sold them to buy my preference.
It’s definitely a good way to try out cloth diapering if you aren’t sure about it. Purchase a few used diapers for under $20 and give it a try! Worse case scenario you can sell it back and in some cases more than what you put in for it if you got a bargain.
Facebook Marketplace or BST Groups
Facebook is my chosen way to purchase cloth diapers. I prefer meeting people in person because then I can thoroughly look over the item well for flaws. I would like to say buy used diapers with caution because it is easy to get ripped off and sadly I have experienced this first hand. Every now and then I’ll see someone selling a diaper for retail price with shot elastic and horrid stains. Not cool.
Consignment stores or yard sales
Sometimes you can get a good deal at consignment stores or yard sales. Oftentimes I’ve found these places to sell them super cheap and i’d say that’s likely because they have no clue of their worth.
Discounts, Diaper Loans, and Non-Profits
If you’d rather purchase new and high quality diapers but prefer not to pay full price then you need to keep your eyes open for discounts. The best bang for your buck on new diapers is either for Earth Day or Black Friday. I got a free diaper cover on Black Friday 2 years ago!
Diaper companies are always coming up with new prints for the upcoming season and when that happens typically the “out of style” prints go on sale. That’s how I bought my first natural all in one diaper.
Alternatively, you may want to try reaching out to local cloth diapering mamas! They could be open to letting you borrow a variety of diapers to try out before taking the leap and purchasing them yourself. A plus factor to that is you’ll have someone to help if you have questions.
Depending where you are located you may be able to get diapers for free or for a low price through certain programs. I’ve heard of a few pregnancy centers who offer this to low income families as well as other non profits. Check out what your area has to offer and you may be surprised!
Make A Budget and Stick To It
This one’s important! If you only have $50 to spend on diapers then stick to that amount even if it means you’ll only have a few to start. Wash them daily and slowly add to the collection if you have to.
What I would recommend is buying a few at a time throughout your pregnancy. If you have a baby shower put your preferred cloth diapers on the registry or ask for an Amazon Gift Card!
Maybe you received a bonus during Christmas or have some extra money available. If so, you may want to consider buying a diaper stash in bulk. This is what I did!
Cloth diapering can be WAY cheaper than disposables but it can also be more expensive if you want it to be. Please don’t think it has to be though! You can spend $50 or $2000 but whatever you decide make sure you can afford it.
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My Other Cloth Diapering Posts
Do You Cloth Diaper?
If you cloth diaper what are some ways you have saved money? If you don’t cloth diaper but would like more info let me know in the comments and I would love to answer your questions!
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