Friday, November 21, 2008

How can cloth diapers really save money?

When I first considered cloth diapers, I was shocked at how much they were! How could a diaper that costs 15-18 dollars really save me money in the long run? Cloth diapering does require a larger initial outlay of money than disposables. Over time though, it really does pay off.

In the newborn stages, babies can go through 10 diapers (or more) a day. Just about the cheapest I was ever able to find newborn-sized diapers was 20 cents a piece. That's about 2 dollars a day, or $60 a month. Even a very economical disposable at 12 cents a piece would run $36 a month.

As babies get older, they tend to need less diapers. What I noticed is that disposables cost more per diaper as the size increases. Even at a really good sale price of 15 cents a diaper, they are going to cost about $30 a month.

Some people change their children less often to save money on disposables. Yes, they hold a lot, but should they? How often would YOU want your diaper changed? This is clearly not a way to save money!

At $30 (at least a month) for 30 months (assuming a potty-training age of 2 1/2), disposables cost at least $900. You can cloth diaper a baby in prefolds and covers for about $300 dollars birth-potty-training. If you wanted to use the more expensive diapers that are most like disposables, you could still get a good one-size package for less than $500. Sized diapers cost more, as you need to buy multiple sizes. Even spending $400x 3 sizes, you'd spend $1,200 and still come out ahead.

How is that?

You can use your diapers for the next child! Even buying sized diapers for a greater cost, you'd still save money if you used these diapers on another child.

But wait-it gets better!

There is a large market for used diapers. You could save money off the initial cost by buying used. If that's not for you, you can still recoup some of your initial investment by selling the diapers when you are done with them.

It is these two factors-resuability and resale value that turn cloth diapering from a good deal to a great one.

Still having trouble making that initial purchase? Here are some tips:
1.Before the baby, set aside $30-60 a month. This is what you'd be spending on disposables. By 8 months, you'd have at least $240 dollars to buy a simple prefold set or most of a one-size set.

2. Start small. Buy 2 or 3 diapers each month until you have enough to cloth diaper full-time.

3. Buy used! You would be able to spend about 30-50% less on the diapers than you would buying new.

4. Shop sales. Think of what you want and watch for some good deals. Contact cloth diaper stores about what you'd like to buy and see if they can create a package deal for buying in bulk. I have some diaper packages in my store that can lower the cost of cloth diapering.

While I may have answered some financial questions, you may have even more (What are prefolds? Pockets? Ahhhh!) Don't worry! It really is simple, and I'll go over more of the details in another post.