Ironically, the reason that I was first opposed to cloth diapers became the reason I switched to cloth diapers.
No, I didn’t suddenly fall in love with the idea of dealing with poopy cloth diapers.
As with a lot of things, it came down to cost. In the beginning, I was pretty certain that cloth diapers would not save me money. At the time I may have been right. Now, there is no denying that cloth diapers are saving us a significant amount of money!
When our oldest (who is now 7) was born, cloth diapers were not even on my radar. Of course I knew that my mom had used cloth diapers with me and my siblings, but it never even crossed my mind that people actually still used them.
With my second, I saw that two of my sisters-in-law were using modern cloth diapers. I was slightly intrigued, as I had never seen how convenient modern cloth diapers were. I was still imagining diaper pins and plastic pants.
I asked them about how much money they spent on their cloth diapers. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was an investment of several hundred dollars. That sounded like a lot to me.
At the time, I was pretty much the queen of getting disposable diapers dirt cheap. I would combine coupons with deals at places like Walgreens and CVS. When I would find diapers for $3 a pack, I would stock up. And I don’t just mean buying a couple of extra packages. When I would find diapers cheap, I would buy diapers even when I didn’t have a child wearing that size. We had a whole shelf in the garage dedicated to my disposable diaper stash.
We moved across the country to the boonies when our third was still in diapers. As I finished off my stash of disposables, I quickly realized that tracking down all the deals would be impossible. The nearest drugstore is 45 minutes away and Target is an hour away. Any gain in chasing deals would easily be eaten up in gas. For the first time, I was facing paying regular price for diapers, something I had never had to do before.
Suddenly cloth diapers were looking much more financially attractive.
Financial Benefits of Cloth Diapers
- We don’t have to budget for diapers every week/month! While we had to pay upfront for our cloth diapers, with a little deal-finding we were able to save money on cloth diapers too. For less than $100, we got everything we needed. That’s much less than most cloth diapering families. I wrote a whole post on getting cloth diapers free or cheap, so I won’t go into that here, but trust me that it can be done. Cloth diapers do require a couple of additional loads of laundry each week, which takes water, electricity, and detergent. The extra laundry cost is small compared to the savings of not having to keep buying disposables.
- We don’t have extra trips to the store just for diapers. How many times do you make a trip to the store just to get diapers? And how many times do you really get just diapers? Some of my friends here in the boonies will even buy diapers at convenience stores ($$$) when they run out but don’t have time to go all the way to town. They end up paying premium prices!
- Cloth diapers can be used for subsequent children! We were planning to have more kids, so we knew our investment in diapers would continue to save us money. We’re enjoying the savings now, as we don’t have to buy disposable diapers for our 2-month-old
- Cloth diapers hold their value and can be resold when you’re done with them. There is a market for used cloth diapers on ebay, diaperswappers.com, craigslist, and local Facebook groups. If you buy your diapers at a good price, then sell them when you’re done, your overall cost of diapering is very small.
Bonus Benefits of Cloth Diapers
Besides the major financial benefits of cloth diapers, there are some other bonuses:
- I found that I actually enjoyed cloth diapers. I know that sounds ridiculous. I enjoy hanging them to dry and then folding them. There’s something empowering about not relying on disposable diapers.
- In my experience, cloth diapers work better, especially with poop. Every parent knows that baby poop (pre-solid foods) is notorious for diaper blowouts. We don’t have those with cloth diapers. I love that!
- Modern cloth diapers are so stinkin’ cute! I love that they come in so many cute colors and patterns.
- We don’t have to worry about chemicals in disposable diapers or rashes caused by allergies to disposable diapers.
- You have less trash with cloth diapers than with disposable diapers. It’s amazing that a person so little can make such a large contribution to landfills.
Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert
If you are curious about cloth diapers, I highly recommend reading Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert by Erin Odom. In her 200+ page ebook, she goes over all of types of modern cloth diapers (pros, cons, how-to, etc), how to build a cloth diaper stash, how to care for your diapers, and much more. She has an extensive troubleshooting resources as well. I read her book after I had been cloth diapering for over a year, and I still learned some great tips and tricks. If you think you might be interested in cloth diapering (or have already started), Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert is worthwhile comprehensive resource.
How about you?
- Have you considered cloth diapers to save money? Why or why not?
- Have you noticed a cloth diaper comeback where you live? It seems like they are getting more and more popular where I am.
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