Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cloth Diapers: Cheaper Than You Think!

This post was supposed to be entered in a contest to win 12 free bumGenius diapers, but I delayed making the charts and adding the photos that were required, and I didn't meet the deadline. Everything was already written though, so I figured I might as well post it anyway. I hope this answers some common questions about the cost of cloth diapering. If you still have questions I didn't touch on, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them!

They're So Expensive....
It may seem like it. Up front, cloth diapers will cost you more than those huge packs of disposables that your friends and family will dump on you at your baby shower. I knew early on that I would be a cloth diapering momma, and I actually had to INSIST to my shower guests to please not buy me any disposable wipes or diapers. But you know what? If each of your shower guests gifts you with one cloth diaper (only a $20 or so investment on their part), that could be an amazing start to your collection!

I think I received around 7 diapers as gifts. I have 24 now (maybe... it's hard to count the exact number when some are always in the dirty bin). 24 - 7 = 17 FuzziBunz that I actually paid for. The going price for FuzziBunz One Size diapers is $19.95 per diaper. $19.95 x 17 = $339.15 (before tax). When you consider diapering a baby for two to three years, $339.15 is NOTHING. Wal-Mart's Parent's Choice diaper is $0.15 per diaper. If babies use approximately 8 diapers a day (That's being conservative. Newborns use many more, and you can't forget sick days), that's $438 a year, using the cheapest of the cheap disposables, and who knows how well THEY'LL absorb your baby's pee or block blowouts (I make no guarantees).

Who says you have to pay $339.15 for cloth anyway? That's using a popular brand with lots of bells and whistles, and buying them new (you can buy used cloth diapers on!). How does $200 sound? $200 is entirely possible when you choose the Econobum or Flip diapering systems. I bought a couple Flips and their disposable inserts for when we go on trips and they could not be easier to use, and are just as reliable as my trusted FuzziBunz. And remember, the cost is $200 TOTAL. The $438 I mentioned before was cheap disposables for ONE YEAR. You're a lucky parent if your baby only needs diapers for one year! Plus, I imagine that most parents want something better than "Parent's Choice" diapers, am I right? A pack of 222 Pampers will cost $48.49 when bought at Target. Enter that into our equation of 8 diapers a day for a year equals a whopping $637.80 a YEAR! How many parents do you know who buy their diapers from Target? Diaper a baby at that cost for three years and you are very close to spending $2,000, my friend. Cloth diapers look a lot cheaper now, don't they?

But... the Laundry!
I know, I was initially disgusted by the idea of throwing poop and pee in the washing machine, too. But even with disposables, your washing machine will not be immune to receiving loads of soiled clothes. When you have a baby, it all comes with the territory. As far as how many loads you have to do, that's entirely up to you. I wash every day and a half, mostly because I like having a big cushion of clean diapers between washes, and also because that's when my diaper pail fills up. If I wanted to, I could get another diaper pail and stretch my collection to wash every two and a half days. Or I could increase my collection to further lengthen the time between washings! For now, a day and a half is just fine for me, but you see that it doesn't have to be so often.

Whether you sign up for a cloth diaper service to wash all of your diapers, or whether you do it at home, I can't deny that you will be paying those extra charges on top of what you paid for your diapers. I can't speak for diaper services since I don't use one, but I'll reveal what it costs me to wash my diapers at home: $13 per month. The difference in my water bill from washing diapers every other day is $10. Once again, if you wash less often, that amount will be less. As far as the power used to run the washer and dryer... I have no idea. I make use of the "budget billing" option on my power bill where the company charges me the same amount every month regardless of what my actual usage was for the month, and then that amount gets recalculated twice yearly to keep up with my usage (we have an old, drafty house, and that prevents us from paying $300 a month to stay warm in the winter). Want to use less power? If you have enough diapers to do so, run up a clothesline and dry them naturally. What about detergent, you ask? I use a $9 box of Planet detergent every three months. That brings my total to $13 a month to wash diapers. O M G, that's $156 a year!! Haha, that's still chump change compared to disposables.

Potty Train Sooner!
I was hoping (and it's happening), that cloth diapers would help R potty train sooner than disposables. You hear of most disposable-diapered kids potty training around 3 years old; Huggies wants you buying those Pull-ups! I've sat R on the potty since she was 12 months old, and now, at 21 months, she's starting to "get it." She FEELS the wetness next to her skin and pulls at her diaper. Yay! Just in time before her sibling arrives. I won't lie, I've been hesitant to have two in cloth diapers, mostly because our stash is just big enough for one baby. I didn't want to have to buy MORE diapers when R wouldn't be in them for too much longer and we aren't having any more babies after #2. My goal is to have a seamless transition: R starts wearing training pants before baby is born, and baby gets all the diapers. Fingers crossed!

Recycle for the Next Kid!
What if you have two kids, two years apart? That's a probable 5 years of diapers. Do I need to run that through the calculations for using disposables? I shudder at the thought. Let's instead run our cloth diaper calculations (I'm excited about this!). Say you spent $339.15 on your collection, same as I did. Say you spend $13 a month on washing, same as I do. You don't have to buy any more diapers because you already have what you need for your next child. Guess what? It costs a little over $1,000 to cloth diaper with those parameters for FIVE YEARS. Remember how much it cost to put one baby in Pampers for three years? Imagine buying diapers for another kid on top of what you were buying for the firstborn, and lengthen that time. Doesn't look pretty, does it?

In conclusion, I am so happy I chose to cloth diaper R, and I'm thrilled to reuse my stash for my next baby. I'm even more happy to eventually sell my collection on Ever heard of disposables making money for you? Haha! Too funny!



MooMooKITTEN of Death said...

We love our cloth and our Fluffy butt. I have tons of diapers that range from $2 each to $30 and each have a place in my stash. I wouldn't change it for anything. I have enough diapers to go a whole week or more without doing laundry however, I've never pushed it. We do diapers once every 3 or 4 days in the winter provided there aren't any gross poopy diapers and every 2 days in the summer. Even working full time and having a baby in cloth it is very maintainable and manageable, you just have to have enough diapers.

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