Save a Bundle by Using Cloth Diapers

cloth vs disposable diapersBy Shannon Christman

A toddler has control of nearly $1,500 of our household budget this year. Yes, you read that right: how our family will spend more than a thousand dollars depends on the whims of a child who throws a tantrum when he’s told he can’t have any more chocolate pudding. We could use that money to buy a plasma-screen television or increase a college savings fund, but until my little boy stops resisting our attempts at potty training, that $1,500 is literally disposable income.

When I was pregnant, I failed to seriously consider the alternative of cloth diapers, a decision I am starting to regret. Every time I see my son disappear into a corner to fill his diaper,

...

[Continue Reading at SavingAdvice.com]

This entry was posted in Saving Money. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Save a Bundle by Using Cloth Diapers

  1. Teri says:

    I just have to add that cloth diapers have come a LONG WAY in recent years. They are really nice and convenient as a whole. Most people I find make them out to be a lot worse than they are (who have never tried them).

    My story is that I babysat for a woman in the 80s who used a diaper service. They were still using pins to attach the diapers then but I was so fascinated by the idea I decided then (at 13?) that I would use a diaper service one day. So I did just that when I had kids. LOVE IT. I wouldn’t say it necessarily saved money (might cost a little more) but the big picture is kids potty train sooner. Also, when I had my second child I had 2 in diapers for about a year and the diapers on the second child were essentially free the second year. The economies of scale are awesome with a diaper service so we paid little more for 2-3 times as many diapers.

    Not to mention trash pickup is expensive here and we don’t really generate much trash (so can use smaller trash bins to save money overall). That with the economies of scale and earlier potty training can make a diaper service a pretty good alternative – may save you a little money in the long haul and also feel good about not filling up the landfills.

    I always laugh when people are in awe I use a diaper service, about how hard it must be. I Am like, um, it is just like a disposable (just throw it in the “trash” and leave it out every week) except fresh ones get to delivered right to my front door every week. More convenient if you ask me. ;)

  2. Teri says:

    Just had to add after re-reading the post that today you don’t really need clips either. All-in-one diapers come with velcro closures. For us the diaper service provides the diapers and I bought a few liners/covers (velcro to close) that are still going strong 4 years later. Wasn’t much of an investment.

    My smaller child has been in the same size diaper for about 18 months and will probably be potty-trained before the next size, which my older son only used a few months. The same size can last a couple of years easy – you are right on that!

  3. Mike D. says:

    12 diapers a day for a child older than 1 year? That sounds a bit crazy to change a diaper almost every waking hour? I have 1 year old twins and do about 12 a day. I think you pmight be “padding the #’s here…no pun intended. Also as bad as disposible diapers are for the environment, cloth diapers have major environmental impact: A study done by Franklin Associates, Limited, makes it unclear whether the cloth alternative is any better than the disposable. Their study suggests that there are equally harmful effects on air and water from the energy and chemicals required to launder the cloth diapers. The study concluded that cloth diapers used twice as much energy and four times as much water as disposables, and created greater air and water pollution than disposables.

  4. Mike D. says:

    Here is some more info showing that $1500/yr is a bit high: “We’ve calculated that disposable diapers can cost between $1500 and $2100 over the course of the three years it takes the average child to be toilet trained,” Diane Weathers of Consumer Reports said.

  5. MoneyNing says:

    Mike,

    I think that even though the studies show that it takes $500-$700 per year, it does not mean Shannon’s author) comments statement of it costing her $1500/yr is overstated. It could be that it costs her $1500/yr but other people might get by with $200/yr creating an average of $500 – $700

  6. Irmine says:

    I just have a baby and she is 2 months old . I never think that baby use that much diapers. I really like that idea about clothe diaper ,i think i am gonna start using them so i can save some money.

  7. Teri says:

    I don’t buy those studies for a second. They always leave out the environmental impact of manufacturing diapers. It’s a double-edged sword, manufacturing AND disposing of maybe 8-10 diapers, per day, per child. Cloth gets nowhere close to this, as a small amount of cloth diapers will last the lifetime of a child. There is no way there can be any comparison. It does not take that much to launder a few cloth diapers.

    As a whole I just don’t buy it. Most of the people I know who use cloth home launder and don’t use a lot of chemicals or resources towards it. The study seems really blown out of proportion overall on the laundering diaper side.

    I think though if everyone did one or the other it would make a significant environmental impact. I won’t argue that. Obviously the tables are tipped to the disposable side and I think it is nice so many people these days look to other alternatives. Water and resources used aside, the landfills teeming with chemicals and excrement from disposables can not be a good thing.

  8. Jenny says:

    Forgive me for asking a kind of gross question, but do you have to empty the cloth diapers into the toilet first before putting them in the wash?

  9. Teri says:

    Jenny – yes you would want to if you wash yourself. But like the article states, it’s not really that different than wiping a baby’s butt anyway – that in itself can be pretty disgusting. LOL.

    But if you have a diaper service – no – the service will take care of it. As the kids get older poop gets more solid so I often just plop the solid parts in the toilet anyway – why not. Not a biggie. But is the biggest difference as far as how convenient a diaper service can be.

  10. Melissa says:

    I chose to cloth diaper for money saving purposes and don’t regret it. My husband also was squeamish about the cloth diapers, but he got over it after only a few changes. I started with a bundle of prefolds from a garage sale and have been adding to my pile by sewing some using free plans from websites from inexpensive flannel bought from stores or old lady moo-moos I’ve bought from the thrift store. And I am not a good sewer; they aren’t pretty or straight, but they are serviceable. I would suggest spending some money and not scrimping on the diaper covers. I bought some inexpensive Gerber ones online and they are very poor quality. I had to resew on the velcro almost immediately after beginning to use them and they are not holding up well (daughter is 10 months today). I am considering splurging on some well made ones in the near future.

  11. Kirsten says:

    I did cloth with my daughter from birth to 4 months and loved it. I used a service so I never had to wash diapers. I did wash the covers but that wasn’t a big deal and I bought good covers, not cheapies. I never had to deal with diaper rash while she was using them. I have since gotten a few One Size BumGenius diapers and use them overnight and it has worked well. For baby #2 I am registering for more BumGenius diapers and plan to use cloth diapers longer than I did this time.

  12. Shannon Christman says:

    In answer to Mike D. and MoneyNing —

    Our average might really be more around 10 per day, but I do know that we generally buy a box of 100 diapers each week. Occasionally (once every 5-6 weeks), we can skip a week.

    My son soaks through diapers quickly, and I don’t change him unless he really needs a change. He is unusual, though — I will admit that most people would indeed spend far less on disposable diapers than we do.

  13. Cindy B. says:

    I used cloth diapers with my second child who is now 12. I purchased a Diaper Duck that let me wring out the diapers in the toilet with out getting my hands wet. I washed every other day with hot water. I used diaper covers instead of pins. The diapers are still in service as car wash rags. The covers went to my brother for his kids that also used cloth. We used disposables as a convenience when traveling on vacation, and on sleepovers with Grandma. I cringe when I see our neighbors and her 3 year old is still in disposable diapers, and they have a new baby. What a waste.

  14. Jessica says:

    We have found a site Rogers Market (unrelated to our site)that has a dozen DSQ qaulity Indian prefolds for around $1.50 each. Believe the price is $17.95 for a dozen.

    Address to the site is http://www.rogersmarket.com

    Probably have to cut and paste into your address bar.

    Just thought we’d share this money saving idea with everyone.

  15. sunny says:

    My daughter is expecting twin boys in Oct or Nov. We are considering cloth diapers to cut down on expenses but have been unable to find any water proof covers,ie. the old rubber or plastic pants. Can you help? Did you find any? Please help us…Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>