When it comes to babies and saving money, it can feel a bit daunting considering how much stuff is touted as essential. Having a three month old and a four year old, the sheer magnitude of “stuff” could easily be overwhelming. One of the ways we’ve found seriously effective in saving money is cloth diapers.
With our first kid, I knew we wanted to use cloth because who wants to cover a $20 bill in baby poop and throw it in the trash? Not us. I did lots of research and talked to friends who paved the cloth diaper path before me, and I realized that we could make it happen. I also realized that prior to disposable diapers coming around in the mid-1900’s, the ONLY diaper option was cloth. Convenience can both cost and complicate things.
I started looking around on Craigslist and garage sales, and found great deals on used diapers. There are also some diaper swapping/info sites where people sell or even trade diapers. Trading can be effective when you need to swap out sizes. I couldn’t let the idea of getting used cloth diapers turn me off to the idea. New ones can be very expensive, which would have made the whole money saving endeavor pointless. I always wash used diapers a couple times before I use them, so I’m very comfortable that they’re totally safe before they touch my baby’s booty.
I stocked up on pocket style cloth diapers as I saw them available in different places, and spent a total of about $300 for everything. Now that we’re on to baby number two, we’re using the same diapers, and haven’t had to buy any disposables. It also helped that my aunt gifted us a diaper service subscription for the first few months, but we’re using our own diaper stash now and have saved a bunch of money.
I remember as a first time mom it was very intimidating, but then I saw patterns for making cloth diapers out of old t-shirts, and leftover fabric. I mean, we’re talking about absorbing and containing pee and poop. There are certainly things that make cloth diapering more convenient, but let’s make good use of rocket scientists and save their work for rocket science, not cloth diapering (because it’s not rocket science). It’s actually fun when you get into it.
Certainly, getting into a good wash routine is key, but I figure I would have spent something like $500/yr on disposables, so I’ve already saved $700 having used the cloth on my oldest. Not having to buy disposables for my son saves even more (something like $1000-$1500 depending on when he potty trains). And, if we have more kids, the saving will continue. I’ll resell them when I’m done, to make back at least a portion of what we spent and we’ll almost come out even. We could say that it will all come out in the wash (pun most definitely intended).