Out of our $300 a month budget for household expenses, one fifth of that ($60!) was going toward the cheapest diapers and wipes I could get my hands on. About the time my second child turned three months old, I realized that having two kids in diapers was just not going to be sustainable. Either we start spending more and watch our dream of owning our own home slip a little further into the future, or I would have to get creative.
I decided to get creative.
When I first heard about cloth diapering, my first impression was that it belonged to the crazy hippie earth-lovers’ movement. (You know, the people so green they refuse to own cars and switch to hitchhiking) Anyhow, my second impression was disgust. “You mean, people actually wash poo in their washers? That’s just gross. Not for me, thank you!”
But the more I looked into it, the more I realized the huge money-saving potential. Since I knew that my husband and I were not done having kids anytime soon (Lord willing, of course), a little investment now could pay off quite a bit in the long run. And so, with martyr-like resolve, I decided to bite the bullet and enter the world of cloth-diapering.
And world it is. There are a gazillion different brands and types and sizes and fabrics and folds and patterns and snaps and inserts and creams and detergents and no-nos and swap sites and everything else you could ever imagine or get confused by.
Although there are tons of different reasons and ways to cloth diaper. Here, I’ll be sharing my way, the super-cheap and relaxed way. When deciding what kind to get, those were my two requirements..
First, I wanted the cheapest of the cheap, without sacrificing on quality or sturdiness since I wanted them to last for multiple children (and still wanted them to do their job of keeping smelliness where it belonged).
Secondly, I wanted something low-hassle. (Do I really need to explain this one?) Life with two kids is busy and life with more than two is probably only getting busier. I didn’t want any sort of complicated care routine adding to my to-do-list. I wanted to diaper and wash and repeat. None of this diaper, spray, soak, wash with specialized detergent only, and then hang-on-the-line-to-dry-because-your-dryer-will-melt-it business.
Eventually, I found exactly what I was looking for. I sacrificed a bit in the convenience department (there’s a bit of fancy folding involved), but otherwise they’ve been very functional, extremely budget, and easy to care for. And my little self grocery raise has been fun to play with too.
After reading a gazillion amazon reviews, I settled on these traditional prefold diapers from Osocozy.
These covers from Thirsties (I can usually use the same cover for the entire day, just swapping the actual diaper underneath as it gets soiled.
A set of snappis to secure the diapers in place.
And a few wet bags to keep the dirty diapers in until I had enough for a full load.
I crunched the numbers for you all below. Keep in mind that as a new cloth-diaperer, I bought everything completely new. I did not like the idea of using some other child’s once-pooed-in diapers on my child. However, now that I know just how clean these diapers are capable of getting (I’d use them to clean my face, y’all), in the future I’d have no qualms about buying used.
THE COST (buying new):
24 Prefold Diapers – $48
6 Diaper Covers – $90
1 Set of Snappis – $10
3 Wet Bags – $57
Total for complete set: $205 (a little over what I was spending on 3 months worth of disposables AND these diapers should work for future children as well!)
I should also mention that there are two sizing options for the kind I used. The first size (adjustable) should fit a baby from 6 to 18 lbs. After that, a second set is needed that should cover a child up until 35 lbs (which is about what my 3 year old weighs). The snappis and wet bags can be reused, but you’ll need to purchase about $140 of new diapers and covers once they outgrow the first set.
But even if I add that together ($345), that’s still under what I would be spending in 6 months (and my almost-three-year old is STILL using diapers overnight). If you were interested in cutting costs even further, you could buy used or even get away with half as many diapers and covers if you’re willing to wash more often. (I wash mine about every 4 days.)
In my next post, I’ll be discussing my process of using and caring for them, along with several unanticipated perks I’ve discovered along the way.