Friday, October 3, 2008

How much money will you save with cloth diapers?

One of the questions I get asked a lot is about the financial savings. Who can blame you? Our economy is in the toilet and all of us need to save money where we can. Luckily, you can easily save A LOT of money using cloth diapers. Just how much, you may ask? Consider this scenario:

My local supermarket carries an 88-count of Huggies for $26.99. This means you paying $0.31 per diaper. Keep in mind that you are throwing this away afterwards.

If you average about 10 diaper changes a day (more in the newborn stage and less in the toddler stage) and you child potty trains around 2.5 years old, you are spending an astonishing $2828.75 just on diapers PER child! What if they don't potty train until 3.5? Then you are spending $3960.25 on diapers. Then you factor in pull-ups which are outrageously expensive and it is even more!

Now lets consider cloth diapers:
Say you would like the least expensive option possible. This is definitely prefolds, snappis and covers.
  • You'll need 2 dozen prefolds in newborn and 2 dozen in premium (to fit toddlers) - $120 total.
  • 8 Snappis totalling $2.49*8=$19.92
  • 12 Diaper Covers with 4 in small, 4 in medium and 4 in large. Let's consider the Imse Vimse Organic Diaper Covers for this example. $14.60*12=$175.20
  • ALL of this totals $315.12

Compare this to the above figure of $2828.75. What would you do with an extra $2513.63? Perhaps put it in a college savings fund (you know you'll need it!)? Or maybe go on your first family vacation? Either way, the money will be better spent than on something you will throw in the garbage.

Let's consider another scenario. Perhaps you are looking for an easier diapering system than prefolds.

Any way you look at the numbers, cloth diapering is so much better on your wallet! And when you factor in any subsequent children and the additional savings - it is a no-brainer!


Anonymous said...

Why aren't you factoring in the cost/environmental effects of cleaning the cloth diapers over and over again? What about the water and the electricity that will be used? Not to mention if you opt for a cleaning service. What about the cost of fuel to transport the linens back and forth for each cleaning? If you are really interested in a fair, well-rounded comparison, then bloggers, I urge you to check out this article:

Sultana said...

While there certainly are good and interesting points in the article that you linked to, there are some major flaws in the design of the study that they cite. You can read more about that here:

Secondly, I certainly should factor in the cost of washing 2 extra loads of laundry a week. That extra electricity and time in the dryer (if you use a dryer as opposed to hanging them in the sun) would be $.026 per diaper which takes into account electricity and detergent costs. You can see the calculations here:

Thirdly, the diapers that I am talking about are NOT cleaned by a cleaning service and therefore there are no fuel costs to transport the diapers back and forth.

When you look at ALL of these factors, it is still a simple choice in terms of economics and environmental stewardship. You can use organically grown cotton and lessen that impact even more. The bottom line is that if you choose to have children, you will either need to diaper them in something or use EC. Most at this point choose to use diapers and by far the most economical choice and environmentally friendly choice is cloth. If you would like more information and resources on this, please see: