Cloth Diapers vs. Disposables: Cost Comparison

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Cloth Diapers vs. Disposables: Cost Comparison
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First things first, this is not a post on how to cloth diaper, what the different types of cloth diapers are, or any of the other million details that could be written about cloth diapering. There are enough sites devoted to that already, so this is a post about my experience and our financial savings.

Why cloth diapers beat the pants off disposable ones!

Before we even had our baby Nolan I decided we would use cloth diapers.  I could not stand the thought of so many diapers just going into the landfills, and what’s more, I couldn’t stand the thought of buying something that’s sole purpose was to hold poop just so I could throw it away….that’s worse than watching your money burn!

My husband Jake was quickly on board after a little explanation of what to do with the poop (no, I won’t go into that here!). So I started to do some research.  I wanted the easiest, cheapest, cloth diaper solution.  I chose to go with pocket diapers and through a suggestion of a friend who does her research, I picked Sunbaby diapers

The very popular (and very similar) brand, BumGenius, runs about $18/diaper plus tax.  The Sunbaby’s are about $5 per diaper with no tax (they come from China, don’t worry, not a sweat shop!)  They had good enough reviews, and for that much savings, it was a no-brainer! (Plus, they come in super cute patterns!) 

Now that I’m 9 months in, I think I’ll start to buy BumGenius because the quality is better and I think they will last longer.  But we’ll just put that on the registry for the next kid!

Here’s our assumptions:

If you do disposable diapers –  lets say you buy the store brand which equals .15c/diaper and own a Diaper Genie.  We would need to also buy the Diaper Genie inserts and up the size of our garbage can which would increase our monthly payment by $7 per month.

If you do cloth diapers –  lets assume you’re somewhat of a minimalist (some of these cloth diapers are VERY cute and I’ve known people to become addicted!).  You do need a diaper pail, wet-bags, diaper sprayer and some extra inserts (boy, can those babies pee!)

You need about 24 diapers in your stash for 1 kid. I wash on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and it’s just enough to get me through the weekend.

So here’s the break-down:

Let’s assume we average 7 diaper changes per day over 2 years, about the age of potty training (side note: another benefit of cloth diapering is that children in cloth diapers generally potty train sooner! It may not even take the full 2 years).

First child Disposables BumGenius Sunbaby
Upfront cost $30 – Diaper Genie $450 – 24 diapers with 48 inserts
$60 – Add’l inserts (microfiber, hemp, etc.)
$40 – Wet-bags and pails
$50 – Diaper sprayer
______________________________
$600 Total Upfront Cost
$120 – 24 diapers with 48 inserts
$60 – Add’l inserts (microfiber, hemp, etc.)
$40 – Wet-bags and pails
$50 – Diaper sprayer
_____________________________
$270 Total Upfront Cost
Monthly cost $35 – Diapers
$7 – Add’l WM garbage cost
$7 – Diaper Genie refills
__________________________
$50 – Total Monthly Cost
$5 – Water and energy $5 – Water and energy
Cost over 2 years $1,230 $720 $390

People….this is a savings (for us) of $840 over 2 years!  Now, if we potty train Nolan before our next child is born (no, I’m not pregnant), we will save even more!

Check this out:

Second child Disposables BumGenius Sunbaby
Upfront cost $0 – already own $0 – already own $0 – already own
Monthly cost $35 – Diapers
$7 – Add’l WM garbage cost
$7 – Diaper Genie refills
__________________________
$50 – Total Monthly Cost
$5 – Water and energy $5 – Water and energy
Cost over 2 years $1,200 $120 $120

Do you see what I see?! A savings of 90%!!! HELLLLLOOOOO!!! How is that not worth a few extra loads of laundry?! 

What else could you do with that $1,080?!?!  I think I might go on a vacation? (On second thought, maybe just use it to pay the bills).

It’s worth mentioning that your diapers may wear out by the end of kid numero dos….but even with that in mind, you’ve got over a grand to spend on new diapers (so you’re still out FAR ahead!)  On the other hand…I know people who have used the same diapers through 3 kiddos, so that means you just got $3,000 richer! (or something like that….)

Another thing worth mentioning is that with disposable diapers you will be using disposable wipes, another monthly cost.  Cloth wipes are super easy to use with cloth diapers and are a small up-front cost (around $20 unless you make your own.)  You can also use disposable wipes with cloth diapers so I chose not to include it in the cost comparison.  Just know that the cloth wipes will pay for themselves after just a couple of months and create even more savings!

The numbers speak for themselves, but there is obviously a life-style factor when choosing cloth diapers vs. disposable.  People can get really judgy about this, but as a mama you just gotta do what you gotta do! Educate yourself and then choose what is right for your family.


Courtesy of IHeartBudgets.net

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Author placeholder image About the author:
Known as Mrs. I Heart Budgets, Michelle and her husband Jacob run the site IHeartBudgets.net.
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