Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Determining Cost savings for Cloth Diapering

This week I am posting about my suggestions for buying diapers with predetermined budget amounts ($200, $400 and $600).  Yesterday we covered the $200 budget and tomorrow and Friday we will cover the $400 budget and $600 budget, but today I wanted to talk about how to determine your savings and thus determine an appropriate budget. 

I am a CPA by trade and therefore I love to analyze data and I LOVE a good excel spreadsheet.  Before switching to cloth I had heard all about the cost savings and frequently heard that disposable diapers will cost $2500 per child.  As I also love coupons and frequently seek out good deals I wanted to see how true this was for me and my family.  I put together a very details excel spreadsheet to analyze the cloth cost savings for my particular situation and so I wanted to share the resources and considerations I used here so that you can apply it to your family.  My information below does not include other "accessories" like a diaper genie, wet bags, etc. so be sure to include that when you do your own calculations.

One of the first things I determined was how much I would spend on disposables from birth through potty training.  I use to use a cheaper brand and buy at a bulk store with coupons so I figure I would spend about $0.12-$0.15 a diaper.  If you go with a more expensive brand (still in bulk) this is probably closer to $0.25 a diaper.  I also figured that I average about 225 diapers a month, this takes into consideration more diapers in the early months and less in the later months.  The average girl will potty train around 30 months and the average boy will potty train around 36 months.  This should give you enough information to calculation your cost in disposables.  For me I conservatively estimated our cost to be between $750 and $1,000 per child.

Next I wanted to estimate my cost to use cloth diapers.  I used the Laundry Cost Calculator to determine how much the additional water and electricity would cost.  I also factored in the cost of additional detergent (tide is about $0.18 a load).  Based on my individual data, I estimate that it costs me about $150 a year to wash my diapers. 

After doing all of my calculations I determined that I definitely save money by switching.  As there is a price associated with the convenience of using disposables, I don't feel that I save enough money to switch if my only reason was cost savings, especially with my cloth diaper buying obsession.  Although I don't save much I have come to really appreciate the non-financial benefits of cloth including less waste (7,000 diapers!!), less diaper rash for my sensitive girls, less chemicals and of course the cute fluff factor!!
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