Wednesday, November 13, 2013

School of Cloth Week #2 - Investing in Cloth Diapers

This week the school of cloth is focusing on the financial investment for cloth diapers.  While saving money is not one of my main reasons for cloth diapering, I will say that the thought of spending $400 all at once did deter me from switching from disposable to cloth diapers for a while. 

Transitioning to Cloth Diapers
If you are still pregnant:
If you are still pregnant then this will be even easier for you than those switching from disposables.  I think the best way to build a "stash" while pregnant is to start buying 1-2 diapers (or saving the money for them) a month.  If you have 8-9 months to space out your buying then you can also make sure to take advantage of good deals or sign up for give aways.  Most online cloth diaper retailers have a newsletter that providers subscribers with discount codes and deals.  Additionally, there are tons of give aways all the time for cloth diapers (Padded Tush Stats and Change-Diapers both have a good roundup of all the current give aways).  Even better than buying them yourself is asking friends and family to buy you 1 (or more!) cloth diapers as a baby gift (some site even have registries), cloth diapers are truly the gift that keeps on giving!

If you are currently using disposables:
Because I didn't switch my first daughter until she was about 17 months old, I fell into this category.  Its definitely harder to spend money on both cloth diapers as well as disposable diapers while you build up your stash.  I did a lot of calculating before deciding to switch and the break even point (the point where your initial investment in cloth equals what you would have spent in disposables, I went simple and didn't adjust for inflation, interest, etc.) is at about 13 months assuming you spent about $400 on your cloth.  I think if you are making a transition like this and don't have a large budget then you have a few options to make it work: slowly integrate cloth into your life based on the RDA's suggestions, use cheaper options such as flats/covers or less expensive diapers or buy used diapers

What if You Can't Afford Diapers?
There are multiple amazing diaper lending not for profits (that will be covered next week on the School of Cloth) that you can contact and that will work with you and help if possible.  Additionally, I am really impressed by the free downloads offered over at Dirty Diaper Laundry about cloth diapering on the cheap using t-shirts and home made no-sew fleece covers.

How Much Money Can You Expect to Save?
My husband has probably read this prompt and wants to laugh.  While in the long run we will actually save money cloth diapering, I do have quite a spending habit and diaper collection (thankfully my wonderful husband gives me a monthly diaper "allowance").  How much you will save depends on how much you spend on your diapers and how much use you get out of them.  Although a lot of sites say that it will cost you about $2,500 to use disposable diapers for one child, I think that is not a realistic number.  Most people that I know that use disposable diapers will use a mainstream brand and on average probably spend about $40 a month on diapers.  I have also read that the average girl potty trains at 30 months and the average boy at 36 months.  Based on my calculations the cost to wash your diapers each year is approximately $100 in extra water, electric and detergent.  Therefore if you are just diapering one child, who potty trains at 30 months ($1,200 in disposables or $250 in water/electric/detergent) and you spend $400 on your cloth diapers you can expect to save about $550 on that child.  This number of course goes up based on the number of kids who use your diapers and also if you are able to sell your diapers after you are done.
My husband wants a lot of kids and I want a lot of diapers, so somewhere along the line we will hit our own break even point!

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