Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Want to Save $1400 per child in diapers???

I have finally, finally done the math on what kind of money you save with cloth diapering your child. It's astounding. I knew it was over $1000 per child, I just didn't get the numbers exactly. So I think it never hit me how huge the savings could be. (Next post will detail types of cloth diapers - too cute/pretty!)

I'm going to show you the exact math for what it cost me. These numbers will change a bit and depending on what cloth diapers you get, and how many you get. But in general, these statistics will be very close to how much you will save (I don't say can save, I say will!).

I did not know how much a family spends on diapers a month, because that will hugely depend on what brand they choose, how many their child goes through, and what kind of deals they get (Costco/Sam's Club, Coupons, etc). I just took a $75 average that I got from looking on a website that had families listing their costs as $60 to $100 a month.

So, let's break it down. Here's what I actually have spent by having my daughter in diapers for almost 18 months now. I wash every other day (although I initially bought only 12 diapers and washed every single day for 9+ months).

$291.63 - 18 Diapers (All One-Size Pocket Diapers like BumGenius, Fuzzi Bunz, Happy Heineys)
$37.05 - 2 Planetwise Wetbags (One is plenty, I just like to have two)
$15.39 - One Year's Worth of increase in Water Bill from Washing
$15.00 - One Year's Worth of Free & Clear Detergent (estimate)

So my initial cost setting up cloth diapering was $359.07. Each year I pay $30.39 in water bills and detergent costs to wash my diapers. I can't say how much my power bill increased, but I only dry the diaper liners, about 30-45 minutes, so that's not a lot there.

This makes my TOTAL COSTS as follows:
$359.07 - Year One Of Cloth Diapering Child #1
$ 30.39 - Year Two of Cloth Diapering Child #1

Add another baby? Your diapers will still be usable! Places like BumGenius even give you free replacement kits to replace the velcro and elastic on your diapers (I just did that with 2 I'd bought used and it was easy and awesome)!

So, TOTAL COSTS added to another baby?

$ 30.39 - Year One of Cloth Diapering Child #2
$ 30.39 - Year Two of Cloth Diapering Child #2

This is opposed to disposable diapering your child. My numbers using $75/month on diapers.

$ 900 - Year One Of Disposable Diapering Child #1
$ 900 - Year Two of Disposable Diapering Child #1

Add another baby? Buy everything again:

$ 900 - Year One of Disposable Diapering Child #2
$ 900 - Year Two of Disposable Diapering Child #2

Final cost to cloth diapering one child for two years? $389.46

Final cost to cloth diapering two children for two years? $480.63

Final cost to disposable diapering one child for two years? $1800

Final cost to disposable diapering two children for two years? $3600

for cloth diapering one child for two years? $1410.54
Savings for cloth diapering two children for two years each? $3119.37


Crystal Neal said...

I really enjoyed reading your post on cloth diapering! I wanted to post a comment just to put the information out there for those that may be weighing the pros and cons of cloth vs. disposables.

Like you, I used cloth diapers (Bum Genuis) for close to a year. A few months after my daughter was born I began couponing. (and I mean SERIOUSLY couponing in an effort to reduce our household expenses to $30.00/week) I have found that I can purchase disposable diapers for .10/diaper and occasionally for MUCH less.

My "buy price" for diapers is .10/diaper. This works out to about $3.00/pack of diapers. And, many times, I can get them for less than that. Last month I got a case of diapers for .50! I purchase primarily Pampers and Huggies... never store brand. I do this by combining store sales with coupons, but mostly by drug store shopping. And, for the past 10 months we have been spending 40-45 dollars per month on ALL of our household expenses. This includes groceries, paper products, cleaning products, baby supplies, etc. Not quite to my goal of $30/week, but this is working for our family budget right now.

Since we are talking about diapers, my average cost for diapers/month is anywhere from 12-20 dollars/month, depending on what deals I am able to find.
I think that cloth diapers are wonderful and will probably go back to using them as training pants when it's time for potty training. We used our cloth diapers long enough to "pay" for them and have decided that for us, disposables are the way to go.

Again, I think that cloth diapering your babies is WONDERFUL and there are so many benefits (early potty training, no diaper reash, etc.) to using cloth. I wanted to play the "devil's advocate" in a sense to put both sides of things out there! Best of luck to those of you deciding which option works for you! You will make the right decision for your family!

Catherine said...

Wow this is great, Denise! You must've put a lot of effort into researching this. :)

Susannah Forshey said...

I'm so glad you posted this, Denise! I had pretty much lived through the differences, since I used disposables for Violet and am using cloth for Grace. One other thing you didn't account for is wipes. I don't have exact figures for those, but I do know that even in this interim where I'm waiting for my cloth diaper delivery, and using disposables plus cloth wipes....I'm loving the savings AND the way they handle. I purchased a double thickness flannel cotton pack....approxomately 15 or so....and I love how efficient they are. You run them under hot water for a second, and that eliminates the "wipes warmer" thingy, too. :) I only have to use one per soiled diaper since they're so sturdy.

S and H said...

I enjoyed reading this as a way to plan for the future. I'm not really sure whether Stuart and I will use cloth diapers or disposable ones, but one thing we are pretty sold on is making our own baby food rather than buying endless jars of it from the grocery store. I would be curious to know if you see any major savings there as well? Or does it all come out even in the end? Is the extra time preparing the food worth it? etc.

Susannah Forshey said...

So, I know you didn't ask me, personally, Haley, but here's my 2 cents on baby food. I started out making my own, pureeing, cooking, straining, and freezing. Then someone forwarded me a very tantalizing internet coupon for Gerber's organic baby food. I checked them out, and according to their ingredient labels, all that's in them is exactly what I put in mine. Organic carrots, water. That's it. I couldn't purchase my organic carrots for what I would be paying (with the coupon) for that little, so I quit making the baby food, and stocked up with Gerber's organics, using the reprintable internet coupon (it ended up being about $.15 per container). THEN, lo and behold, a little more research into "healthy baby foods" revealed that cooked and pureed veggies and fruits carried a lot less nutrition than raw foods. What was being recommended to me instead, was more raw, naturally soft & palatable foods, such as blueberries, bananas, peaches, egg yolks, avacados, gently-cooked calf liver (bleah, but apparently very rich in vitamins for baby, and Violet loved it!), and soft, soaked grains. Apparently the nutrients in these naturally soft foods are more readily available and more easily absorbed by babies than what is in the cooked-down, pureed foods from either our processors or Gerber's kitchens. That's what I ended up switching to, finally. Price-wise, it is more expensive to buy an avacado than a jar of cooked, strained green beans, but isn't that how it always goes when you try to eat more healthily? I like to think of it as "more bang for your buck" nutritionally-speaking. :)

KAMB said...

AWESOME Denise! You've probably inspired many others to consider cloth diapering! You rock! Speaking of, you should try "Rockin Green" cloth diaper detergent. Discovered it recently and fell in love with it. http://rockingreensoap.com/
I love the Cloth Diaper Whisperer site btw. Thanks for linking it :)

Emily said...

We only used pureed foods for a couple of weeks- when you delay solids until 6 months, there's really no need to puree everything. Once Lucy got the hang of things, we just started feeding her whatever we were eating- minus heavy seasoning. At 10 months, she eats EVERYTHING. And, like someone else mentioned, she LOVES avocado- and what could be easier? The majority of her diet is fruits, veggies, chicken, eggs (scrambled and hard-boiled), and she get some pasta with a sprinkle olive oil.

Lindsay said...

Denise!! Thank you for your sweet comments about Uganda:) I don't have an email for you either:( Mine is rnforchrist@gmail.com
Email me there and we can talk!

Hilary Ann said...


I have a question about the detergent you use. You listed Free and Clear . . . is that All free and clear? I'm in the process of switching over to cloth and trying to choose my detergent. My son has been pretty sensitive to detergents I've used for his cloths, but the All free and clear is one that we've never had issues with. I thought about using that for his diapers as well but I've read some stories with long term problems using All. Love to hear your thoughts!