The Dollar & Scents of Diapering


by Stephanie Berenbaum – July 9, 2010

The Bottom Line Cost of Cloth vs Disposable

My younger son, Andrew, hit a milestone this past weekend.  He actually made pee-pee in the potty.  Well, to be honest, he walked into the bathroom, pulled his (disposable) training pants down, aimed, and peed in the general vicinity of the toilet. Close enough for now. Victory!

Suddenly it dawned on me – after almost 5 years of non-stop diapering – I was nearing the end of my diaper purchasing years.  It made me sort of nostalgic, but then I thought of all the money I am about to start saving!  Having used disposable diapers for both my children, the costs has more than added up over the years….

Of course while I was thinking about all of this, I ran into a friend of mine who has an infant.  As we chatted about potty training and diapers, she started raving about the fabulousness of cloth diapering.  Not only was it better for the environment – but she says she is saving tons of money by doing it!  This old-fashioned option, hadn’t even crossed my mind back when my boys were babies, but it’s rebirth & popularity with earth conscience new moms has really taken off!   But is it really Fab & Fru? And had I really missed the boat?

Cloth vs Disposable

Whether it be on Mommy blogs, Twitter or just among friends,  the debate between whether to use cloth or disposable diapers has become one hot topic. Which is best for the environment? Which fits best for your lifestyle?  Which is most affordable? In fact, after doing my research for this article, I could easily write a dissertation on the subject!  So, if you are in the process of  thinking about what is best for you, your baby and your wallet, here’s glimpse of what you should consider!

Investing in Cloth Diapers

The upfront costs of cloth diapers are high – therefore you really have to think of it as an investment.  However,  if you can handle the front end expense (they vary depending on how fancy you get and which kind of cloth diaper you choose) you can save quite a bit of money in the long run!

Purchasing the diapers, covers and accessories can range from about $300 to $1000, depending on if you go basic white,  print, or organic – there are lots of options in lots of price ranges out there these days. Whether you choose to launder the diapers yourself or use a diaper laundering service, will  also greatly effect the cost of using cloth.

Save & Sell on Ebay

One way to save DRAMATICALLY on upfront costs? Do what my friend did – and – yes – buy them used – on Ebay.  Don’t get squeamish! It has not been problematic for her in the least to properly sterilize and clean the diapers. Buying used, but well taken care of  diapers,  is certainly the most cost effective way to get started using cloth.

On the flip side, if you have been able to keep some of your stash in respectable shape, you too can always sell yours down the road!

Use and Reuse

Another long term cost saving benefit of cloth… If you have more than one child, you will already have diapers and do not need to buy for any subsequent kiddies. This is one area where you can reap huge savings long term!

Cost to the Environment

Regarding the impact on the environment, there has been MUCH debate about how disposables sit in a landfill forever verses the extra energy & chemicals used to wash cloth.  Though neither is really AWESOME for the environment, having dirty diapers sitting in a landfill for eons does seem to me to be the worst scenario of the two…

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11 Responses to “The Dollar & Scents of Diapering”

  1. Denise says:

    I’m definitely an advocate of cloth diapers, as well as EBay :)
    I’m not a mom yet, but my mom used cloth diapers on me, and a lot of my “green” mommy friends are doing the same!
    Denise
    http://frugalluxe.blogspot.com

  2. Meredith says:

    The much better option for buying used cloth diapers is http://www.diaperswappers.com
    (Last I checked, ebay didn’t allow you to sell used diapers because of health code issues)
    I used disposables for my first 2 children and discovered cloth with my third. Now I just WISH I had known about them 6 years ago! No more running out to the store to buy diapers, no more clipping coupons or checking where Huggies are on sale this week!
    The only downside I have found is that my “Baby Bucks” don’t add up very fast at the grocery store anymore!

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