Have you ever considered cloth diapering your baby, but were worried about the hefty upfront cost that it can sometimes accrue? If you’ve wandered around this blog at all, you have probably noticed that I love cloth diapering and enjoy sharing what I have learned…But I also LOVE saving money! Doesn’t seem like those two things can co-exist, does it?
Below, I have compiled a list of the top ways that I have found through my cloth diapering research to save money. Whether you are just starting out and trying to build your stash or adding on to a pre-existing one, I hope that you find something that works for you and your budget!
Pre-folds and Flats
I figured I would start off with this since I actually have first-hand experience with them! As I’m sure you have probably read, we have been using BestBottom diapers since Myka was about a month old. We only had their small size inserts to start off with and she was starting peeing too much for them to handle before she was even 3 months old. I still wasn’t working at the time, so I experimented with different things to find something that would work until we had the extra money to buy bigger inserts. Then I remembered the pre-fold and flat diapers I had received at my baby shower. Long story short, they work so well for us that we have been using them ever since! In fact, we ended up buying several more pre-folds instead of the BestBottom inserts. (Although I did end up splurging on some overnight microfiber and hemp ones.)
Pre-folds and flats are super cheap price-wise. You can find the Gerber ones at pretty much any Walmart from what I’ve seen. Their 10 pack sells for $19.58 online currently. A 10 pack of the Gerber flatfold diapers sells for $12.34 on Walmart.com as well. Compared to some of the pricier “name brand” diapers out there, that’s not a bad deal!
Now, you might be thinking, “What about the covers? That’s extra money.” Ah. You got me there! However, covers are typically cheaper than the All-in-One, fitted, etc. diapers you will see. Plus, the great thing about covers is you don’t need as many because you can use them more than once between washing! Many are also “one size”, meaning your baby will be able to wear it from birth to potty training, which means even less money spent on different sized covers.
I can’t personally vouch for the quality of these, but they look like a super cheap way to start off cloth diapering. Although they don’t come in fun colors or patterns, you can buy the diaper covers individually for $8.95. (I believe you can find some places that sell ones with different trim colors.) You can also purchase a trial pack, which includes one cover and 3 one-size pre-folds for $11.95. (That’s a good deal on most covers by themselves!) Finally, if you decide you really like Econobum, you can purchase their full kit, which includes 3 covers and 12 one-size pre-folds for only $48.95!
Trial & Rental Programs
If there’s one thing I wish I would have known about going into cloth diapering, it’s trial and newborn diaper rental programs! I’m not going to go into this too much here because I recently wrote a more elaborate guest post HERE specifically on these. To be totally honest, I didn’t even realize they specifically made newborn diaper sizes until my daughter was around a few weeks/1 month old. I do remember thinking, “Why would you spend that much money on diapers you’re only going to be able to use for about a month anyways?!” Then I discovered there were rental programs. What a brilliant idea!
I also discovered around the same time that there are quite a few “try before you buy” type programs out there for cloth diapers as well. The fees are usually pretty cheap (ranging anywhere from about $10-$35 from what I remember off the top of my head), but the deposit is where the real expense comes in. This is usually a little over $100, BUT, you will get that money returned to you or put towards store credit (depending on program) after you return the diapers that you do not wish to keep. You still have to pay for the ones that you want, but some places will give you a discount on the ones you want to keep.
Both the newborn diaper rental and trial programs vary significantly from one to the other, so just be sure to read through each one’s policies carefully. As I mentioned, be sure to click the link at the beginning of this section if you are interested in reading more about these programs. There is also a list of links for different programs at the end!
Gently Used Diapers
Many cloth diaper sellers offer gently used/seconds/pre-loved diapers at discounted prices. The value of cloth diapers doesn’t diminish much even after they’ve been used (good for sellers, bad for buyers), so you’re probably only going to save a few bucks on each used diaper that you purchase. However, keep in mind that those few dollars are going to add up when you’re buying several diapers! For instance, $3 may not seem like much in the way of savings. However, if you’re buying 6 cloth diapers for $3 off the regular price of each, that’s $18 you’re saving! In my opinion, that’s not too shabby. You could buy a whole other diaper or two covers etc. etc. with that money. :)
Sales, Sales, Sales
It probably goes without saying, but always be on the lookout for sales. I subscribe to and highly recommend you check out "Thinking About Cloth Diapers.com" weekly cloth diaper sales round-up, which can be found HERE.
Another way to save lots of money on cloth diapers is by joining a co-op. A co-op is a group of people who combine their orders into one big order to receive major discounts on items. Because of the number of people and large amount of items being ordered, these groups get products at wholesale prices (like stores do).
For example, the co-op I’m in is currently taking orders for cloth diapers. There is a time frame in which you can order and after they keep you updated on the order as far as it being invoiced, in transit, etc. They also give brief product descriptions along with pictures. The co-op fees depend on how many items your order, but are less than $10. If orders reach a certain number, price breaks are also given. Like the cloth diaper order on the co-op I belong to will receive a price break if they make it to 300 pieces (diapers in this case). The best part? I’m pretty sure they’re “China cheapies”, but they start off at $2.30 each!
There are plenty of co-ops on Facebook. Just remember, the more people that are in it, the more likely you’re going to get cheaper prices. If it is a closed group, don’t be afraid to ask to join!
Make Your Own
If you are good with a sewing machine, there is always the option of making your own cloth diapers. We have actually tried this ourselves. To be upfront with you, though, it didn’t end well. I was making a fleece cover and wanted it to have elastic all around the edges. Let’s just say we found out the hard way that elastic can be a giant pita to sew! If you’re not using elastic, though, it should be relatively easy to make one. Several yards of fabric can make 4-6 diapers! Plus you can choose whatever colors or prints that you like. : ) You can even order pre-cut diapers kits from websites like THIS ONE.