Cloth Diapering Part I: Pinching Pennies for Poo

When becoming a parent for the first time, you’re faced with a lot of new challenges.  Your sleep schedule is no longer so “scheduled;” you have to allow an extra hour to make sure you get out the door on time; and, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you’re always covered in stinky spit-up (there’s nothing like that sour smell of spoiled breast milk!).  It’s not hard to see why new parents would shy away from the adventure of cloth diapering–as if you need to take on one more challenge!  But, folks, I promise, it’s truly not that bad.  In fact, I enjoy it!


From day one of my pregnancy I knew that I would use cloth diapers for my sweet one.  My main motivator: Finances.
While my husband and I are blessed with a beautiful home and we never go hungry, money is tight.  We have to make every penny count.  Cloth diapering has saved us an enormous amount of money.  Here’s how…

The world of cloth diapering today is far more complicated than it was twenty years ago when I was scooting around in my cotton prefolds.  There are several styles of cloth diapers and endless cute patterns.  The great variety of diapers is, honestly, what I found to be most overwhelming, not the diapering itself.

After a lot of research and trial-and-error, I have found that using diaper covers and prefolds are the way to go.

Diaper cover

Leak-proof cover goes over prefold

While cloth diapering itself can save you money (compared to using disposables), how much money you save will depend on what style diaper you choose to use.  Using diaper covers is the cheapest.

We have four diaper covers and 18 prefolds.  Let’s do some math.  The covers I like to use cost ~$15 at full price (but there are always sales and baby registry gifts–I’ve never paid full price for a cover).  The prefolds that I like cost ~$14 for six infant size diapers; ~$19 for six larger diapers.

Diaper covers: $15 x 4 = $60  +   Infant prefolds: $14 x 3 = $42   +   Large prefolds: $19 x 3 = $57

Grand total: $159

We diaper our little one for only $159. Keep in mind, most of that money didn’t even come out of our pocket.  I registered for both covers and prefolds and received almost all of what I needed at my baby showers.  Moreover, that $159 will most likely cover at least two years of diapering, if not three–that’s only 59 bucks you’re spending a year on diapers!  Of course, if you pay for your water (we have well water and an HE machine), you’ll have to include that utility charge in your total, but it’s probably still less than what you’d have to pay for disposables.  AND! You’ll never have to make a late night trip to the grocery store to pick up emergency dipes!  To save on drying diapers, I almost exclusively line dry (it makes them last longer too).  When the weather is nice, the dipes go outside.  When the weather is yucky, I hang them on a line I put up in my laundry closet…yes, closet–you don’t have to have a whole laundry room to utilize a line.

One additional perk: there is a huge cloth diapering buy/sell/trade scene these days!  I belong to five different groups on Facebook where you can buy or sell new and used cloth diapers to folks all over the country.  In fact, after figuring out what brand of diapers did not work for us, I sold those diapers and made back most of the money I had invested initially in the diapers.  Chances are, you can buy your diapers at less than retail price and you can sell your gently used ones back.  You certainly can’t do that with disposables.  Search “cloth diaper swap” on Facebook and see what you find.

I’ll tell you in the next post what brands we like best…until then!


4 thoughts on “Cloth Diapering Part I: Pinching Pennies for Poo

  1. I agree, prefolds and covers are great! I don’t think I could manage with only four covers, though. Technically, yes, but that would mean often rummaging around in the to-be-folded-laundry pile to find the clean ones, haha! I figure I’ll save my sanity by having about 8 covers and recoup the cost later. We, like you, are totally pinching pennies!

  2. Pingback: Cloth Diapering Part II: My Favorites | The Barefooted Crafter

  3. Pingback: Cloth > Disposables | The Barefooted Crafter

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