Google+ Authentic Parenting: Cloth Diapering on a Budget

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cloth Diapering on a Budget

This post is part of my All About Cloth Series, where I answer common - and not so common - questions about cloth diapering. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered, drop me a line.

Building a cloth stash can be a big bite from the budget, sometimes more than one can spend in one go... Yet on the long run, cloth always comes out cheaper than disposables, and you’ll be able to benefit from your diapers for a second child and even a third!
Now even though you will have a bigger initial cost when trying cloth, there are ways to make the cost smaller, spread your spendings and even get some cash back.

Image: Simplyla on Flickr
  1. Don’t buy everything at once! Even if you’re not on a budget, this is a smart idea, as you can’t know in advance what your baby will be like. Some go through 12 diapers a day, some only pee 6 or seven times, others are heavy wetters. You can’t know your preferences either, maybe you’ll like AIO’s for outings, or maybe you prefer prefolds or fitteds. Check out the different cloth diapering options first. 
  2. Start with a small stash: as mentioned above, you can’t know in advance what your baby will be like, nor do you know what your washing behavior will be. Some diapers take longer to dry, so you’ll need more...
  3. Subscribe to a couple of brands you like. Subscribing to newsletters, blogs or Facebook pages of the diaper brands you find promising will keep you up to date about when they offer discounts or have sales. They generally notify you about giveaways and contests too. This way you can get at least a selection of your diaper stash on a smaller price.
  4. Research! Cloth diapers come in many shapes, sizes and prices!! A few google searches can find you cheaper brands. They are not necessarily lesser quality. Many WAHM diapers are made with love and attention and cost only a fraction of the big brand ones.
  5. Ask around: maybe you have friends IRL or online who want to get rid of some of their nappies at a small price. Sometimes you can get a big stash this way of either older nappies that will still give you a run for your money or even unused when a friend has bought the wrong size or brand.
  6. Buy used. There are lots of online fora where you can find used diapers at a softer price. Sometimes they aren’t even used at all! Just make sure you make safe transactions. Diaperswappers is a good place for US sales an check out this Facebook group if you’re in the UK or Europe.
  7. Sell what you don’t use. Reselling what you don’t like or use anymore will liberate some funds for new acquisitions. This is a good idea when your child goes up a size, just sell or swap the smaller size for bigger nappies.
  8. Enter giveaways. It might be a long shot, but with a bit of luck, you can win some at your favorite blogger’s giveaways. Take a look at Hobo Mama’s list of natural parenting giveaways or hop over to McCrenshaw for a weekly list of freebies.
  9. Buy onesize. Buying onesize or birth to potty nappies will cut your stash in half.
  10. Use cloth wipes. You can easily make cloth wipes yourself by cutting up a piece of flannel or fleece. Recycle old sheets or sweaters for this purpose. Price: 0!! Cloth wipes will come out a little more expensive if you buy them, but even then, they’re much cheaper then store bought disposable wipes, and nicer on the environment. Plus, knowing exactly what you put on them, nicer to your baby’s bum too!
  11. EC. EC-ing, even part time, will save you on laundry and on the amount of nappies you need. Your baby will also suffer less nappy rash, so it’s really a win-win no matter how you turn it.
  12. Wash only full loads. Again a point where your wallet and the environment go hand in hand. If you don’t get a full load of nappies, you can throw in your cloth pads and towels, they won’t stain or get smelly.
  13. Wash your liners. Paper liners can easily be washed and reused, sometimes a couple of times. I only throw away mine when they’re torn or pooped on.
  14. Make your own. If you’re a bit handy with a sewing machine, you can use one of the many free diaper patterns online to make your own nappies, if you use recycled fabrics (sheets, t-shirts, sweaters...), your diapers will only cost the price of some snaps or velcro and the thread you used. If you’re not that handy, you can still consider making your own inserts (some fabrics don’t even require serging) and cloth wipes.
  15. Get extra inserts. If you have additional inserts, you can use two inserts and reuse the pocket or fitted diaper after a small pee. This way you have to get less diapers and wash less often. Obviously this tip doesn't work if you're using pocket diapers.

Find out how to save even more money cloth diapering and a selection of brands I like.




  1. These are all great tips! I cannot stress the buy used one enough--almost all of our diapers are used, and have been used through my daughter and now my son. And still going strong :) We recently had to buy a bigger size and got 14 diapers for the cost of 7 brand new ones!

  2. Great tips, but #15 sounds a bit unhygienic... Are you perhaps thinking of an A12 or hybrid diaper instead of a pocket diaper?

    1. You are completely correct, Marisa, I did not think of pockets when I wrote that, as I don't really use them very often, I'll correct it in the article


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