Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cloth V. Disposables: Cost Breakdown

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Image Source: http://countrydrawers.blogspot.com/2012/03/cloth-diapers-vs-disposable-diapers.html

Well, we've posted a bit on cloth diapering lately and I have gotten a lot of requests for cost breakdowns on investing in cloth versus using disposable diapers. 

I am going to give you three cloth options ("packages" if you will) based on level of investment and we will compare each of those to the cost of using disposables. 

Cost Breakdown on Disposables
First, let me begin by saying that I have done quite a bit of research and I have found time and again that the average cost of using disposable diapers is $800 per year. The average child is in diapers for at least 2 years, meaning that the average family spends approximately $1600 on disposable diapers per child or more. This breaks down to about $66 per month. This is based on store brand discount diapers and does not include disposable wipes and luxury items used to help dispose of stinky diapers (think Diaper Genie, Diaper Genie refills, Arm & Hammer bags for your diaper bag etc.).  So let's be conservative and say that the average family spends $2000 on diapering their child in disposable diapers per child. Additionally, the average American family has two (2) children, which means the average American family spends $4000 or more on diapering their child (in disposables) in their lifetime. Phew. 
Final Estimated Expense (Conservative): $4000

Cost Breakdown on Cloth Option 1 - Budget Investment Method
So lets say that you want to cloth diaper and you are on a tight budget, this would be my recommended package option: 

Diapers:
Econobum Prefold Diapers by Cotton Babies
12 prefolds, 3 diaper covers and 1 wet bag for $48.95
(12 diapers is the recommended daily amount, meaning you will need to wash your diapers every day, this kit also includes a simple but effective wet bag for on the go diapering)

Wipes:
Luvable Friends 12 Pack of Baby Washcloths available on Amazon for $5.99, but I would recommend 24, so you would purchase 2 packs at $11.98
The most simple, inexpensive and effective wash solution is simply to use water or to use water with a teensy amount of whatever baby wash you have on hand. 

Diaper Pail:
FuzzyBunz Hanging Diaper Pail for $18.81
A hanging diaper pail reduces your cost because you do not need to buy a pail liner AND a pail.

Wet Bag for On the Go Diapering
Included in your Econobum box, no additional cost.

Diaper Washing:
Charlie's Soap (80 loads per bucket), available on Amazon for $12.99, but you will need 16 over the entire diaper life of your children (average purchase is 1 every 3 months for cloth diaper washing only, so for 2 years you will need 8 and the average American family will need 16 for both of their 2 children) bringing your total to $207.84.... BUT, Amazon also sells a Charlie's Soap Power Bucket (1000 loads) for $109.99 which would literally last the entire diaper life of both of your 2 children and more. So your final cost comes to $109.99

Cloth Option 1 Total Investment: $189.73 vs. $4000, for a savings of $3810.27
***Remember that you will reuse all of your cloth diapering supplies for your second child, additional investment is only needed if you overlap your children's diaper wearing years. In that case you would need more diapers and wipes. 

Cost Breakdown on Option 2 - Medium Investment Method
This option is for the middle of the line investment, you have a little more financial mobility, but you still can't splurge on luxury items.

Diapers:
Econobum Prefold Diapers by Cotton Babies
12 prefolds, 3 diaper covers and 1 wet bag for $48.95, but lets make life a little easier and get 2 boxes, (24 diapers is the recommended bi-daily amount, meaning you will need to wash your diapers every 2 days, which is the recommended washing timeline... trust me, don't wait longer than 2 days or you'll just want to throw them in the trash) bringing you to $97.90

Wipes:
Cloth-Eez 2 Sided Wipes (love love love) available at Green Mountain Diapers, 12 for $10.95, but I would recommend 24, so you would purchase 2 packs at $21.90
The most simple, inexpensive and effective wash solution is simply to use water or to use water with a teensy amount of whatever baby wash you have on hand. 

Diaper Pail:
Mistral 8 Gallon Plastic Step Can on Amazon for $29.00
Kissaluv's Pail Liner available for $14.95, but you will want 2, so $29.90
Wet Bag for On the Go Diapering
You have a little more to spend, so you'll probably want to get a nicer wet bag.
Kissa's Antibacterial Wet Bag available on Amazon for $11.99
Diaper Washing:
Charlie's Soap (80 loads per bucket), available on Amazon for $12.99, but you will need 16 over the entire diaper life of your children (average purchase is 1 every 3 months for cloth diaper washing only, so for 2 years you will need 8 and the average American family will need 16 for both of their 2 children) bringing your total to $207.84.... BUT, Amazon also sells a Charlie's Soap Power Bucket (1000 loads) for $109.99 which would literally last the entire diaper life of both of your "2" children and probably a year of clothing loads after that just to get rid of it LOL. So your final cost comes to $109.99

Cloth Option 2 Total Investment: $300.68 vs. $4000, for a savings of $3699.32


Cost Breakdown on Option 3 - Large Investment Method
This option is for those of you who have the financial freedom to buy whatever you may need or want for cloth diapering, especially those extra luxury items that really make things a breeze but maybe aren't necessary.

Diapers:
Bum Genius Freetime AIO Diaper by Cotton Babies
Available in a 24 Pack for $399.95
(24 diapers is the recommended bi-daily amount, meaning you will need to wash your diapers every 2 days, which is the recommended washing timeline... trust me, don't wait longer than 2 days or you'll just want to throw them in the trash) 

Wipes:
Cloth-Eez 2 Sided Wipes (love love love) available on Green Mountain Diapers at 12 for $10.95, but I would recommend 24, so you would purchase 2 packs at $21.90
Prince Lionheart Warmies Cloth Wipe Warmer, $23.99
Prince Lionheart Everfresh Replacement Pillows (2 Pack, must replace every 3-6 month, so you will need approximately 3 replacement packages at $14.99 each), $44.97
You may choose to make more expensive wipe solutions with different essential oils, or perhaps buy a pre-made wipes solution. I am not going to include this cost because it would be based entirely on preference and is by no means necessary.

Diaper Pail:
Mistral 8 Gallon Plastic Step Can on Amazon for only $29.00
Kissaluv's Pail Liner available for $14.95, but you will want 2, so $29.90
Wet Bag for On the Go Diapering
If you have the money, your definitely going to want a Wet/Dry bag. This is a wet bag that also has a compartment for dry items such as cloth wipes, clean diapers etc.
Planetwise Wet/Dry Bag available on Amazon for $21.00
Diaper Washing:
Charlie's Soap (80 loads per bucket), available on Amazon for $12.99, but you will need 16 over the entire diaper life of your children (average purchase is 1 every 3 months for cloth diaper washing only, so for 2 years you will need 8 and the average American family will need 16 for both of their 2 children) bringing your total to $207.84.... BUT, Amazon also sells a Charlie's Soap Power Bucket (1000 loads) for $109.99 which would literally last the entire diaper life of both of your "2" children and probably a year of clothing loads after that just to get rid of it LOL. So your final cost comes to $109.99

Cloth Option 3 Total Investment: $679.80 vs. $4000, for a savings of $3320.20

So, the average American cloth diapering family (2 kids), based on the average time in diapers (2 kids X 2 years each = 4 years in diapers) will save an average of $3600 by cloth diapering instead of using disposables.

Sort of a big savings.... just saying. 
I think there are probably a million ways to run these numbers, but even a $500 savings would be worth it to me, plus there are a million other reasons on why to cloth diaper from comfort to eco-friendliness. 

If you are just starting to figure things out and are still unsure about what you want to do, read my post on cloth diapering in general.

Happy Diapering! 

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1 comment:

  1. It's crazy how much money you save with cloth! And I have spent NO more than $500 total on my cloth diapers and I have used mine on 3 kids now. Cadence only for a short time, but still. And I have a wet bag and a regular cheap Target trash can. I have been using it with one washable liner for a year now. Both still in great shape. Also I use Seventh Generation soap, it cost me $14.00 and I am still on the same bottle, 12 months later. I bought about 24 wipes from Target for about $10.00 total an they work great still too. It's crazy how stinking cheap cloth diapering can be!!:) hoping this post of yours inspires more people to try it out!! Love your post friend!!!:)

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