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December 22, 2010

How to convince your hubby...

So a while ago while doing some of our Monday Mommies posts I was checking out some of the other Mommy's blog. I came across one post that really caught my eye. Our Monday Mommy Whitney had done the most detailed post I had EVER seen on the costs of Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diaper. If you really want to do cloth but are having a hard time convincing the hubby to do it show him this. It might be the one thing you need to push him over the edge and into a big fluffy pile of cloth diapers!

She runs her blog called Leaves of my Tree, which is where you will find this post:

"One of the first things you'll hear about cloth diapering is all the money you'll save, not having to buy diapers and wipes every week. but there are skeptics out there who say you probably won't save much, or any at all. figuring out the numbers takes time and patience (especially if you're like me, and your mind withdraws to a hiding place whenever you see numbers), but i decided to do it, and this is what i came up with. it is quite detailed, so stay with me - it gets a bit confusing!

drying diapers in the sun helps with stains

When we were using disposables, we preferred pampers over any other brand, and for wipes, we prefer walmart organic wipes. we don't change middle-of-the-night diapers, which saves us about two extra diapers a day - so a pack of each lasted us just short of a week, usually about five days.

$10 (pampers) + $2.50 (organic wipes)
total for five days = $12.50

365/5 (days in a year, divided by days
between diaper/wipes purchase) = 73
73 x $12.50 (cost of dipes/wipes)
total for one year of disposable diapers and wipes = $912.50


we also bought a diaper genie at walmart,
and about every two and a half weeks,
we'd have to buy another refill.

52/2.5 (weeks in a year, divided by
weeks between refill purchase) = 20.8
20.8 x $11 (cost of refill) =
total for one year of diaper genie refills = $228.80

$228.80 + $912.50 =
$1,141.30 total in diapering cost per year

on average, a child is in diapers
for about two and a half years.
$1,141.30 x 2.5 years =
total disposable diapering cost for one child = $2,853.25

john and i want five children. so -
total cost for five children
in disposable diapers
= $14,266.25

figuring out the cost of cloth diapering is a little bit more complicated. the initial cost of cloth diaper supplies can be pricey, but year by year, it is significantly lower than using disposable diapers. it would be impossible to write the exact cost, because most people don't just buy one type of diaper and a couple covers - starting off is very trial by error. here's (generally) how we (plan on) doing it (river has an odd assortment of cloth diapers currently, and we didn't CD him in the first 4 months). also, understand that this is not including the occasional splurge of a cute diaper cover. ;)


little-lions ($6.75 S&;H) unbleached
prefolds in three sizes (basically, SML):
infant ($17.95), regular ($18), and premium($23)

3 dozen infant + shipping = $60.60
2 dozen regular + shipping =$42.75
2 dozen premium + shipping =$52.75
total for prefolds = $156.10

guesstimated cost for covers at about $12 each,
and spending about $30 in shipping:
4 small, 4 medium, 4 large, and 3 one-size
total for covers = $210

i was planning on making some wipes out of second-hand XL shirts at goodwill for $2 a shirt. i was going to buy 4 shirts, and estimated about 9 wipes per shirt, so it would have cost me about $8 - however, a friend gave me some hand-made wipes, so...
total for cloth wipes = free

i use snappies as closures instead of pins, because they are way easier. i don't expect a snappi to last through five kids, so i think i'll buy 2 new snappies per kid. two $4 snappies x 5 kids
total for snappies = $40

$40 (snappies) + $8 (cloth wipes) + $210 (covers) + $156.10 (prefolds)
total for diapering supplies = $406.10

now we have to add the on-going cost of water (in our case, the laundromat) and detergent. we use charlie's soap to wash the diapers, at about 20 cents per load. charlie's soap isn't disinfecting, so to make sure i get the diapers really clean, i add a little oxygen bleach (never chlorine bleach) to the wash once a month. you must wash cloth diapers twice per use. for the cold wash, i hand wash and for the hot wash, i use the laundromat. it costs $1 per wash. we wash diapers three times a week, on monday, thursday, and saturday.

$0.20 (cost for detergent per load)
x 6 (number of washes per week)
total cost in detergent per week = $1.20

$1.00 (cost per hot wash at laundromat)
x 3 (number of hot washes per week)
total for laundromat washing per week = $3

oxygen bleach added to the laundry once a month
estimated total for oxygen bleach per month = $0.20

$1.20 x 52 weeks = $62.40
$3.00 x 52 = $156
$0.20 x 12 months = $2.40
total laundering cost per year = $220.80

$220.80 x 2.5 years
total laundering cost per child = $552

$552 (laundering) + $406.10 (supplies)
total diapering cost for one child = $988.10

going back to the laundering cost per child, multiplying by five (for five children) and then adding the initial cost of diapering supplies (because you can use the same prefolds and covers with every child):
total cost for five children
in cloth diapers
= $3,166.10

now, back to disposable diapering cost
= $14,303.25

that looks like a good amount of savings to me!


we have limited line space, so we dry some of river's diapers on our crib, saving us $3.75 a week.


now, this is how OUR family is planning on cloth diapering. it's not exactly how it's going to go (i'll tell you already that i've only purchased green mountain prefolds and have yet to buy any little lions :) we will probably have to replace worn covers, we may experiment with different kinds of diapers, snappies will get lost, products may be purchased from different websites where shipping is less or more, and washing them is not always going to cost a dollar a load (especially if we have our own washer and dryer some day!), but any way you look at it, there will be money saved.

perhaps a family buys only second-hand prefolds at a cloth diapering store for a dollar each, make their cloth wipes for pennies out of garage-sale t-shirts, and use gerber diaper covers, which are about $4 for a pack of 3. or say there's a family who will buy all-in-one diapers in small, medium, and large, thirty of each size, at $25 per diaper, plus 36 factory-made cloth wipes that are $10.75 for half a dozen - you're at $2,314.50 for supplies. and of course, there's the number of babies a family plans to diaper. there are many, many ways of doing the cloth diapering thing. and i'm pretty sure all of them are going to save you some money. ;-D"

Whitney, Thank you so much for allowing me to share this wonderful post with our readers!

3 comments:

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Carrie said...

I did a post similar to this a few years ago.http://dangerouscrayon.blogspot.com/2008/03/cloth-diapers-crunching-numbers.html
I did mine retrospectively, looking at the actual costs for that first year, and then projecting forward. It was posted at my blog and also at The Simple Dollar, a personal finance blog (trying to convince people that the money can make it worth it!)

I think this evaluation is a good start, but for many of us, there will still be things with cloth that we have to replace - dead covers, broken snappis, and even prefolds that die prematurely do to bleach accidents (boo).