Modern cloth diapering has a reputation for having a high initial ‘investment’ to try it out. Many parents are scared away by a price tag over $100 to try anything baby related. A full stash of 30 one size ‘luxury’ pocket diapers can cost from $300-$750. While this lasts from approximately 10 lbs-potty training, and is up to $1500 less than disposables (per child), that’s still a big ‘bite’ for parents to take out of their budget when they’re not sure they can handle what they perceive as the rigors of cloth diapering (the laundry routine, cloth wipes, etc) and so they pay $15 a week for a pack of disposables that none of us will EVER live to see biodegrade.
You could use any combo of the options below to grow your stash of cloth options, slowly weaning your family off of disposable diapers. Want to make it through a weekend without going to the store? Need to make it to pay day, but only have enough diapers for day care but not home, too? No problem. Really. No problem.
There are a LOT of options! No, really, there are!
Let’s start with free/nearly free diapers. Cost 0-$
- Old t-shirts, receiving blankets, tea towels, hand towels, or wash cloths from your cupboard or secondhand retail store. If it absorbs, use it!
- Borrow a few from a friend to try them out or check free-cycle.
- Ask for diapers for your baby shower, baby’s first birthday, Christmas, Easter, or other holiday. Who needs chocolate bunnies when you’re a few weeks old? Make a registry and share it with your loved ones!
- Giveaways. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, you can easily link up with dozens of sites that have weekly giveaways, or search with appropriate hashtags (#win #clothdiapers #giveaway or #winallthediapers). Bookmark the sites you find and check them on a regular basis. Some blogs also do a weekly list of giveaways and you have to do is scroll through them and enter!
Inexpensive diapers. Cost $-$$
- Sew your own. If you (or someone you know) can sew, there are dozens of online patterns, and you can pick up the materials (using discount coupons) at a sewing/craft store for pennies on the dollar.
- The more basic the material, the less expensive it is. Flat diapers (like grandma was smart enough to use!), and one-size prefolds cost as little as $1 when bought in bulk and work as well or better than their more complicated and pricey counterparts. Skip the Gerber brand from your local megamart, they are milled to be burp cloths now and are inferior quality at the same price point as online shops that ship the GOOD diapers for free!
- Some stores have last-chance diaper grabs, ‘seconds’ or imperfect items that are still perfectly useful, but don’t have that ‘perfect’ look. Some items can be discounted up to 50% for a dirt mark. That washes out, right?!? So check with companies and get on their mailing lists to be the first to hear about these bonus buys! After all, it’s just meant to catch poo!
- Second-hand is a great way to nab diapers. Try Craig’s list or online diaper swaps and check full-retail prices before ‘scoring’ a find for your new stash.
Save up option. Cost $-$$$
- If you’ve just discovered you are pregnant, or have a small stock of disposables at home, you can ‘save up’ for your cloth. Buy one item at a time until you have enough to give it a real trial.
- Special sales, coupons, and discounts. Many retailers have sales for major holidays, offer coupons, or discounts for buying in multi-packs.
- Cloth diaper trials. Some places offer cloth diaper trials for a set amount of money that’s refunded at the end of the trial. If you can swing that, then you can put the cash you would be using on disposables into a fund to purchase your favorite brands from the trial.
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