Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I hear about so many people that want to cloth diaper but say that they can't afford the start up costs. Yes, the start up costs can appear very overwhelming, but they don't have to be! There is no rule that says you have to start cloth diapering full time. It's NOT an all or nothing thing. You can start slowly and build your stash whenever you can. Soon you'll be spending less on disposables and can set that money aside to buy more cloth.
Being an accountant, I started playing around with numbers today. I've come up with a 6 month process to cloth diapering. It does take a little bit of money to start. But after the first month, you will spend the same amount of money (or less) as you would with buying disposables each month.
Of course I've made some assumptions. They are:
1 - You go through 9 diapers a day
2 - A case pack of 184 diapers will cost $42 (this is a sale price on diapers.com with a $1 off coupon. No tax added.)
3 - You have ZERO diapers in your house at the start of the six months
4 - A cloth diaper will cost $20***
5 - You have $50 to make the switch to cloth (birthday money, savings, gift, tax return refund, etc)
***As many of you have pointed out, you don't need to spend $20 on ONE diaper. You can buy a dozen prefolds and 3 covers for under $50...and that would be enough diapers to get you through an entire day.
In one six month period of using disposables (using the above assumptions), you will spend $376 and go through 1,674 diapers (YIKES!!).
Now let's say that you've made the decision to cloth diaper. On day 1, you do the following:
Buy 1 case of disposables ($42), buy 2 cloth diapers ($40) and one container of cloth diaper friendly detergent ($11). So that's $51 more than you would normally spend. That is your investment - a one time cost that is above and beyond your normal diaper budget. This is the ONLY time in the six months that you will spend more than you usually do.
During month 1, you will need to buy another case of disposables ($42). However you are now only using 7 disposables a day vs. 9. Yes, the laundry for 2 diapers can be a bit cumbersome, but if you want to make it work, it's only short term!
During month 2, you buy one more cloth diaper. You also need to buy another case of disposables ($42). Now you're using 6 disposables a day and you've already cut your monthly amount of disposables by almost 100!! Feels good, doesn't it?
By month 3, you buy another cloth diaper ($20) and realize that you don't need to buy a case of disposables this month! You do the happy dance in celebration!
Month 4, again you buy another cloth diaper ($20) and another case of disposables ($42). By now you've cut your monthly amount of disposables by over 150 AND you're using cloth more than disposables. Another happy dance? I think so!
In month 5 you buy another cloth diaper ($20) and decide to only get 1/2 case of disposables ($20) since you see a light at the end of the tunnel and don't think you'll need them for much longer. You are now down to using only 3 disposables a day.
In the final month of the transition, you splurge and buy 2 cloth diapers ($40) and use 1 disposable a day just to get rid of the rest of what you have on hand. No need to buy anymore disposables!! You have 8 cloth diapers on hand, which is a pretty good start!
During those 6 transition months, you spent a total of $359 vs. $376 using disposables alone. And going forward, you are no longer spending $63 each month on disposables. So you can continue to build your cloth diaper stash as you see fit. You can add accessories, if you want (wet bags, pails, cloth wipes, etc) and you can still stay at or below your disposable diaper budget each month. AND don't forget that even used cloth diapers have a great resale value...so when you are done with them you can get some of your money back! Try doing that with a dirty disposable...
Another bonus to starting slow is that you can try out a diaper one at a time to see if you like it. I've seen people buy 24 of the same diaper to start out. Then they decide that they don't like that kind and give up cloth diapering. Starting slowly will give you a great idea of what you like and don't like.
As always, if anyone has any questions, I'd be glad to answer them! You can contact me from my website here.
And for those that are considering trying it out, here's an added deal for you on www.fluffenvy.com. Buy any diaper and any SAMPLE size of detergent and get free shipping with coupon code TRYCLOTH. Free shipping does not apply to full size detergents or prefolds.
Good luck on your journey to cloth! It is well worth it in the end!!
Posted by Fluff Envy at 1:48 PM