Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Diapers In A Budget

Carrie writes:

Gayle,I love your blog. Thank you for taking the time to write every week. I just wanted to know if you think a $60 budget is reasonable for a family of 6 when 2 children are in diapers? I don't know if I should add this in the $60 or keep it separate. Also, do you get up at the crack of dawn to cook breakfast in the morning? What does your schedule look like before the kids go to school. Thanks Gayle!

There is just no stinkin' way I could fit diapers into a $60 for 6 people budget. So take a deep breath and be released from even thinking that is possible. (Well, maybe someone else could do it but I wouldn't be able to.) If I still had kids in diapers I would definitely be a diaper coupon clipper. I wouldn't count the diapers into my food/household budget but I would institute some saving strategies in that area.

First, I always bought generic diapers when I was still using them. I like the generic and they worked just fine for me. Same with the wipes. There's no excuse for using name brand diapers because it's totally a preference thing. Not a need. If you can afford them with no problems then by all means, waste your money. And I've experienced every thing a kid could put in a diaper X 4! So I know what I'm talking about.

Second, I never wasted a diaper. My kids diapers only got changed when absolutely necessary. It was fully used and I very seldom had kids with diaper rashes. I never let them sit for hours in their yuck but I sure didn't change it every time I checked it for wetness.

And third, knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn't even buy disposables unless the kids were in daycare or visiting grandparents. I would buy the supplies to use cloth diapers and after the initial expense, the only extra cost would be laundry expenses and the occasional replacement. And the homemade laundry soap recipe works great on cloth diapers.

As to the breakfast and schedule question, one of the perks of homeschooling is that we don't have to rush off in the mornings. I usually get up around 6:30 or 7 and get ready for the day. On a normal day we eat breakfast around 8AM and then work on school projects and book work until lunchtime. After lunch is chores and some down time and the evenings are full of sports, friends or fun.

Thanks for asking Carrie.


karen said...

I am using cloth diapers. I bought some used for $225. I figured my yearly budget for diapers to be about $575 (being generous, and I live in Canada, so there is the exchange rate etc to account for the cost difference.) We do keep a pack of disposables in the house for traveling and sometimes use them at night. I use the homemade laundry soap with no problems.
Now is it kinda yucky, yes, but changing poopy diapers always is yucky. Do I allow myself to use a disposable when I know I am expecting a HUGE poopcident, yes I do. The way I see, if I use 5 diapers a day, if only 3 or 4 of those are cloth that's 3 or disposables I'm saving from the landfill, and from eating up my pocketbook. I don't set myself up for failure. If I didn't allow myself (and mostly my husband) to use the odd disposable, then I don't think I would succeed at cloth diapering.
But the savings, are tremendous.
I love my BumGenius 3.0 diapers. I find them almost like using a disposable.

karen said...

oh and by yearly budget for diapers, I mean if I were to buy disposables for the year, and not use cloth.

Never A True Aggie said...

I switched to cloth about 3 months ago. We are still going strong. I bought mine used from craigslist and from diaper swappers and have not had to spend too much. I am also going to make my own. There are a ton of free patterns out there. I also keep a pack of disposables for trips or laundry days when I don't have enough cloth to get me through the wash cycle. The best thing I purchased was a sprayer that hooks to my toilet. It really does the job to clean the diapers off before I wash them, which saves money in the long run and makes it easier for me to re-sell them.
I also make my own wipe solution and it is great. We have had no rashes or other problems.

Anonymous said...

We live in Beirut, Lebanon where the only cloth diapers available in shops are the old-fashioned squares that you fold up and pin. In order to get my husband on board with the reusable diaper idea, I had to find something a little more user-friendly. I am Irish, so I ordered Little Comfort diapers online, and my mom brought them out when she came to visit after the birth of our daughter. WE LOVE THEM! Not only are they more environmentally friendly and cost-effective, they are also less likely to leak, and our daughter seems to find them more comfortable.

Never a True Aggie, I'd love to know what you use in your homemade wipe solution.

Jackie said...

For the resident in Beirut--I make my own wipes at home and love them. I just posted instructions on my blog a few weeks ago... Hopefully this helps!

Megan said...

I used cloth with my kids before they were on the move. My solution for the dirty ones was wonderful. I had a bucket in the bathroom about half full of water with a cap of bleach. When they were dirty they were rinsed and put into the bleach water, no odor, no mess, and just dump the bucket into the machine and wash. I was a wonderful solution to a messy problem.

Chaney said...

We too use cloth diapers...and I LOVE them! However, rather than buy the diapers (besides some I got at a garage sale) I make my own. There are a lot of diaper patterns out there...such as mama bird and rita's rump pocket diapers. I've modified them to better fit my kids and I can get flannel at thrift stores or on sale. I've probably spent $30-$40 making diapers, which includes the velcro type stuff I've bought so that I don't have to use snappis or diaper pins. The only other expense is buying wraps. We us proraps and I have spent maybe $60 for all the sizes I have needed from infant to potty training.

It is possible to make your own wraps or All in one diapers, you just have to get PUL fabric (which can only be ordered online).

I have saved SOOOO much money doing cloth diapers, and once a month I budget in a package of disposable for both of ours that are in diapers...just for traveling.

karen said...

I had my mother who sews make me some wipes. We just used the left over flannel from the receiving blankets she made. She just surged two pieces of 4x4 fabric together. I also have LOTS of baby wash clothes I got at my shower. I keep a Tupperware of water at the change table. I sometimes put a little squeeze of baby wash in there. And I use that. If I am out, I can always just wet the cloth in a sink, and then we carry a 10 pack of huggies wipes just in case. I'm a nurse, and at the hospital we use a wet cloth and a no rinse cleanser on bottoms. So I figured if that was good enough for my patients, it was good enough for my baby. The only time I have problems with diaper rash is when I use the disposable wipes too often.

SavvySuzie said...

OK - you've all inspired me...I have 2 in diapers right now, and wasn't able to breastfeed my new baby so I've been trying to figure out how to adjust the budget to pay for the formula. Going to cloth diapers may be just what I need! Anyone have good resources for a cloth diapering novice?

Vilate said...

I make and sell cloth diapers, but I also want to help inform people about cloth diapers. (SavvySuzie)I have a webpage with all sorts of info.
Or you can email me at

I love my cloth diapers so much I have been putting off potty training my baby because then I can't use my diapers anymore! Pathetic huh? :)

I would suggest to all of you out there to put in the money and buy a good fitted, and then make some wool covers from thrift store sweaters and you will have a bullet-proof, breathable system!

I will also throw out some $$'s
they say if you buy the name brand diapers you sill spend $1,500 a year on diapering one kid! I have 6, and have CD'ed 5 of them! You can buy a nice set of diaper and a diaper sprayer (thees are great, like a kitchen sprayer only it hooks to the toilet) for under $300! and my diapers are a one size and will last. -shoot you will use them for your grandbabies! :)

good luck to any of you wanting to start and kudos to yo awesome mamas that already do!

karen said...

here are some websites to check out.

I use the bum genius and love them. They are velcro and I have heard the fuzzibunz are the same but with snaps. What I love about them is that they are all in one and one size fits all. YOu don't need extra covers. The material wicks the moisture away very well, so you are not always changing baby b/c of a little wetness. They have inserts that absorb the moisture. Go to your local baby boutique and check out several types before comitting to a brand.
I recommend doing a web search for the lowest prices. I bought one at a local baby boutique to try, then I bought a set used. However, I have heard that I could buy some new ones for the same price as the used from a website in the states. Don't know what that website is though.
Good Luck:)

Milehimama said...

I used generic WalMart (Parent's Choice) diapers for 7 babies. For baby #8 I finally got to cloth diapering.

I spent $40 on 24 Indian prefolds at, got some Dappie vinyl diaper pants ($2.99 for a 3 pack) and we're on our way! Baby is 3 months old and I've ALREADY saved a ton of money (I spent less than $60 total on cloth diapering supplies so far!)

I do have a stash of disposables for when we're out and about - but I go through 3-4 disposables a WEEK instead of 8 per day.

Milehimama said...

I cut up a couple of receiving blankets and an old towel, and just zig zag stitched the edges (single layer). Works great for me! I just get them wet and squeeze them out.

SavvySuzie said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I wish I had done this with my 2 year old when he was little!!

Betsy said...

We use cloth (used--the babies are potty training, now) and loved them!

But, for budgeting purposes, we have a budget for kids and the diapers came out of that budget, not our food budget. It worked out great since I didn't buy many disposables anyway, but it's also an expense that got dropped out of their budget, freed up money for underwear and some extra shorts during potty training time, and soon will go to more clothing since it's getting harder to find as many clothes on consignment for their ages (2-3 year old boys' clothing gets worn hard....).

Arden said...

I am diapering my 8th child. I use cloth diapers because of the extreme savings not because I love them.
Cloth diapers have become a boutique item and you could easily spend 100's on them. Please let your readers know that Chinese quality diapers, pins and some cheap Dappi covers will see a baby through til training. It's worked for me....repeatedly. My 8th is still using some diapers from my 17 year old. Just had to add to my stock as a few wore out.

Never A True Aggie said...

Annon- my wipe solution is about 2 T. of baby shampoo, 2-4 drops tea tree oil, 2-4 drops Vitamin E, about 1/2 T. Almond Oil. Mix well and then add about 2 Cups of Hot or boiled water. One day when I had 1/2 a bottle of soap that I use from Trader Joes (It is all natural and really mild), I realized I could just make a concentrated form of the solution. So I did and now I just use a few squirts out of that jar and mix with the water. It makes it even easier.

SavvySusie- is a wonderful resource! There is also something called hyena cart? Just google it. I also had a lot of luck with craigs list and found a lady nearby who was getting rid of her pocket diapers for cheap. I believe I paid $7 each. What I did to make it budget friendly was go slow. I started with 5, then added about 5 more a week later, and so forth. I now have about 12 fuzzi bunz style. I got a deal on craigslist for covers and for Hemp liners ($2 each!). So I can go about a day and a 1/2 before washing, which is all you want to do to prevent a bad smells. I also just bought about 4 Chinese Prefolds (also cheap) and use them for light duty like the diaper before the bedtime diaper or right after a nap or something like that.
The sprayer has also been great. It makes it so easy, and as an aside, it helped clean off my 5 year old who was not paying attention one day. There is a guy on youtube who has a tutorial for a DIY spayer for around $25. Good luck!

Deb said...

I did not read all the comments so someone may have mentioned this but...I cloth diaper and wish I did it sooner. The sell liners online ($15 for 100) that look kinda like a dryer sheet and it catches the poo and can be flushed (so easy) or rinsed and reused is just pee. I made some diapers using the mama bird pattern online using flannel sheets towels and velcro. Then I bought plastic covers ($5 something for 3) at babies r us.

RachelD said...

For the resident in Beirut-- we are moving to Lebanon in the next year and I am wondering what if you can find cloth diaper-friendly laundry detergents there? Also, how hard is the water? Thanks...

RachelD said...

For the Beirut resident-- we will soon be moving to Lebanon and hoping to do cloth diapering. Are there natural, cloth-diaper friendly detergents to be found there? And how hard is the water? Any advice would be much appreciated!