Sunday, February 24, 2013

Do Cloth Diapers Really Save Money?

I know using cloth diapers has saved our family lots of money, but I was thinking about it the other day and wondering just how much we have saved by using cloth.  So I thought I would run some numbers for fun!  These are estimates, but I think they're probably pretty good estimates.

- I figured based on what we have done so far - about 6.25 years total (between all three kids).
- Most disposable diapers are packaged to last about a week, so that's what I went with.
- I used the cheap-o disposable diapers price of about $7 a package.
- I estimated about $3 a month for wipes, based off prices I saw and how many wipes I typically use.
- I figured about $1 a week as the cost of laundering cloth diapers.  (This one's a really rough estimate - I really have no idea, but I don't think it's that much, especially in the summer when I line-dry diapers.)
- I figured in our total out-of-pocket cost of buying cloth diapers and supplies (about $100).

Based on these numbers, so far, we have saved about $2075.  I was actually kind of disappointed with that number - I had thought it would be more.  But that's still A LOT of money that we haven't had to spend!   And I'm keeping in mind that:

- Although the final number isn't as big as I thought, that $28 or so that we save each month does make a difference in our budget (and especially the $56 a month we saved when we had two in diapers!).
- That number doesn't include how much we've saved using cloth training underwear instead of Pull-ups (that is probably a large number, too, especially considering that Joanna has been out of diapers for nearly a year and still does not stay dry at night).
- That's just how much we've saved so far.  We'll have saved even more by the time Ezra and this next baby are out of diapers.
- That number would nearly double if I figured it based on buying more natural disposable diapers (which would be my preference if I were using disposables).

However, the number that did really amaze me was the number of diapers we've used over the years.  By averaging that each child has used about 7 diapers a day (infants use more but toddlers use slightly less), I learned that we have gone through well over 15,000 diapers!  I can't even imagine the garbage pile that would be made by 15,000 diapers (and growing).  Even if the money and health savings (because of less chemicals) weren't a factor, for me that's enough of a reason to stick with cloth!

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