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The True Value of Cloth Diapering and How to Find the Lowest Prices on Cloth Diapers

Updated on October 3, 2013

Why do you use cloth diapers?

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Cloth Diapers Return on Investment

People buy cloth diapers for a variety of reasons. Some purchase them for the health benefits of the natural fibers. Others purchase them for environmental and sustainability reasons. Baby's comfort and fashion also factor in the decision for many to purchase cloth diapers. Still it has been shown that the number one reason that consumers purchase cloth diapers is for the cost savings.

In order to see the monetary benefits of cloth diapering, you must look at the difference in price between disposable diapers and cloth diapers. The average price of a disposable diaper is about $0.20/diaper. Cloth diapers (including cover and insert) can typically be found for between $10 and $20/diaper. That means that a $10 cloth diaper would need to be worn 50 times to have a better value than a disposable diaper. A $20 cloth diaper would need to be worn 100 times before it was a better value than buying disposable diapers.

The numbers above are based on diapers alone and do not factor in the cost of detergent and water to wash the cloth diapers and the labor time involved for the person doing the diapering. This is not to say that it is not still cost beneficial to go with a cloth diaper. However, the lower the prices you can find on your cloth diapers, the better your return on investment and cost saving benefits of choosing cloth over disposable.

Calculate Cost Savings for Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diapers

It is important for everyone want to save money by using cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers to calculate how much money they will actually be saving. I would suggest comparing these costs over the course of the time you will be diapering your baby to ensure that the initial investment of your cloth diapers gets dispersed for that time-frame.

In the example below, I will assume that I will cloth diaper my baby for 2.5 years and that I have purchased 20 cloth diapers for $20 each and that I go through 10 diapers/day and spend an extra $0.05 on energy and water costs for each diaper I change. That would make the cost over 2.5 years as follows:

$20 x 20 (cloth diapers) + $0.05 x 20 x 456 (this assumes I wash my diapers every 2 days) = $856

If I was to use disposable diapers during that time-frame using the average diaper price of $0.20, the cost over 2.5 years would be:

$0.20 x 10 x 912 (days) = $1824

As you can see, the cost savings of cloth diapers is huge at $20/cloth diaper. However, your cost savings can be even greater if you can get your cloth diapers cheaper. Let's talk about that now!


Cloth Diaper Clearance
Cloth Diaper Clearance

Where do you buy your cloth diapers?

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Lowest Prices on New Cloth Diapers

Finding good deals on cloth diapers can be challenging. However, with a little patience and searching, the deals can be found. I will usually only buy a new diaper if I can get it for at least 25% off. I have been able to do so by following the tips below.

  • Check Clearance Pages Regularly- Many online cloth diaper retailers have a clearance page on their website. Find some sites that offer the brands you like and check the clearance pages regularly to find deals on your diapers of choice. For a full listing of online clearance pages, check out Clearance Cloth Diapers: 40+ Websites to Help you Save
  • Look for Special Events at Local Stores- Many local cloth diaper stores will have special events, blowout events, or warehouse sales where they offer deep discounts on their stock. Sign up for their mailing list to make sure that you don't miss out on these special events.
  • Take Advantage of Buying in Bulk- Many online and local stores will offer discount pricing on purchasing 3+ diapers. Discounts increase as quantities increase. Other stores will offer free diapers for purchasing a certain number of diapers. For example, they will offer a "buy 5, get 1 free" sale.
  • Be Sure to Use Coupons and Reward Programs- Many local retailers will offer coupons through circulars and often will have a reward program or card that will get you points to use towards free diapers. Additionally, online stores will often offer coupon codes for discounts or free diapers. Jack Be Natural and Kelly's Closet often offer free diaper coupon codes. Signing up for a reward program or mailing list can often score you a discount of 5% or 10%. Many websites also offer cash back or reward points for your purchases that you can use towards purchasing other diapers in the future. For more information on taking advantage of these programs, visit How to Save the Most Money Online with 4 Easy Steps.
  • Utilize Free Shipping Discounts- Online stores will often offer free shipping if you spent over $50 or over $75 at their stores. So, it could be wise to wait to place an order until you need enough merchandise to qualify for free shipping, or go in on an order with a friend. Some online shops will offer free shipping all the time.
  • Don't Buy More Diapers than What You Need- It can be very tempting to go overboard on buying cloth diapers...they are so cute these days! However, try to really consider how many your baby needs and stick to that number. If you've ended up with excess diapers because you were trying out different brands and styles, you can always sell the diapers you aren't using or swap them out for the style you prefer. Additionally, look for websites that offer a free trial period for their diapers if you aren't sure whether or not you will like a diaper prior to ordering.

Pre-owned Cloth Diapers
Pre-owned Cloth Diapers

Lowest Prices on Pre-owned Cloth Diapers

A great way to save money on cloth diapers is to purchase pre-owned (pre-loved) diapers. These diapers are also often referred to as "seconds". So long as you confirm that the elastic, velcro, snaps, etc are still viable, there should be no health concerns in using these diapers so long as you strip them first. You are also saving even more diapers from reaching landfills! Here are some ways to go about purchasing pre-owned diapers:

  • Seconds Bins at Online Retailers- Many online retailers also offer a trade-in program. This allows them to have a supply of pre-owned diapers. Cottonbabies.com, ebay, and jilliansdrawers.com are just a couple examples of where to purchase these diapers.
  • Join an Online Diaper Swap- There are certain websites dedicated to buying, selling, and trading cloth diapers. Consider them the classified ads of cloth diapers. Some of these sites are: http://clothdiapertrader.com/, www.re-diaper.com/‎, and www.diaperswappers.com. You can also check to see if there are any Facebook groups in your area that buy/sell/trade cloth diapers.
  • Trade in at Local Stores- Check your local cloth diaper store to see if they have pre-owned diapers available for purchase.

Also, don't forget to trade-in or sell your cloth diapers when you are done with them for even more bang-for-your-buck!

How Do You Save on Cloth Diapers?

I'd love to hear from you on any tips that you have to save on cloth diapers. If you've got any ideas that are not listed above, please add them as a comment below. I'd love to hear from you! Happy Saving!

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