I have been on a real minimalist/frugal kick lately, trying to really see what I can do without. I decided to see if I could really cloth diaper on the same budget as I could as if I were using disposables. I only used the numbers for one child so that more could relate. Below is a chart with costs for different kinds of diapers. I used the average – with my super sensitive daughter I needed the more expensive Honest Co. diapers
I thought it was reasonable to budget my first “purchase” as two weeks worth of diapers, and used the average. So, $55.30 for me would be the cost of 2 weeks worth of diapers. Most would probably have less, but my sweet sweet baby is a champion diaper filler and 10 diapers a day is the lower end of normal for us.
With my $55.30 I decided to go with :
I used a dozen flats from Cotton Babies – $19, a pack of 18 washcloths from Walmart for $4.00 (you could just as easily cut up old t-shirts, ect.), and 3 covers (I used 3 @ $8.95 for a price point, but you could easily find some cheaper, especially if you luck up on a Cottonbabies second’s sale), and still had enough left to throw in 3 prefolds at $1.75 each.
With this as my model, I set out to only use these items for diapering my 9 month old. I had 15 changes, I didn’t buy for this but used what I had that was similar, a dozen Diaper Rite large flats, 3 premium prefolds and 3 Flips from the second’s sale. I’m going to be honest – I lasted until day 3. This was hand washing covers, making sure you got that laundry not only in the washer at night, but into the dryer as well. I learned I use more wipes than I think I do, and had to supplement with my homemade flannel ones. If I theoretically was making the switch from disposable to cloth, and didn’t have the funds to supplement (or the stash screaming USE ME CRAZY LADY), I know I could do it. I would eagerly add to the number of covers that next pay period though. And a nighttime solution of sorts as well, I know I’m lucky I don’t have a super heavy wetter, but that is not the case for most.
The upfront investment throws off quite a few people who could definitely benefit from the cost savings of cloth diapering. It is feasible to change on the same budget, but will require quite a bit of elbow grease. It really seems like this would be the bare bones minimum to CD. And the benefits would really only be felt after you added more to your stash – the work might outweigh the benefits until you were able to have more covers, and perhaps a few convenience pockets or AIO’s.