Mar 30, 2011

Cloth diapers are more expensive than disposables, right?

I came across an article online - High Cost of Diapers Forces Some Parents Into Risky Practices - the basic premise being that a lot of low income parents are unable to meet the costs of buying disposables for their children, so are doing certain things to 'extend' the life of the disposable - including washing the diaper out & reusing it.

It's a very sad truth - the statistics in the article say that 1/3 parents are doing this, and I would believe it.  Here in New Zealand for a regular sized packet of disposable diapers you are looking at paying $5.10NZD/3.86USD for the cheapest packet, and for the more expensive brands you're paying around $16NZD/$12USD - and that is for a pack of 15-20.  If I was to buy disposables for a week, I would need basically 2 packs for a week - so at the most approximately $64.00 a month - that doesn't sound like a lot really, but when you are barely making enough money to make ends meet each week, that is a lot. 

On my worst weeks by the time I have got groceries, gas & paid all the bills - I might have $40.00 left over, to buy things for myself & the girls & cover any unexpected costs that come up.  If I was buying disposable diapers, that would mean I'd have around $100 to live on each month, by the time the diapers had been purchased.  THEN you can take into consideration the fact there are women out there who DON'T breastfeed for whatever reason - and they have to purchase formula too - it all adds up VERY quickly.

It's fairly obvious that for me my main motivation to use cloth diapers was for financial reasons.  My initial stash was 20 OSFA pockets which cost $11.00 each - so $220.00, I also purchased extra inserts which came to $30.00 - so all up I spent $250.00 on my initial stash... which I paid for by layby - paying $10.00 a week over 25 weeks.  Yes, it was a long way to go about it, but I paid for the diapers at a rate that I could comfortably afford, and it wasn't as if I needed them straight away - they were paid off in May & Emersyn was born in mid June. 

When I look at the actual numbers, my total cost of $250.00 is the equivalent of
15 packs of 20 diapers - or 300 disposable diapers all up,
which I would have gone through in basically 7 weeks, if I was using an average of 7 diapers a day. 
7 weeks & the cloth diapers had paid for themselves.

Lets pretend I go through an average of about 25 diapers a week across the 3-ish years that Emersyn is in diapers, that'd be a total of  3900 diapers, and if those were disposables purchased at $16 for a pack of 20, that would be a total cost of $3120 for diapers alone (if my math is right!)... not taking into consideration the fact she could be in diapers for longer than 3 years - the total cost could easily be more like $4000.00.

Now lets pretend I didn't buy any extra cloth diapers & stuck with my original $250.00 worth - that would mean I would be saving $2870.00!

Obviously my cloth diapering addiction kicked in at some point & I've now spent a LOT more money on cloth diapers than I had originally, BUT each of those cloth diapers - which can be used hundreds (probably thousands) of times cost less (in most cases) than the price of one packet of disposables, and then when I am done with the cloth diapers I can sell them & make a little money back.  That isn't to mention that if I had another child I could reuse those same cloth diapers - potentially saving myself close to $6000 by the time that child was potty trained.  The average number of diapers is just an estimate - but I think that whether or not it's accurate it is easy to see that cloth diapering is by far the more financially viable option.

What's the whole point of this blog post?  I'm basically saying that there needs to be more of an awareness of cloth diapering, of the costs associated - and the comparison with the cost of disposables.  It's very true that you can spend upward of $40.00 PER diaper for some brands, however it is also true that you can be very thrifty with your diaper buying - and like me if you purchase pre-loved diapers you can pay well under half the normal retail price.  Here are a few examples of the bargains I've had...

3x barely used Snazzipants fitted diapers.. RRP - $84.00 / I paid:  $17.00
3x used, but in great condition Bummis Super Brites - RRP - $72.00 / I paid:  $17.00
5x used, but in great condition Bitti D'Lish - RRP $135.60 / I paid:  $76.00
8x used, still in good condition FuzziBunz pockets - RRP $263.60 / I paid: $40.00
3x used, still in good condition Ecobubs woolen pockets - RRP $119.85 / I paid: $30.00

GRAND RRP TOTAL:  $675.05 (average of $30.68 per diaper)
I PAID:  $180 (average of $8.20 per diaper)

I COULD of course sum this whole long winded post by saying:
NO, cloth diapers are NOT more expensive than disposables!

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