I invented a new holiday in our household. It just happened to fall around the same time we were celebrating my son turning six months old. We baked brownies to celebrate that occasion. The other somewhat made-up holiday is well known to those of us that chose cloth diapering to save money. It’s called “Happy Break-Even Day!”
My husband and I took the plunge and switched to cloth diapers about six months ago. With a 20 month old daughter and a 2 week old son both needing approximately 15 diapers a day combined, we were going through ridiculous amounts of disposables in our home. There came a point where I was throwing a diaper away and telling myself, “there just went a quarter.”
I was mesmerized by all the options available to us, but also quite aware that we were making the switch in order to save money. However, I also had reconciled the fact that in order to save money in this situation, I was also going to have to spend some money up front. My husband and I never really set a budget to begin with, as we just wanted to try a few things out to see what we even liked. A few months in we both decided we felt comfortable with the amount and varying types of diapers we had on hand and decided that any other purchases would have to be funded through selling current items we had on hand or through gift cards earned submitting guest blog posts.
Figuring out our “break-even” day involved some math----and a lot of assumptions. Assuming my daughter needs roughly 6 diapers a day and my son 8 diapers—and assuming we use about 7 wipes a day, I can fairly easy calculate how much we would be spending in disposables. At our local store, it would cost me .16/diaper for my son, .26/diaper for my daughter & .03/wipe.
So, on AVERAGE…
These calculations are based on a pricier, name-brand diaper. However, even with a less expensive diaper that my children can use, we’re only looking at a difference of about $80/year. I am a deal-seeker by nature and have rarely ever purchased a package of disposables at full price, so I even took our calculations a step further and figured out how much it would cost us to use disposables for both if I found amazing deals on diapers, and we would be spending .88 less per day.
Bottom line, cloth diapers can and DO save us money…. even with the initial money we have put forth. We don’t have an “official” break-even day because of the variables with knowing I potentially could find amazing deals, we might be using more/less diapers than I planned for, etc…but we’re both happy saying that we “broke even around 6 months” (note: we have not spent over $500 on our diaper stash!) We have added to our stash by trading, selling & then using our money earned from sales to purchase more diapers/products.
If you are considering making the switch for financial reasons, don’t be intimidated by start up costs! We started very inexpensively using prefolds, flour sack towels, and covers. We invested what money would be spent on disposables each month towards purchasing cloth diapers instead. We took advantage of sales at Kelly’s Closet and used their coupons to add free pocket diapers to our collection. I encourage you to figure out what you would be spending each month on disposables and set a budget you are comfortable with!
We were scared about spending any money up front, but now that we have diapered long enough that our diapers have paid for themselves, it’s an incredible feeling to know that if were done using diapers tomorrow, we could sell our stash and make money BACK!
And how did we celebrate our “break-even day”? By ordering two Simplex 2.0s, some diaper doublers, an itti bitti wetbag, and some CJ’s samples.
Happy break-even day, indeed!
Bio: Rachel is the blessed bride of Jonathan and cloth-diapering mommy to Lucy (2) & Jack (6 months). When she isn't busy taming tantrums or cleaning spit-up off herself and all household surfaces, you can find her candidly sharing about joys, struggles and reasons why June Cleaver would be so disappointed in her at rachelonrewind