We know that cloth diapering is more environmentally friendly, free of chemicals, and costs less than disposables over the two or three years that your child is in diapers. But what if you can’t afford the initial start up costs? $15-$20 for one diaper sounds like a lot of money and to some, it is. Below are some ways that can help ease the financial burden of starting your cloth diaper stash.
1. Covers and prefolds or flats
This is an inexpensive way to diaper your baby because you can reuse the cover a few times before throwing it in the laundry. As long as the diaper is free of feces you can wipe it down, hang it to dry, and reuse it at the next diaper change. You will probably only need to use 2-3 diaper covers per day. Diaper covers come in a variety of price points but a basic, inexpensive cover will do the job.
2. Alternatives to prefolds or flats
If money is really tight and you can’t afford prefolds or flats there are alternatives that you can use. You can stuff your cloth diapers with almost any kind of fabric to make a diaper. Old t-shirts, receiving blankets, flour sack towels (found in the kitchen section of your local discount store), dishtowels, or even rags from a home improvement store. Note: do not choose a microfiber rag, choose one made of cotton. Microfiber directly on the skin can cause irritation and rashes.
3. All-In-Two (AI2) or hybrid diapers
AI2 and hybrid diapers are similar to covers and prefolds/flats in that you can reuse the outer shell and therefore use less diapers per day. This system comes with specific inserts that go with the shell and because of this it’s a bit more expensive than using covers and prefolds.
4. Watch for sales and coupons
Join mailing lists and like your favorite retailer(s) on Facebook to be alerted to sales and coupons. Most retailers have a sale and coupon section on their site to check periodically for deals.
Cloth diapers don’t go on sale all the time but when they do the savings can be significant. Most retailers have large sales around holidays. Be on the lookout around Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and especially Black Friday.
5. Buy used
This might be an option that is uncomfortable to some but it is a viable option to get great deals on fluff. Many times people sell diapers in excellent, barely used condition because a diaper simply didn’t work for their baby but it may work wonderfully for yours. You can check Facebook groups, Ebay, Spots’ Corner (on HyenaCart.com), Craigslist, Kijiji, and even some retailers have a gently used section.
6. Buy seconds quality
What does this mean? Diaper manufacturers will hold a seconds sale every so often. What this means is that they have some diapers with minor flaws that don’t affect function but prevents them from being sold at full price. This will often be uneven stitching, snaps or hook & loop that are slightly off center, small fabric runs, or even for a smudge of dirt that will come off in the wash. Of the seconds diapers I have purchased I wasn’t able to notice the flaw.
7. Blog giveaways
Yes, they are legit. They can take some time but they can also be addictive. I have won an entire stash worth of cloth diapers during my time entering giveaways. Be sure to complete the daily options to increase your chances of winning.
8. Daily deal sites
Sites like Zulily and Baby Half Off often feature cloth diapers.
Aside from used diapers, some retailers also sell on Ebay or you may get lucky and find a retailer that is closing their store and are liquidating their stock at a low price.
10. Start slow and early
If all else fails and you know that you want to use cloth diapers while you’re still pregnant, start buying a diaper every two weeks or even every month. By the time your baby is born you will have enough diapers for at least one day and you can continue to add to your stash using the tips above until you reach your ideal stash.
Great! Now you have a few ideas for building a stash for less, but you may now wonder how many diapers do you need. Ideally you would like to have enough diapers to diaper your baby for two to three days between washes. This ends up being about 24 changes for a newborn and slightly less for older babies and toddlers.
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