It's a real sticker shock when you think hey, I'll just buy some cloth diapers and be done with it, this way I can save myself some money. And then you look at the price of the cute AIO and say holy cow I could buy myself a box of Luv's for that price. And yes, recently a friend had expressed her interest, stating she hated throwing away her money on disposable diapers, so she approached her husband about switching to cloth and when he saw the price of 1 diaper he was in shock and said they needed to discuss it a little more.
Well, I'll be the first to admit that I was slightly shocked too. The more I thought of it though, I came to the realization that while yes, for the price of 1 diaper I could buy a whole box of diapers, that I would be able to reuse this 1 diaper over and over again. So once you have 40 uses out of the diaper you've essentially used up one package of disposables. And that's only if you elect to using the fancy more expensive diapers.
I'll be truthful, the cheapest way to cloth diaper is prefolds and covers. Period. Yes, I was scared to try them to. But really, you have to deal with the poop anyhow and I rarely even touch the poop. With breastfed poop you just find a 'clean' corner and toss it into your diaper pail (I promise you the poop washes right out, no dunking required). And the folding is relatively easy. There are a ton of great tutorials on You Tube on how to fold and there are a million in one ways to fold. Just find the fold that works for you and your baby and run with it.
The start up cost may be a lot, but in the end you are really saving money. Since my son was born we have bought disposable diapers a total of 3 times. That's 2 of the packages and 1 box in the 9 weeks he's been alive. In order to defray the costs, since I started my research ridiculously early, we started buying a few diapers a month to work our way up to having a stash. The first month I bought a total of 5 dozen prefolds in different sizes from the site that was recommended to me. The next month I bought 2 covers from a second site. The 3rd month I bought 2 more covers and some g-diapers with the cloth insert from 2 different sites. The next month we bought my breast pump (which was more than 3 times what I'd been spending on diapers), so I took a break. Then my little bundle of joy arrived and I was ready to start. I have since ordered a few more things here and there, but spreading out the cost has really worked for us, and as we work up to nighttime diapering I plan on spreading out the cost and trying a few different brands of diapers.
And just think all these diapers are able to be used on more than one child.
If you are really looking at saving some money and you don't mind using used diapers then there is another whole world open to you. There are a bunch of swap boards where women, and I'm sure a few men, look to recover the loss of diapers that didn't work for them or no longer fit. And I've heard that you can get a great deal. I'm not a used diaper girl, as of right now. I look at as underwear. I wouldn't buy someones used underwear, so why would I put it on my son. And yes I do plan on using his diapers on any future children, but at least that's all in the family. Maybe it's a fetish I'll get over one day.
Another way to save money is to find someone who can make you some diapers. Or make them yourself! There are a ton of talented women out there on sites like Hyena Cart and Esty who make and sell there diapers at a much lower rate than the brands you find on diaper store websites. It's all a matter of looking, seek and ye shall find.
The one pitfall. Shopping is addictive. I am a total diaper shopaholic. I adore shopping and find myself filling my cart and closing my browser so I'm not caught. When I go back to the site and my cart is still full, I start shopping again and realize I can't afford my now $500.00 bill, so I clear my cart, forget what I had put in there. It must not have been a real need if I can't even remember it. And I'll be honest we've made it okay with out the extra grand of imaginary money that I could have spent on my dream stash. But when my husband gives the green light he has to reign me in. I'm like a man in an electronics store, I want everything in sight.