Budget Cloth Diapers: You Really Can Diaper for $100 or Less!

If you're on a budget cloth diapers will save you  a lot of money - but getting started can be hard. The good news is that you really can build a stash of cheap cloth diapers for under $100!  Whether you want to buy new diapers, purchase gently used, or make your own, this article has lots of ideas for you to help you work within a tight budget of $100 or less!

Budget Cloth Diapers - cheap cloth diaper options for $100 or less

$100 will buy 4 cases of store-brand disposable diapers, or 3 cases of Luvs, or 2 cases of Huggies or Pampers... And how long will that last you?  If you can scrape together $100, or even $50 at a time, you can start saving money and leading a more sustainable lifestyle for you and your baby today!

Read on to find out how can you get started!

budget cloth diapers - school of cloth

Buying New Cloth Diapers

Flats & Covers

Flats are soft and absorbent and are made of natural fibers making them easy to care for.  

Our first way to diaper your baby for under $100 comes from popular diaper maker OsoCosy.  They offer an economy package, which includes 3 dozen unbleached flats and 4 Thirsties Duo wrap covers, and a pack of three snappi fasteners for a total of $98.95.

If you want to break up your order to spread your purchases out over a couple of paychecks, buying from Nicki's Diapers is a great way to go.  This retailer has an excellent selection, and they offer free shipping at $10.  Plus, they've introduced their own line of Nicki's Diapers Covers which, at $10.25 each, are a great budget cloth diaper option!   Add 24 unbleached prefolds at $2.75 each = $54, for a total under our $100 budget too!

Pocket Diapers & Microfiber Inserts

Called "China cheapies" by many, Alva pocket diapers are a budget cloth diaper that is growing in popularity because of the super low price point.  They're not my favorite and probably won't fit until your baby is 12+ lbs, but they get the job done. 

You will be buying a diaper that has limited resale value, and hard to claim warranty, but if you're not concerned about that, they might be good for you.  Note: you may want to purchase extra inserts, since 1 microfiber insert is often not enough, especially if your baby is a heavy wetter.

 If you're interested in pockets, we have a full article dedicated to super-affordable pocket diaper brands, which includes Alva and other brands (none of the rest can be purchased for under $100 for a full set).

Tips & Suggestions for Buying New

  • Most retailers have free shipping for larger orders, so make your purchase at one retailer unless they offer unlimited free shipping like Nicki's Diapers or Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique.
  • Amazon.com is a great place to purchase diapers - but make sure you buy quality brands to avoid disappointment.  Sometimes a couple of dollars saved isn't the best way to save money if you end up with a poor quality product you can't resell later
  • Many of the more expensive cloth diaper options on the market are convenient but come with a higher price tag.
  • While we prefer to have 6 diaper covers (and more for newborns), you can get away with fewer if you wipe them out or wash and hang them to dry as you go.
  • Watch for sales - Black Friday, Boxing Day (Canada), January are good times to purchase budget cloth diapers
  • Infant size prefolds are recommended for 7 to 15 lbs but can be used well beyond the recommended weight range if you lay them in the cover as an insert later.

Buying Used Cloth Diapers

Many parents sell used cloth diapers to recover some of their costs.  It can take a bit of patience, but if you watch buy and sell boards, Kijiji and other sites, something that's just too good to pass up might just come your way!

If you can sew, purchasing diapers in need of minor repairs (replacing elastic, updating Velcro, repairing snaps) might be a great way to save money.

While brand name diapers still generate decent returns used, some parents are willing to sell of large stashes when their children outgrow their cloth diapers.  Some of the diapers may be well loved, but they are definitely worth considering if they still have some life in them and can get you started in saving enough money to invest in a newer stash.

Read our full article on buying used cloth diapers for more information and suggestions on where to look.

Upcycling: Make Diapers from What You Have

While work-at-home cloth diaper makers use beautiful new materials like bamboo fleece and velours to make cloth diapers, diapers really can be made from almost anything absorbent.

budget cloth diapers - make your own cloth diaper covers from old sweaters

Homemade wool covers made from felted wool sweaters are waterproof and affordable!

For a dollar or two apiece you can sew cheap cloth diapers from old t-shirts plus basic notions like elastic and Velcro.  Old hand towels can be repurposed as prefold diapers, and cotton bed-sheets can be reused as flat or prefold diapers.  Receiving blankets can be found for a song at garage sales and thrift stores - and these can make beautifully soft and absorbent diapers, too!  Even tea towels are an excellent option!  Pick up a couple of old 100% wool sweaters at a thrift shop (or the back of grandma's closet), and you'll even be able to make diaper covers!

Once you start to look around you, you'll be surprised at how many unused items you'll discover that can be turned into effective but cheap cloth diapers.  Diapers don't need to be beautiful to be functional!  Besides, with a little bit of practice, you might be surprised at the results of your efforts!  Or, buy covers, and make your own cloth diaper inserts.  For more ideas, read our section on making cloth diapers.

Cloth Diaper Charities

All across Canada and the US, organizations are collecting new and used cloth diapers to help struggling families get their babies out of disposable diapers and into cloth.  If you need help getting started, you might qualify for their programs.  To find out more, search for a local cloth diaper charity here.


Cloth diapering is an affordable and attainable option for parents working on a tight budget.  All of these no-frills budget cloth diapers offer a reliable and affordable way to get started.  Choosing cloth can help you start saving money and lessening your impact on the environment!  If you need any help finding a cheap cloth diaper option that works for you, please don't hesitate to reach out!  Send us a note, or post a comment on our Facebook page!

All the best!

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