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!

$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

Update: November 13, 2013

I am participating in a blog hop this month about cloth diapers.  The School of Cloth is a month-long educational event sponsored by the Real Diaper Association, and delivered by cloth diaper businesses, cloth diapering bloggers, and the entire cloth diaper community to help raise awareness about cloth diapers.  

Buying New Cloth Diapers

Prefolds & Covers

Prefolds are considered one of the mainstays of cloth diapering, and are used by moms and diaper services alike.  They are soft and absorbent and are made of natural fibers making them easy to care for.  To read more about prefolds, check out our full article here.

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 Infant 4x8x4 prefolds and 4 covers $86.95, or get the size that fits 15 to 30 lbs in a 4x6x4 for $99.  Note that the infant size is recommended for 7 to 15 lbs but can be used much longer if you lay them in the cover as an insert later.

cheap cloth diapers - Osocosy prefolds and Thirsties duo diaper covers

Another affordable package deal comes from the makers of bumGenius cloth diapers.  The Econobum package includes 12 one-size prefolds, a wet bag, and 3 one-size diaper covers.  Purchasing 2 will allow you to cloth diaper full-time on a tight budget.

Budget cloth diapers - Econobum prefolds and one-size covers from the makers of bumGenius

If you want to break up your order to spread your purchases out over a couple of paychecks, buying from Diaper Safari is a great way to go.  This retailer has an excellent selection, and they offer free shipping on all orders, with no minimum purchase necessary!  Plus, they've introduced their own line of Diaper Safari one-size covers which, at $8.25 each, are a great budget cloth diaper option!   Add 24 infant 4x8x4 unbleached prefolds at $2.25 each = $54, for a total under our $100 budget too!

diaper safari covers and prefolds are a cheap cloth diaper option

To save even more upfront, start with Bummis pull-on covers and pins.  Covers are $6.50 each, but prefolds must be fastened with pins or a Snappi.  These covers are sized, so they won't last forever, but they can get you started and are great for on-the-go toddlers!

Canadians! Here's A Prefold Deal for You, too!

Purchase 2 dozen Kawaii Unbleached prefolds at $2.14 each, for $52.36 total.  These are a 4x6x4 budget cloth diaper prefold, but you can also upgrade to Sweet Pea 4x8x4 prefolds (which means a bit more extra absorbency) for an extra $20.

Cheap cloth diapers from Canada - kawaii prefolds plus sweet pea one-size wraps for under $100

Add 4 Sweet Pea One-Size covers (with double gussets!) for $10.95 each, which fit from 10 to 38 lbs.  Then add a Snappi  or another accessory to get you to $99 total, and you'll get free shipping!

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. 

budget cloth diapers - purchase no-frills Alva pocket diapers for under $100

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.

Free world-wide shipping from China, $5.69 each, purchase 16 for $89.  You can add a wet bag for about $5 more.  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).

Flats & Covers

From OsoCosy's factory warehouse outlet, ClothDiaper.com, purchase OsoCosy unbleached birdseye flat diapers (27x27) per dozen - $15.  We recommend 3 dozen.  $45. 

budget cloth diapers - flats and covers are an affordable option

Also from ClothDiaper.com, add 4 Bummis wraps or Thirsties Duo wraps to your order - these are sized though, so you will need to purchase more over time.  Most covers have decent resale value, so you may be able to recover 1/2 to 2/3 of the original purchase price - or buy used to save more!

Another option is to purchase 4 of the popular Flip one-size covers for $14 each, with free shipping from Diaper Safari.  If you go this route, purchase your OsoCosy flats from Amazon.com to avoid extra shipping, since ClothDiaper.com has a minimum of $49 for free shipping.

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 Diaper Safari or Dearest Diapers.
  • 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.
  • We also like retailer Irresistibly Green.  Their Bargain Bin section offers a large assortment of diapers under $15, including pockets, covers, and more - and $2 US shipping (free on orders over $20), $3 flat-rate shipping to Canada.

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!

Want to Learn More?

Be sure to check out the schedule of live classes listed on the RDA website and attend the School of Cloth!

You can also read more posts from other cloth diaper bloggers on how to manage the start-up costs of cloth diapers - just click through the links below!

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