Cloth Diapers Save Money: 12 Ways to Stretch Your Budget

While you do have to make an initial investment, cloth diapers save money over the long haul! If you’re working with a tight budget (and what new mom isn’t?) we’ve created a list of money-saving ideas.

cloth diapers save money

Many of our ideas are simple, easy changes to make, so read on for some inspiration!

  1. Buy inexpensive washcloths to use as cloth wipes – they don’t have to be sorted out from your diapers before you wash them, and will easily pay for themselves the first time you don’t have to buy a case of wipes!

  2. Make your own cloth diaper accessories. I’m no seamstress, but I have a sewing machine, and can sew an (almost) straight seam. I started with a PUL pail liner, which was a very simple project, and then moved on to make zippered travel wet-bags. In total, my sewing projects took me a few hours, and it cost me less money to make 2 pail liners and 3 wet-bags than you would spend to buy one PUL pail liner. If you don’t know how to sew, consider enlisting the help of a friend, neighbor, or family member for these projects. Everyone always wants to know what they can do to help when you have a baby!

  3. Cloth diapers save money, especially if you can make your own diapers or accessories! Check out our Making Cloth Diapers section. If you want to make wet bags or diapers, we've got a list of cloth diaper patterns, plus tutorials and other helpful information to get you started.

  4. Line-dry your diapers. The sun provides a powerful and free bleach alternative, and in terms of laundry, the cost to dry a load is higher than the cost to wash it (including the water!), so if you have a clothes line, you can save more than half of your laundering costs. If you live in Canada (like me!) or some other cold locale, you’ll be stuck using your dryer for at least a few months of the year!

  5. Consider using at least some pre-folds and covers vs. a full set of pocket diapers. With high quality pre-folds and a few covers, you can usually get started with cloth diapers for under $150, whereas pocket diapers can run you well over $500. Read this article to find out how cloth diapers save you money.

  6. Keep an eye out for “seconds” sales directly from cloth diaper manufacturers. "Seconds" are not pre-owned! These are brand-new diapers that have a small defect in the manufacturing – sometimes it’s as simple as using the wrong color of thread or a slight offset on one of the snaps. In most cases, you can’t pick out the problem, but even if they may not look quite as perfect, they still work just fine! Some manufacturers announce Seconds Sales on Facebook, so be sure to “like” your favorite brands to follow the latest buzz. And if you’re coveting a certain brand for your stash, you may want to inquire with the manufacturer to find out if they sell seconds and how to become notified of any sales.

  7. Buy diapers in larger quantities. Some manufacturers and retailers offer discounts and free shipping on larger orders. While you may have to part with more cash at least initially, in the long run you will be paying a lower cost PER diaper.

  8. You know that cloth diapers save money – now, don’t give up when it comes to toilet training! At this point, it can seem like you’ve been washing diapers forever, but in many cases, using cloth training pants can speed up the process since baby feels wet, and investing in an inexpensive set of cloth training pants can save you a load more money when compared to disposable Pull-Ups!

  9. Plan to use your diapers on more than one child. You may have to replace the elastic (a relatively simple sewing project) or buy some additional inserts if yours become worn, but if you buy a decent-sized stash of quality diapers you’ll find they usually last through more than one child, especially if you use a “sized” option. If this is the last child you plan to diaper, read the next few points on buying/selling used and donating.

  10. Think about buying or selling your diapers second-hand. Used cloth diapers save money and you can do a good deed for the environment, too! Our article helps you buy used cloth diapers.

  11. While you’re at it, consider buying used clothing and other gear for baby as well – you can save a ton of money buying high quality gently-used goods.

  12. If you’re buying used (or new!) diapers, look for places where you can buy more than one diaper at a time – you may not notice it right away, but it costs you time and money to drive all over town picking up individual diapers.

  13. Pay it forward: You know how that cloth diapers save money. Help someone else discover the many benefits of cloth diapers! When you’re done with your diapers, consider donating them to a local cloth diaper charity. There are lots of organizations highlighted in our cloth diaper charity list that offer cloth diaper loans to families who can’t afford the start-up costs for diapers.

We all know cloth diapers save money. Do you have more money-saving ideas to add to this list? Join the conversation below!

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If you’re just getting started with cloth diapers, read more on How to Use Cloth Diapers: Learn More.

At Thinking About Cloth Diapers, we offer reliable, up-to-date cloth diaper research to save you time so you can get on with the other things you want to do.

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