First of all, this is Charlie, my son (or the back of him, anyway). He is currently 10 and a half months old and totally awesome. Secondly, I’m sorry it’s been a gazillion years since my last post. It’s been a busy week/end.
I know I promised not to fill up my blog with a bunch of diaper content, but after a few non-diaper posts, I think I’m allowed. I am, after all, a mom, and sometimes I’ve just got to talk about diapers.
Cloth diapers, specifically.
Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to get all high-and-mighty and tell everyone that they’re corporate heathens brainwashed by the Society of Convenience and that I am infinitely better than everyone else (I actually read that on a forum post once. I wish I would have bookmarked it). I’m just going to tell you guys about how TOTALLY AWESOME they are, and how incredibly grateful I am that my husband convinced me to go along with him on it.
Let’s all close our eyes for a minute, and imagine a woman named Lauren. She’s sitting on an extremely cheap but surprisingly comfortable Craigslist couch, looking as though she has eaten either a beach ball or a toddler-aged manatee. She has just finished crying after watching an episode of Friends, and is considering waddling over to the computer and harvesting her Farmville crops. After deciding, instead, to eat some leftover fried chicken (oftentimes, fried chicken was the only thing with the ability to dam her tears) she notices that she has put a bottle of dish soap in the fridge instead of under the sink. This revelation, of course, causes tears to flood out of her eyes again, requiring the medicinal qualities of a yet another drumstick. Luckily, her gallant husband Paul returns home shortly after work to snuggle away the aftereffects of the Great 3 PM Meltdown.
Now, let’s all imagine Lauren’s reaction to Paul’s unsuspecting and innocent mid-snuggle suggestion to use cloth diapers instead of disposables.
Rather than yelling or bursting into tears, Lauren becomes snarky, sullen, and irrational. Emphasis on the irrational.
Most people’s objections to cloth diapers involve having to clean poop out of a diaper instead of just throwing it away. My main objection, however, had to do with “baby ghetto-booty.”
I had seen a few cloth-diapered babies (if you are reading this and happen to be a parent of one of these babies, please don’t be offended; it was the hormones) and all I could think was, “But his/her butt’s so BIG! You probably have to buy bigger sizes of pants and onesies and blah blah blah…”
The one thing my irrational self could not argue with was our financial state at the time. Not only was it cheaper even to use quarters in a laundromat than it was to buy disposables, but we also lived in Austin, TX and had the perfect weather to dry them on a line. When it came to money, I had no other choice to but to resign to the side of frugality.
What I didn’t expect was how excited I got when we got online and picked out styles and colors. Or how we both acted like giddy little girls when they came in the mail…OR the ridiculous amounts of money we would save by going cloth. For real, though. If you filled a bathtub with the money we’re saving, you could take a very uncomfortable and pretty gross bath.
For this post, I’m going to break down how much money we have spent using cloth diapers compared to how much money one would spend on disposables. Just for the sake of fairness, I will even go by the amount of money my sister-in-law has spent. If you don’t know my sister-in-law, all you need to know is that she is the Queen of Coupons. If there were a kingdom (let’s call it Coupopia), she would be reigning over the land, impaling the heads of over-spenders on stakes.
Aaaaaaanyway, let’s get to the math. For those of you who are familiar with my mathematical abilities, know that Paul helped me, so the results should be accurate.
We’re doing this over a period of 10 months, as Charlie is almost 11 months, and we used disposables for the first couple of weeks.
The Queen of Coupopia refuses to spend more than $6.99 on a package of diapers, and when her little boy was around 10 months old, she used about 8 diapers a day. The average package of diapers for that size baby contained about 36 diapers. So:
8 diapers a day for 7 days equals 56 diapers a week. We’ll estimate about 4 weeks in a month and that’s 224 diapers a month. At 10 months we’re at a whopping 2240 diapers. Divide that by 36 and you’ve got 62 packages of diapers at $6.99 (plus knocking off about $22 to make it even with us using dispoables for 2 weeks), making an approximate total of $413.00 in 10 months.
Now let’s check out the cloth. When you’re talking about cloth, you can’t forget the start-up cost. (I’ll get into specific diaper types and whatnot in the next post.) We paid about $121.00 to acquire our stash. We used cloth on Charlie in Austin for about 3 months, so we dried the clothes on the line during that time. We paid $1.25 per load and did laundry about every 2nd to 3rd day, so:
$1.25, 3 times a week for 3 months is: $45.00
When we moved to NE, our apartment complex didn’t really allow us to have a line, so we both wash and dry at $1.00 per load, so:
$2.00, 3 times a week, 4 weeks a month for 7 months is: $168
So, in about 10 months, we’ve saved about 80 bucks. I know that start-up cost seems like a lot, but you can’t forget that these things will be diapering Charlie for as long as he needs them and will be covering our next kid’s butt, too.
So, for right now, it would be kind of a shallow money-bath. Talk to us in another year, however, and you’ll find us bathing in much deeper levels of dough.
Wow, this post ended up being incredibly long, and I haven’t even covered everything I wanted to talk about. Let’s say “To Be Continued” because, after all that math, I can feel my brain cells plotting a mutiny.