Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's All About the Benjamins

I have been trying to gather the information to post this for a while now, because I know everyone is wanting to know, "Just how much do you really save when you cloth diaper?"  But at the request for this info recently from a friend, this gave me the push to pull it all together and I was able to (with the help of my wonderful hubby) finally get it all figured out.

I know there are many variables that can go into this and cause it to factor differently, but I tried to keep it basic as well as show you from my standpoint how much it costs.

Costs per year:

1st year cloth vs. disposables:  (Pretty close to even in price as far as supplies go).

With cloth, you will need the following supplies:
*12-24 Cloth diapers --$252.35.  The cost for this will vary depending on which route you choose, ie. prefolds or fitteds and covers, pockets, AIOs, combination of the above.  Also, the amount you purchase depends on whether you want to wash every day or every other day.  Check out these economical packages Econobum, Try cloth diapering for $10BumGenius, Fuzzibunz, Rumparooz. (These are all one-size diapers).
*2 Large wetbags --I prefer to use large hanging wetbags instead of a pail as it zips close and prevents ANY stink from escaping into baby's room.  I recommend Monkey Foot Designs XL wetbags.  They run about $30 each.--Monkey Foot Designs is having a 10% off sale through Jan 15th.  Get your wetbags now and save!
*2 Small wetbags --for the diaper bag when out.  I recommend Planet Wise wetbags in Medium.  These run about $16.50 each.
*Wipes--FREE!  I use cloth wipes as I figure I am already washing diapers, why not just throw the wipes in and wash them together?  I just cut up those Gerber flannel "swaddling" blankets, the ones that don't really even wrap around your baby, into 8" x 8" squares and then zig-zagged around the edges to keep them from fraying.  I already had the blankets, so it was FREE.  You could also purchase cheap wash cloths at the dollar store or Walmart to use for your wipes.
*Liners--$60.  I like these ones.  I don't think I would even go through 10 rolls in one year, but this is being generous.
*Detergent--$35.  I use Tide Original and got the box that is for 120 loads, but I can get 420 loads out of this as I only use 2 Tbsp with each load.  I have been using this same box for over a year and have probably 1/3 of the box left still.
Total:  $440.35.  This was going with the BumGenius 12 pack pocket package along with the Econobum package of 3 covers and 12 prefolds.  If you go with the Fuzzibunz package above, you won't have to worry about buying any of the above and will spend only $385.

With disposables, you will need the following supplies:
*2257 Diapers--$451.40.  This is an average of each diaper costing $0.20.
*Wipes--$43.50.  I used to buy the box of 810 wipes at Sam's Club for $14.50.  They would last about 4 months.
Total:  $494.90.

2nd year cloth versus disposables:  (Save $hundreds as far as supplies go).

*You still have everything else you need!
Total:  $60

*1825 Diapers--$365.00
Total:  $408.50

Now is where we get into the nitty gritty...utilities.  Some may think that you really don't save much cloth diapering because what you save in cloth you make up for in water and electricity from washing diapers.  This is not the case.  Greg and I found an average (non-efficient) Whirlpool top loader washing machine which holds 25 gallons of water with each fill.  So if you have an energy efficient and/or front loader, you will be spending less on water.  Here is the yearly breakdown on utilities:

25 gallons of water used per fill
.23 cents/gallon (for the area in which we live)
100 gallons of water/ round of washing diapers (that is with an initial soak, hot wash, cold rinse, cold rinse).
Total:  23 cents in water per round of washing diapers

1.13 kwh (kilowatt hertz) per load (energy used) x 3 (3 loads per round of diaper laundry)=3.39 kwh
1.13 kwh= 11.6 cents x 3 (see above)=Total:  34.8 cents per round of diaper laundry in electricity.

1 therm (gas to heat the water)=73 cents
0.0572 therms used per round of diaper laundry=Total:  4.2 cents (only one load uses gas to heat the water as there is only one hot cycle).
Total:  39.23 cents per round of diaper laundry

Detergent:  4.3 cents per round of diaper laundry (see above under "detergent" for initial cost and breakdown).

Washing yearly total:  39.23 cents + 4.3 cents for detergent = 43.53 cents x 3 (I wash every other day, so on average, rounding up, 3 times per week) = $1.32 x 52 weeks in a year = $68.64 per year.

This is if you use the dryer to dry your diapers.  You can avoid this cost all together by hang-drying or laying diapers or inserts in the sun.

Electric dryer (average on a non-efficient dryer) electricity used =  Total:  66 cents per round of diaper laundry x 3 per week = $1.98 x 52 weeks in the year = $102.96 per year.

Gas dryer = Total:  36 cents per round of diaper laundry x 3 per week = $1.08 x 52 weeks in the year = $56.16 per year.

GRAND TOTAL (utilities):
Washing and Electric Drying:  $68.64 + 102.96 = $171.60 per year.
Washing and Gas Drying:  $68.64 + $56.16 = $124.80 per year.

Conclusion:  (I went with 2 years as this is the point at which I potty train my kids).
Cloth for 2 years using the above:  $783.55 (using electric dryer), $749.95 (using gas dryer).
Disposables for 2 years:  $903.40.

These numbers can obviously vary, especially if you go with a very economical route of cloth diapers, and you have an energy efficient washer and dryer, as well as if you have a front loading washing machine (as you will use much less water).

You may not save a ton with the first child, only about $300, but if you use your same cloth diapers and supplies for subsequent children, that is where it starts adding up.  Especially if you have more than one child in diapers at the same time and you are using one-size diapers (ones that will fit both children at the same time), the savings will be great!

You can save money even after your child is potty trained by using cloth training pants for naps and bedtime instead of Pullups.  Buy 4 and never have to buy Pullups again!  This is actually where I started with cloth diapers...

Hope this helps!


1 comment:

  1. Good job crunching numbers! Jason has been wondering how much I've spent on diapers, I should figure it out:)