Thursday, January 6, 2011

Saving Money on Babies and Toddlers: Diapers

I've pretty much covered everything else, but the one that can cost a ton is diapers. I think the best way to deal with this is a good ol' cloth vs disposable comparison.

-Upfront Cost
-Need for place to store dirty
-Learning Curve
-Need for laundering

-Tend to be simpler
-Can just toss away
-Environmental impact
-Cost over long-run
-Smelly Trash

Now here's the thing about the comparing the two. Either way can be cost effective. Cloth diapers cost a bunch more up-front, but if you end up using them for more than one child you reap the savings. There's also the issue of how many days you want to go between washing. If you have to run less than full loads of diapers and then dry them, you may actually spend the same (if not more than disposable). This also means the "eco-friendliness" of the diaper is diminished especially if you wash them with any harsh detergents/bleach. I've actually read quite a few books on green-living that have said cloth and disposable have the same ecological impact. Disposables do have coupons and cost much less per diaper, but the more kids you have the more you will have paid for diapers in the long run. Truly it's hard to make an apples to apples comparison of the two because it depends on your specific situation. Maybe you use an energy efficient washer with homemade or eco-friendly soaps and line dry them, or maybe you will only have one kid and are on the go all the time and need convenience of disposable. Then there are hybrid diapers like g-diapers. The choice is truly yours, so do what your personal values and experiences dictate.

To save on any kind of diapers:

  • Look for coupons (not so likely for cloth, but still possible)
  • Look for retail codes (especially good if you are buying online)
  • Don't buy a ton of any one kind of diaper until you know it works for your kid because some kids just manage to leak through certain kinds of diapers. Every baby is different.
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