How to Afford Cloth Diapers on a Budget

This is a follow up on my last post: Cheap Diapers.  It also happens to be the education focus for today as part of Real Diaper Week.

There is a certain degree of sticker shock when buying your stash of cloth diapers.  Even when you know in the long run you are saving a minimum of $1000 vs buying disposables, the fact is most people buy disposables one or two packages at a time on grocery day or when they run out.  It’s harder to see that $1500-3000 flying out of your pocket when it’s only $17 a pop.  Looking at starting your cloth diaper stash and seeing that on average a pocket diaper is going to cost you $24 up front and you need 24-36 of them, yeah, $600 upfront is a lot.

If you are truly working on a budget and thinking of buying the cheapie diapers instead of quality diapers, here are some ways to still buy quality diapers and soften the blow to your wallet:

  • You don’t have to buy them all at once – Maybe this one seems obvious, but it isn’t.  You can easily build a great stash over time buying 1 diaper a week.  If you do this, it will take you 24-36 weeks to have your full stash, but it won’t be as much of a shock to your wallet.
  • Mix it Up – It’s true, I love pocket diapers, but I also loved having pre-folds for D when he was brand new.  Many cloth diapering families also love pre-folds full time or part time.  They aren’t much more work (hello, Snappi(R)), and they are inexpensive! A 6 pack of Bummis prefolds is $19 for Infant size (7-15lbs), and a Bummis cover is around $13.  If you made your full stash of prefolds you would only need 6 or so covers, and 24-36 inserts.  Yes, you have to go to the next size (Baby – 15-30lbs is $30 for a 6 pack), but prefolds are good for everything from cleaning up spills, to washing your windows, they are truly a great investment.  Even buying the two sizes, an entire stash of prefolds and covers is only around $400. Again, you can buy a pack of inserts one week, and buy a cover the next to slowly build your stash.
  • Pre Loved Diapers – One of the bonuses of buying quality diapers in the first place is that you can re-sell them and get back a good chunk of what you invested, as long as you maintained them well.  This works in favour of those on a budget as well, you can buy these pre loved and well cared for diapers at a fraction of the new price and still have quality on your baby’s bottom.  Search Kijiji, or cloth diaper forums like  Many of the diapers are barely used, some people just didn’t like that particular diaper for their family and need to pass it on, some families are just done diapering, and some people have cloth diaper addictions and need to pass on some of the accumulation so they can buy more.  True, you should be cautious when buying pre loved diapers, and you will have to strip them, but you are still better off with quality pre loved diapers vs the cheaply made options.
  • Factory Seconds – Quality diapers go through inspections before being sent out for retailers to sell to their customers, those diapers are first quality.  Factory seconds are the ones that are second quality and didn’t quite make the cut.  Sometimes it’s something cosmetic, like the thread colour is wrong, or the snaps are the wrong colour.  Most of the big diaper companies have a seconds website for you to stake out and snap up deals on these almost perfect diapers.  It really is a stake out and grab mission, so you need to have time to watch them and be fast enough to grab them.  Some of them do have issues that will require some sewing or snap replacements, but if you are crafty it may be worth your while.  Keep in mind, these diapers don’t come with the same warranty as the first quality ones do, but it is still another option for snagging great diapers.
  • Sales – That’s right, wait for a good old fashion sale!  Throughout the year many of the diaper companies will offer great discounts to their retailers to pass on to you!  Retailers also have short sales or coupons you can use to stock up and save.  Join your local retailer’s Facebook Page, or email list to get notified of their great sales!
  • Gifts – If you are having a baby, and you know you want to cloth diaper, let your friends and family know.  Make a registry with your favourite cloth diaper shop, or host a cloth diaper party.  A cloth diaper party is a fun way to build your stash with help from friends and family (or to help them build their own stash).  It is a great add on to a baby shower, too.  A Diaper Party from The Fluff & Stuff Shop gives each guest a 5% discount, the host or guest of honour gets 10% plus bonus goodies depending on the total sales of the party.  You can even host a virtual party leading up to your baby shower, same discounts, but everyone gets a coupon code to buy online.


I hope this will help some of you who are struggling to afford diapers for your family.  We all do the best we can within our means.  I don’t believe that we should have to sacrifice quality in the name of affordability.


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