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Feel like you can’t afford to start using cloth diapers? Yes, you’ll save money in the long run, but do you balk at the up front cost? The average, no-frills starter collection may seem really daunting, even at just $100 or $200.
So I’ve gathered together some ideas from around the web, and from personal experience. Here three REALLY cheap ways to get started with cloth. Making these work will involve delayed gratification, so patience is key. You won’t find organic cottons or silky bamboo in these budget stashes!
These starter diapers are designed to get you through about 2 days, depending on the age/size of your baby.
The $20 Plan
COVERS: Use scraps of fleece, a large fleece blanket or yardage to make no-sew diaper covers. All you need is a pair of scissors. Here’s my tutorial with photos. You can make your own pattern by simply tracing over a diaper laid out completely flat, making your pattern a little bigger to allow for coverage. Your no-sew covers can be tied closed. If you don’t have any fleece or wool to repurpose, it can be bought by the yard at Wal-Mart for just $2.97. One yard measures 36×60 inches and that yields about 3 covers. Tip: roll in the sides of your fleece wrap for better poo containment. Double up covers for naps.
DIAPERS: Purchase flour sack towels (large, flat foldable squares of cotton) at Wal-Mart for $1 each. You can get 18 for $18 or less. Go even cheaper by using old t-shirts and receiving blankets (stuff you have on hand, or grab at yard sales for 25 to 50 cents). Even old cotton towels can serve as emergency diapers.
The $40 Plan
COVERS: Buy 4 Nicki’s brand pull-on diaper covers from Nicki’s (aff). Shipping is free.
DIAPERS: As above, use old t-shirts, towels or receiving blankets (free or 25 cents and up).
FASTENER: Purchase a 3-pack of Snappi fasteners ($9.95) from Nicki’s.
The $50 Plan
DIAPERS: Purchase flour sack towels (large foldable squares of cotton) at Wal-Mart for $1 each. You can get 18 for roughly $18 or less.
FASTENER: Purchase a Snappi ($3.95) or Boingo ($5.50) fastener. If you buy the Diaper Junction cover, you can “pad fold” your diapers and skip buying a fastener.
Erik in a Diaper Junction one-size cover:
The “I Don’t Have $20 Plan”
If you are truly counting every penny and even $20 is pushing it, there’s still hope! Buy just 2 waterproof pull-on Nicki’s brand covers. Shipping is free and it will cost about $13.90. For your diapers, use whatever free and absorbent items you can get your hands on. That includes old towels and faded/stained t-shirts, receiving blankets, worn sheets, etc. If you don’t have any, or can’t spare any money at yard sales, post your need on Facebook and Craigslist and I can almost 100% guarantee that you will have people willing to give you some old blankets and t-shirts for free. Your last step will be purchasing some of those old-school diaper pins at Wal-mart or the dollar store (probably a buck or two).
With these two diaper covers, you can cloth diaper for 1 day, and wash the next. See how it goes. And if you like the money you’re saving, start working on building up a better stash (PUL covers, prefolds, flats, etc.).
The “I Have No Money” Plan
If you’ve read this far and are thinking “I can’t even spend $13!” then check out these freebies:
1. My free diaper resource page shows you how to find cloth diapers at zero or little cost to you.
2. These diaper charities give or loan packages at little or no cost to you.
3. Add cloth diapers to your registry during pregnancy. Nothing fancy, just the basics (covers, prefolds, etc.). All styles can be found at Wal-Mart and Amazon.
4. Please enter my giveaways, and come back for the daily entries. If you are expecting, please sign up for my monthly drawing.
What About Folding?
All my budget plans include flats or things you need to fold. Here’s how to pad fold a flat (square) diaper for a newborn, and for an older baby. You can pad fold anything (t-shirts, blankets, towels, diapers, etc.)
If you have some SUPER CHEAP cloth diapering tips, please share them here!