How To Afford Cloth Diapers

Unfortunately, I eliminated my cloth diaper stash after my youngest child potty trained. (She was, after all, going to be my “last baby” right?)

Yesterday I got my first batch of cloth diapers in the mail. I’ve enjoyed fondling them ever since.

You mean I have to wait 6 months before I get to actually USE them?

As a self-confessed cloth diaper addict, I can scarcely wait to diaper a baby bum in these. It’s one of the fun things about new babies – perusing the different brands, deciding on your cloth diaper “system”, buying, washing and stacking your diapers in anticipation of baby’s arrival.

Frugal mommies who are using disposables become geniuses at combining store specials with coupons and rebates to get their baby’s ‘sposies dirt cheap – but what’s a cheapskate cloth diapering mommy to do?

Affording Cloth Diapers: How to build your cloth diaper stash

The most affordable cloth diapers are almost always going to be Chinese Prefolds. These are the workhorse diaper. Absorbent, they are easy to wash and they dry quickly.affordable cloth diapers: prefolds

Generally prefolds $1-2 apiece for the good ones, and you can often find imperfect “Seconds” on Amazon and eBay. Or, you can buy them used. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Cheap quality diapers typically found in discount stores are thin and not very absorbent, plus they’re often not even 100% cotton.

Prefolds are awesome for their adaptability too. You can fold them in different ways for boys and girls and use two in one diaper cover for nighttime. If baby has a rash, a loosely pinned on prefold will provide some protection while letting lots of air flow around to allow his skin to heal.

But, if you’re interested in trying some of the new, fancy schmancy Cadillac cloth diapers (or just want to keep a few of those around for Dads, Grandparents or babysitters who may not “get” cloth … or for travel), here are a few suggestions on affording them if you’re on a tight budget.

(There is another article here on affordable cloth diapers for your reading pleasure.)

Cute GroBaby butt!Baby Shower Registry

Nowadays, dozens of natural baby online shops are offering baby registries. Search around to see if your favorite site offers one.

Personally I always found it very difficult to register at a typical discount store like Target and the like, because I don’t use so many conventional baby products that these stores sell.

But a lot of your friends and relatives will love the convenience of a baby registry. They know they’re getting you what you like and what you really need.

Amazon’s Wish List is another great option.

Simply browse to items you want and click “add to wish list”. If you have an Amazon account, you have a wish list by default. If you want to create a new one, it’s super simple to do. Tell your friends you’re “registered” at Amazon when they ask!

Once A Month Diaper

Try investing in just two or three diapers a month during your pregnancy. If your budget is tight you can probably still reallocate some funds to the tune of $20-$30 a month. 

By the end of 9 months you should have a couple dozen, which if you wash often, could suffice, especially if you purchase “One Size” diapers.


Back in the good old days (when my oldest was a baby), I could find nice used cloth diapers at thrift stores – it’s been years since this has been the case however. My thought is that most moms who are getting rid of their stash just sell them on eBay instead.

But, it’s still worth looking around – especially at consignment sales. Of course eBay and sites like DiaperSwappers are also great for finding used cloth diapers. If the idea of “used” cloth is too much for your squeamishness level, keep in mind that many moms will sell new diapers that their baby has outgrown or that do not fit their baby’s shape well, or that they flat out do not like. Some of these have been washed not worn, and some have never been worn. It’s worth a look.

So. How did YOU build your cloth diaper stash on the cheap?

Please share your tips in the comments!

Creative Commons License photo credit: mikeporcenaluk

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4 Responses to How To Afford Cloth Diapers

  1. Terra Jones says:

    Craigslist & Freecycle! And also entering blog giveaways – I’ve won a TON of diapers that way! I’m an addict too – I have to find a way to get them cheap or hubby has a heart attack ;-)

  2. Roxy says:

    I plan on just acquiring diapers over time. We are planning to get pregnant in the near future. Also I’m hoping to use elimination communication with our 2nd one and use cloth diapers as back up. So that will cut back cost and washing considerably. Wish us luck! Here is a website for those of you that aren’t familiar with EC

  3. Carrie says:

    Great point Roxy, thanks for the EC site mention. I have done EC part time with a few of my kids and yes it does cut down on diaper laundry considerably. There are a couple of posts here about EC:

  4. Tracie says:

    This is very helpful. I’m considering making cloth diapers out of old receiving blankets and towels. I think I can buy the covers used but the inserts can be made. A friend has been showing me how to do it. Our baby is due in July so I have just a bit of time to try this out. Thanks for the tips

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