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I have been married for 6 years now, stay at home with my two wonderful boys (2 1/2 and 5 mo). I also watch 5 other children in their home part time. I cloth diaper both of my boys, using hand knit, by me, wool covers and prefolds. I try and make a lot of our food from scratch and hopelessly fail at keeping house, but I try.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Cost of Diapering: Disposables

*I'd like to start by apologising for the coloring of my text here. I had tried to simply highlight subtitles using colored text and for some reason, half of everything is red, and I cna't change it back:(


Disposables have some pros and cons, just like any other system. I have used them, I have brands I like and brands that you'd have to point a gun at my family for me to force myself to use. In fact there is a brand, that shall remain un-named that I would rather let me baby run around naked all day than put on him. Simply because they leak like nothing I've ever seen before. I actually have less messes to clean up and less laundry when I let my kid do his business on the floor (because it doesn't get all squished out the back and legs of a diaper before getting all over his clothing and whatever he's sitting on or in when he's wearing it!). However a brand I do like is Parent's Choice. For my math I will be using this brand.

Lets set some ground rules for math. I will assume you use 10 diapers a day, every day for three years. I will assume you either wash your cloth diapers or dispose of your used disposables every two days, as I do. I will assume you use only 5 wipes a day, rather than taking advantage of a convenience and using them to wash hands, faces, runny noses, dirty high chair trays etc. After all, we're calculating the cost of diapering, not cleaning. Just keep in mind that if you use your wipes for other things simply because they are available then you are adding the cost to diapering your child. I will assume that like me, you enjoy saving money and buy the best quality at the lowest price. These rules will apply to each part in this series.

The Math:

10 Parents Choice diapers per day (using size 3 96 pack for $13.97)
Cost of each: ------------------ $0.15
Daily Cost: ------------------ $1.50
Weekly Cost: ------------------ $10.50
Monthly Cost: ------------------ $42
Yearly Cost: ------------------ $504
After 3 years, you've spent:
---- $1,512

The Wipes:

5 Parents Choice Wipes per day (using the 528 pack, regular wipes for $8.97)
Cost of each: ---------- $0.02
Daily Cost: ---------- $0.10
Weekly Cost: ---------- $0.70
Monthly Cost:---------- $2.80
Yearly Cost: ---------- $33.60
3 Years: ---------- $100.80

Diaper Pail and Liners:

Cheap $15 pail ----------- $15
Can Liners (40 per box @ $7
Cost of Each: ----------- $0.18
Weekly Cost: ----------- $o.54 (assuming you take the diapers out 3 x a week)
Monthly: ----------- $2.16
Yearly: ----------- $25.92
3 Years: ----------- $77.76

A few things we will not be adding into our cost is diaper cream (you'll likely have to buy that no matter what you use, and cloth friendly creams are not significantly higher priced) deodorizers as that is a personal choice. I don't feel the need to use them when we use cloth, but I can't stand the smell of a used disposable (some how it just smells like urine soaked chemicals to me and makes me feel ill). I also assumed you chose to purchase a very inexpensive trash can rather than putting $25 + into a pail that you had to purchase special liners for and deodorizing discs. After all this is a Frugal Friday. Costly Refills are not frugal.

Lets add up all the totals here:

Diapers: ---------- $1,512.00
Wipes: ---------- $0,100.80
Trash Can: ---------- $0,015.00
Trash Bags: ---------- $0,077.76

Grand Total for 3 yrs: $1,705.56

Just for Kicks here's the total for the Wipes, Pail, and liners so you can compare it to the cost of the reusable options:

Grand total for 3 yrs: $193.56

In Summary I"d like to remind you of a few things. I have used the cheapest option of disposables (which happen to leak the least in my experience, and be my preferred choice). I've cut some corners by calculating the use of a regular garbage pail. I have not included coupons (in my experience, coupons tend to make name brand items either more $$ or the same price as the store brand). With some excellent coupon skills you may be able to do disposables for much cheaper. If that's the case, kudos to you and let us know how in the comment section!

Be sure to check out next weeks Frugal Friday on how to eliminate the recurring cost of disposable accessories that are required in diapering.


  1. Wow! And you didn't even count in the cost of pullups!

  2. No I didn't, Lois. I chose to assume that said baby would be trained by 3yrs, which many, if not most, aren't. Also, pull ups are much more expensive! If you're trying to save $$ while training your kid: strait to undies and make them change themselves! (ok. . . except when it's a little too much for them to handle!) If they are really ready to train, it'll be a fast process!

  3. Exactly! I put Aubrey in plastic Gerber pants and those thick undies. Only had pullups for night. Two boxes was all we bought. My sister bought one a week for almost a year! Talk about expensive! With this baby I am happy to be cloth all the way :)