Before we had our daughter, my wife and I extensively discussed diapers. We (like most new parents) had to decide if we would do cloth or disposable diapers. Neither of us had a preference, but being a financial planner, we first had to analyze the financial impact of this decision.
We live in California, so we know the cost of living is much higher than most parts of the country. We did some research on diaper costs, and it was startling. Based on our research, the average monthly cost for disposable diapers ranges from $150-$200/month ($1,800 – $2,400/yearly). There were some lower averages, but these figures were closer to our reality since we’re in California.
My wife and I weren’t enthused about those numbers, so we turned our attention to cloth diapers. First, we have an in-unit washer and dryer, which would help us avoid making all those trips to the laundry mat. But, the trade-off is that we would have increased water usage each month, and the electric bill would increase. And, since we can’t just toss a dirty diaper into the trash, we would have to consider the time we would have to spend cleaning diapers. This time commitment would end up falling on my shoulders. (Since my wife nursed, I volunteered to handle diaper duty.)
Then, we took a look at the cost of cloth diapers. But, before we got heavy into the research, our good friend told us that she had been saving her newborn and infant (a set of 60) cloth diapers for us. And, shortly after my wife let some people know we decided to go the cloth diaper route, we were then gifted a large box of 30+ infant cloth diapers. So we didn’t have to pay anything for diapers. We are super thankful our village helped us save money.
But, since the Smith family is big on crunching numbers, here’s the breakdown of what it would have cost us for the cloth diaper brand we were initially gifted. We received a set of 30 newborn diapers and a set of 30 infant diapers. The set of newborn diapers would have cost us $568.50 ($18.95/diaper), and 30 infant diapers would have cost us $748.50 ($24.95/diaper). So, for $1,317, we had a solid stash of cloth diapers. That big box of 30+ infant diapers was just gravy on top.
What’s interesting about this diaper adventure is that many people doubted we would stick it out. When I would tell people we’re doing cloth diapers, they would say, “We’ll see how long that lasts,” or “Y’all are still doing cloth diapers?”. But that was just noise that didn’t faze us one bit. We had a plan, and we stuck to it.
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