Saving Money or Not
When I first looked into using cloth nappies, I initially was interested in them because I’d always known that I wanted to use them. I didn’t have a clue where to begin – but cloth had always been part of my pregnancy/baby plan (although I did flirt with the idea of eco-sposies for a little while).
However, the more I looked into it, the more acutely aware I became of how much less expensive using cloth could be. Obviously, if you get a little cloth madness attacking your senses, which results in you buying lots and lots of bespoke, custom nappies that are hand-embroidered, covered in expensive fabrics and bejewelled, then you’re unlikely to make any huge financial savings, but if you’re fairly sensible then cloth nappies are a good choice.
In these hard-pressed times, where we’re being hit by a severe lack of jobs and everything is costing WAY more than it used to (without many of us getting a cost of living wage increase), then cloth definitely makes economical sense. As long as you invest wisely, then it’s quite amazing how much you can save – especially if you look at it over a few children. As long as you take care of your nappies, then they should last for two children and, potentially, three or more. Elastic and PUL waterproof outers can deteriorate over time, so the less that they are tumble-dried – the better. Also, drying on an airer or investing (like I have) in a plug-in heated airer will drastically reduce your electricity bill, as well as have a better impact on the environment.
If you’re looking at using nappies over several children, quite often fitted nappies and wraps can work out more economical as you can just replace any worn wraps, rather than the whole nappy. However, I know of many cloth mums who are using their pockets and all-in-ones/ twos on their third child, with absolutely no problems whatsoever!
The other thing to bear in mind is that cloth nappies can be sold on to others through various online preloved groups/forums. Cloth Nappy Tree and the Preloved board on Babycentre are very popular, as are several groups on Facebook, including Cloth Bum Mums, Green Fluffy Bottoms and the Preloved Cloth Nappy group. As long as you take care of your nappies and don’t go for custom ones that would be hard to sell on (e.g. – ones that have your baby’s name embroidered on it), then you can get about a third (or more) of your money back (as long as someone wants to buy them, of course!) People are always interested in whether a nappy is stained, whether the leg elastic is ok and whether the aplix/poppers are in good condition. So, it pays to look after them!
Getting back to the nitty gritty, when I was looking into this topic for my blog, I worked out some figures that I’m going to add below. Now, these aren’t perfect and I only worked them out fairly quickly, so I’m sure that some of you could/would disagree with me. There’s always going to be offers and fluctuations in prices, so it’s never easy to work these things out perfectly, but this should give you an idea. I based my cloth nappy figures on buying new ones at full price, but you could make huge savings by buying in sales or preloved.
Ok – imagine that the average baby uses about 8 nappies a day (newborns and younger babies use more, older children use less and then there’s those ones that they poo in the SECOND that you change ‘em!). When you look at all the offers that are on, disposable nappies cost about 15p each (20p if you’re not buying in bulk offers). Then, I’m assuming that you’ll be using disposable wipes if you’re using disposable nappies. So – they are about £2.00 a pack (ish). I know that I’m actually underestimating these costs a little, but I didn’t want to overinflate the differences!
Right – so 8 nappies a day @ 15p each = £1.20
Per week that’s £8.40
Up to potty training (average at about 2.5 years old) = 130 weeks = £1092 for disposable nappies.
Then – adding on 1 pack of wipes a week (I know for a fact I used more when I used these)
That would be £260 for 130 weeks.
So that’s about £1352 for using disposables from birth to potty. Got to be honest, I’d use more wipes that that so I reckon the cost is nearer to £1500 when you add in all the emergency packs of nappies you’ll prob buy and the extra wipes for mucky hands, etc.
So – cloth nappies (based on buying new)
The cheapest option would be a set of Terries – you can get a set, for example, from Mothercare for £43.
The next option up would be to use prefolds. Bambino Mio are the most widely available and a birth to potty set from them costs £220. I had this (bought preloved at a bargain) but it really didn’t do it for me.
If I work on the basis of about 30 nappies (more than enough , to be honest) – then -
30 BTP pocket nappies (e.g. Baba+Boo nappies, which are brilliantly reliable) would cost you £300.
30 All-in-one Bumgenius BTP (birth to potty) nappies would set you back about £450
A whole kit of Little Lamb nappies (40 nappies – 20 size 1′s and 20 size 2′s) would be £300 (they don’t do 30 nappy sets)
Then – if you went the whole hog and got 30 custom nappies made from a WAHM company such as Weenotions that cost you about £25 per nappy then you’d be spending about £750 for those.
Then – if you used cloth wipes, you could add on about £35 for a full kit, such as Cheeky Wipes, or as little as £15 for getting some basic wipes and putting them in your own tub.
Then – I suppose you should add some costs for other essentials.
Nappy Pails/wetbags – £15 each – so you’d need two at least – £30
Extra powder/sanitiser £30
Your water/electric costs – about £150 from start to finish (I’m overestimating this due to all the mad prices hikes that are going on at the moment)
Ok – so the most expensive route is going to cost you about £1000 from start to finish, the cheapest terries route is going to cost you just under £300 and the middle route (which is the one most people end up doing) would be about £650. You might want to buy some liners, or bits like creams or essential oils, but this should give you a rough idea of what you’d be saving (it’ll be more if you buy in deals/ get some preloved nappies).
These savings will show even more if you use your nappies on more than one child. Mine are all slowly being put into vacubags in readiness for any other children, which will mean my nappy costs will be almost non-existent! Bargain!!!