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Saving money for Christmas with cloth diapers
October 25, 2008 1:26 pm | by

Over the last year, we’ve seen our family’s expenses rising. Milk is nearly $4 a gallon. Cheese is crazy expensive. Even my farmer’s market has raised prices on fruits and vegetables. And we don’t even have to talk about gas prices, right?

So, let’s talk about how much we can spend on diapers. A newborn can go through as many as 12 diapers per day… if you do the math on the cost of disposable diapers at, it works out to around .17 – .25 per diaper or as much as $3 per day or $90 per month. In theory, that $90 per month could buy groceries or put gas in my car!

At least for the moment (we have a little surprise on the way in February), our family is beyond the newborn stage. Our youngest son, Oscar, is three now and potty training. We have him in regular underwear during the day (my theory is that wet pants are a better potty-training method) and he wears bumGenius One-Size Cloth Diapers at night (with two inserts). I just did the math and realized that I am saving so much money! If I buy Pull-Ups at, I’ll be spending $18.99 for 40 diapers. That is .47 each! At the rate we’re changing pants around here, I’d be spending as much as $40 – $60 a month.

$35 is enough to get Andrew (my first grader) a Super Soaker Water Gun for Christmas. By using reusable potty training products for one month, I’ve already been able to buy my son one cool new toy to put under the tree this year!

Oscar found one of these Balancing Monkey in the Cotton Babies warehouse a few weeks ago and was sure that he wanted it, right then please mom. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll reap the reward of mom’s cheapness too when he finds his monkeys under the Christmas tree!

The very idea that the world economy is going to mess up Christmas this year has me tingling to the bottom of my toes with ideas for helping our family save money. I might be a cheap mom, but I’m not a Scrooge! My kids (and yours too) should be able to have a good Christmas this year.

So as we go through the next couple of weeks, watch for more posts from me along these lines. This is a big issue for many families right now and, as parents, we can help other families be better prepared for the holiday season. If you have ideas too, share in the comments!

About the Author

Jenn is the founder of Cotton Babies & creator of bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum, worldwide leading cloth diaper brands. She has four children (Andrew, Oscar, Elsie and Louis) and holds an MBA from Washington University. When she's not working full time, she enjoys teaching business leaders how to implement sustainable economic & social change.



  • Janice said...
    December 19, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    I am very interested in cloth diapering and just wondering if, in the long run with all the laundry you will do of cloth diapers, whether it is as economical as they say to cloth diaper? I am all about saving money, even if you have to put out the money up front, so I’d like some input.

  • My Boaz's Ruth said...
    November 11, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve spent $300 getting enough diapers to go two days between diapering with my 15-month old. I figure I can not count any savings until I have cloth diapered long enough to “earn back” the initial outlay. I’ve got a real bad habit of going gung-ho on something, putting lots of money into it. And then letting it lapse when it gets difficult. (And evidently when the diapers aren’t “new”, cloth diapering cna get difficult. Stripping, stains, etc.)

  • mama2reese said...
    October 27, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I am just so excited to tell people that I have not bought diapers since February! I should have been putting some of that money away!!!!!

    I did an little early Christmas shopping thanks to an awesome coupon code for Gymboree – crazy I know, but I got things on sale, used the 20% OFF code and w/ shpping at $6.50 flat rate – it was cheaper than driving there! I got 10 children done! YEA!!!

    I am going to continue to take advantage of flat rate shipping – even w/ gas going down (will it stay down?) it is often cheaper and easier w/ a BUSY 10 month old 🙂

  • Bekah said...
    October 27, 2008 at 8:59 am

    My friend actully puts 15 cents into a jar every time she uses a cloth diaper on her child rather than a disposable! She says it’s her motivation to keep up with the cloth diapering and it’s a pretty neat visual for her older children to see it all adding up. When their jar is full of nickels and dimes they take it to the bank and send the money to the Compassion child that their family sponsors!

  • Amber said...
    October 26, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Great post! Christmas is coming!!