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How to Cloth Diaper When You Can't Afford Diapers

BUDGET - How to Cloth Diaper When You Can't Afford Diapers

Low income families struggle each day to pay their bills and when you add children to the family, financial struggles can be even more complicated. It’s been quoted that baby’s cost around $10,000-$12,000 for their first year alone. Disposable diapers can cost roughly $1,000-2,000 for the first year. Many families are turning to cloth diapers to help save them money but what happens if they don’t have the money to invest in diapering? Is there such a thing as free diapers for low income families?

Considering that every family has different budget restrictions there really isn't just one low cost diapering option that will fit every family. We've provided some options below with different price ranges.

Register for Cloth Diapers

If you are planning on having a baby shower or would like to let your friends and family know that you are using cloth diapering you can register for diapers on Kelly’s Closet. Even if you only receive a few diapers it will help you save money. To get started visit our Cloth Diaper Registry section at Kelly’s Closet.


Save and Stock Up

One option would be to start saving for cloth diapering once you find out you are expecting. Of course this option takes some time and planning to make it work. The truth is that disposable diapers may cost around $20 a week once your child is born. If you save $20 a week for just 10 weeks (¼ of your pregnancy) you’ll have $200 saved to invest in cloth diapering. The longer you save, the more you can save, the more of a budget you’ll end up having to spend on cloth diapering. By saving money while you’re pregnant you may be able to afford name brand diapers which have longer warranties and tend to last longer (through potty training and even multiple children). Below are some different savings plans that may work for you.


How to Build a Cloth Diaper - 10 Week - $100 How to Build a Cloth Diaper - 10 Week - $200 How to Build a Cloth Diaper - 20 Week - $100 How to Build a Cloth Diaper - 20 Week - $200 How to Build a Cloth Diaper - 20 Week - $400 How to Build a Cloth Diaper - 30 Week - $465

Remember that when you save and stock up you’ll receive free standard shipping on all orders of $49 or more PLUS you’ll earn Diaper Dollars that you can redeem for free diapers. We often have coupons for free diapers with purchase; the minimum value changes on these coupons so you can wait until you find one that is attractive to you. These perks will help you build a bigger stash while saving money. To learn more about how to get free diapers check out the Cloth Diapering Registry

Budget Friendly Diapers ($50-100)

The most economical diapering system would be flats, prefolds and diaper covers. Flats are one of the most budget friendly diapers and work well for families with limited laundry facilities. Flats can even be handwashed and dry very quickly; making them great for camping and traveling also. Prefolds aren’t as easy to handwash but they are a very budget friendly diapering option. Many diaper covers can be reused several times before they need to wiped clean or washed. For more information on flats, read our Flats & Handwashing Guide. Below are a few different packages that will work for this budget:


Budget Friendly Diapers Shop Here

Used or Secondhand Diapers

We sometimes have diapers that are returned under our Wee Guarantee that have been washed and worn for 30 days or less. We sell these diapers at a slight discount a few times each year in our Virtual Sidewalk Sales. You can also find secondhand diapers online at Cloth Diapering TraderDiaper Swappers and through Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook. You may even be able to find secondhand diapers locally on Craigslist, yard sales, thrift shops or consignment shops.


FREE Diapers (or Almost Free Diapers)

When you shop at Kelly’s Closet we often have free diaper coupons with your purchase. Of course that requires you to have some money to spend on an order.


While we do not have samples or free diapers to send out for customers who are financially restricted we do have some other suggestions on how to get free diapers.

  • T-Shirt Diapers:

    You can use any t-shirt, receiving blanket, kitchen towels, and other “found” fabric that is absorbent as a diaper. All you need is a diaper cover, plastic pant or other waterproof cover to keep your baby’s clothes dry. Some parents even have success using fleece pajamas as diaper covers over their t-shirt diaper. You can often find plastic pants at WalMart or thrift shop for just a few dollars. We also sell budget friendly diaper covers if you have a few dollars to spend online.
  • Non-Profit Diaper Lending, Assistance, and Diaper Bank Programs:

    You may want to ask your local cloth diapering groups if there are any diaper lending programs. Many of these programs are small and do not have a lot of money to advertise their services. There are some national diaper lending and assistance programs to help low income families diaper their children. We personally support Giving Diapers, Giving Hope through annual financial donations. Below are some of the organizations we know and trust.
Giving Free Diapers - Giving Hope Share the Love - How to Get Free Diapers Cloth Diaper - Interactive Map


We do know that there are cheaper options available on Ebay/Amazon/Co-Ops but please use caution when ordering from places like this. While some are reputable, there are some dishonest people out there who will not deliver your product, or help you if your diaper fails.