Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Building your Stash!

Building Your

 On Limited Funds

Our guest blogger, Mallory Crain, from A Beautiful Surrender, has helped to answer one of the biggest hurdles in cloth diapering, starting up without having funds for the initial investment. Read on to find some great suggestions and tips on how you can build or bulk up your stash!

You have heard all the great things about cloth diapers. In fact, you are excited to start trying them right away with your baby. Then, reality hits. Despite knowing all of the savings you will experience using cloth diapers versus disposables, you just don’t have the money to invest in a full stash of diapers. You could just walk away, disappointed, and use disposables, but you don’t have to! There are options. Trust me, I am writing this as someone who has been there.
Let me give you a quick background. I had my first child in 2010. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we knew we wanted to cloth diaper, so we went ahead and invested in them. We had found a few tricks for affording them that time. Then, just a few months ago, we welcomed our second child. We needed a new stash of diapers (there was an unfortunate incident with bleach…don’t ask), but this time around we did not have a penny to our name. We were without a job and without an income. Disposable diapers were an expense we really couldn’t afford either, but it felt so much more doable to find small amounts of money versus a larger investment. However, we knew we had to figure something out…we loved cloth diapering the first time around and we were ready to do it again. This time, we had to get creative.
Sell Something 
Walk around your house...I bet you can find some things that are just sitting around and no longer in use. List it on Craigslist, have a garage sale, just make some money off of it! It won’t take you long to have enough cash to invest in some diapers.

Be Resourceful 
This may mean you need to do a little DIY (do it yourself). We love using cloth wipes since it is another way to save money and it’s so easy to just throw into the wet bag with the diaper. Instead of spending money on fancy wipes, make them yourself! You can choose to buy flannel and sew them…or make it even cheaper and simpler. Go grab an old t-shirt or a receiving blanket you aren’t using and cut it up into squares. Works great! Can’t quite afford to buy an entire stash of inserts for your shells? Use flour sack towels like they did in the flats challenge recently. You can find 5 towels for under $5! That is less than $1 for an insert. Amazing!
Embrace Secondhand 
While it is always nice to have brand new diapers, sometimes buying used is your only option. Check out Craigslist, local secondhand shops, keep an eye out for “seconds” sales, check garage sales, websites that sell used, and also look up buy/sell/trade pages on Facebook. Just be aware of who you are buying from and confirm that the condition is still good. If buying used is still too difficult, check with friends to see if you can borrow (if they aren’t using them of course).
Find Extra Money 
Have a “diaper fund” jar and drop all loose change in there. If you live in a state that gives you money for cans/bottles/water bottles use that money towards diapers. Start asking around to see if there are any side jobs available. I watch a dog for a family when they go out of town and have been able to use that money to build our stash. Get creative; there are lots of ways to make a bit of extra cash.

If someone asks what you want for a gift, ask for diapers! Friends and family will oftentimes ask what you want most for the new baby, so let them know that you really want to cloth diaper. Many people are excited to give you something that you truly need…and if you show them how cute cloth diapers are, they won’t be able to resist your request!
Now What? 
So what if, after everything, you still don’t have enough for an entire stash of cloth diapers? No problem! Just build it slowly. This may mean using some disposables and some cloth for a while, but guess what? You are still saving by doing that! Put a tiny amount aside each month, if you can, and buy a cover or an insert. Eventually you may be able to completely stop buying the disposables. Let’s look at the numbers, shall we? For this example, let’s pretend you use 10 disposable diapers a day. Both Huggies and Pampers average out to $0.34 per diaper. So, you spend $3.40 on disposables per day. Let’s look at cloth. You can buy one Rock-A-Bums diaper for $16.95. This includes a cover and 2 washable inserts. You can wash them and reuse them the entire time your child is in diapers. In 5 days of buying disposables, you will have spent the amount it would have cost you to buy one cloth diaper. So, every time you buy a cloth diaper, you will be using less disposables. You can then calculate those savings and put the extra money you had been spending on disposables each month towards more cloth diapers. 
There really are ways to cloth diaper on a disposable diaper budget! It may take some creative thinking, but don’t give up! You are well on your way to a full cloth diaper stash! 

 - Mallory

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