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How to Make Using Cloth Diapers Cheap

We’ve been talking about Cloth Diapering on a Budget – even broke down 3 different systems and compared prices. 

Today, we’re talking cheap – dirt cheap. Ok, maybe not dirt cheap. But we’re talking about how you can absolutely, positively spend the least amount of money possible and still successfully cloth diaper your child.


Thing about it for a second. In today’s modern world, we’ve tricked out cloth diapers. They have stay dry fabrics, snaps, and waterproof layers. 

Back in your Grandma’s Cloth Diapering days, they didn’t have that. They didn’t have disposables either. Well, maybe your Great Grandma days for some of you. So, if you want to go cheap, you simply have to go classic.

I’ve had plenty of emails from readers telling me they were using microfiber towels from the automotive departments – stuffing them in pockets or laying a safe fabric on top of them in a cover.

In the Flats challenge, you’ll see bloggers and readers using towels, tshirts, and baby blankets for diapers. You can cloth diaper cheaply – very cheaply – it just depends on how cheap you really want to go.

If you’re that cheap, you probably already have your system all figured out, but for the rest of us who just want to save a bit of extra money, we won’t go quite as drastic. 

We’ll tackle each of the 4 subjects above {on the button} in a section below.

DIY – Make and Repair Cloth Diapers

I’m a beginner seamstress, but I’m nowhere near good enough to make my own diapers. If you are, though, this could be a great way to save a large amount of money with cloth diapering.

Even though I’m not a pro, I have purchased a couple of diapers on Facebook Swap pages that needed a little TLC – like this Ragababe AI2 shell. The original owner didn’t want to fool with fixing it, but I knew I could very easily.

Repair Cloth Diapers to Save Money

Some threads were coming loose on a landing strip, so I bought this shell – CHEAP – like, less than half the price of what a used Ragababe shell usually goes for. 

It took me a total of 5 minutes to fix AND the best part is the repair is covered by the inside flap!

Share a Cloth Diaper Purchase with a Friend

There are a few ways of doing this, which may or may not work for you.

Option 1 – Purchase a stash with a friend. Seeing as to how most diapers will last through more than 1 child, you could essentially split the price of a stash with a friend and pass them between each other when your children are in diapers.


Option 2 – Go in together to purchase a larger amount of diapers, which often means savings per diaper – especially when manufacturers offer great money savings and promotions.

Which leads us to…

Stalk Sales, Promotions, and your Favorite Cloth Diaper Stores

Some of my favorite ways to save are sales! Not only are they fun to find, but you can save tons of money if you plan ahead. 

Black Friday is always a great day to buy, as well as other major Holidays because cloth manufacturers and store owners often offer great sales during those times!

I also suggest finding one store and staying loyal. Quite a few of my favorites {that I’ve featured here on SEBG at some time or another} have Customer Rewards and Loyalty programs. 

For example, when you buy a diaper, you earn rewards back for future gift cards. I like to stock up on these and use them during the big sales!

Buy Used Cloth Diapers

Obviously this option is not for everyone. My hubby doesn’t exactly like it either, but it’s a wonderful way to buy cloth diapers on a budget, if you’re open to it… and you do your homework. 

My Cloth Diaper Stash has a great series of posts about what you should know when you’re buying used cloth diapers. You’ll want to be sure you wash them really well, also – so check out Washing Used Cloth Diapers too.

Buy Used Cloth Diapers

You can usually purchase used cloth at a deep discount – at least 1/2 off retail price – but it always depends on the diapering system, brand, and condition.

Let’s hear it… What’s the CHEAPEST thing you’ve done to save money while Cloth Diapering?


Saturday 15th of February 2014

I know I found this post way late, but in case there is a Mama whose budget is extremely tight I want to add this idea. Old t-shirts can be folded into an awesome stretchy diaper-no sewing required, fasten with pins or a snappi. There are several tutorials on the web. Fleece makes great no sew covers as well. I experimented with an old fleece blanket to get the right size & shape. I made the back "wings" long enough to tie in the front holding the cover in place. The elastic in my daughter's cute & pricey covers was rubbing her raw so I tried the fleece. An old t-shirt of my husbands along with the tie on cover has become my favorite system to use at home. Seriously wish I had discovered these ideas before baby number six, but better late than never. Thrift store blankets and t-shirts can get you cloth diapering for well under $50.


Thursday 22nd of August 2013

I always go for the used version. Why not? Your kid is going to poop in them probably the first time  they wear them, do they have to be brand new? I bought 25 Bum Genius diapers for $100, that would normally cost close to $700! I simply stripped them since I didn't know what kind of detergent was used on them, washed them twice and then off we went. I bought velcro which means they were more worn down but it's super easy to replace velcro so on any of them that had too much fraying, I just replaced the velcro. I think some of the pricier diaper options (like Bum Genius) are worth the price because they just work better but this way I get the best quality without spending the money! 


Friday 23rd of August 2013

Seriously, wonderful - WONDERFUL advice!  I agree - sometimes you definitely get what you pay for in brands and I just love your tips about replacing the velcro!  I haven't done this yet, but it does seem that it would be pretty easy to do.  Thanks, Michelle!

Ashley Mabe

Wednesday 24th of July 2013

I made almost every single one of the diapers my two children wear.  I started making them out of old t-shirts we had around the home.  I also looked at our local goodwill.  I was able to make several diapers and upcycled fleece covers as well as the inserts!) out of just the older things we had around the house.  Diaper making does become a bit of an obsession though so I did graduate to buying flannel to make them up and it was still very affordable.  You can also buy the big pack of washcloths to make doublers out of.  We use old hand towels to stuff some of ours as well as the cheap microfiber auto towels.  I love the RRP pattern and it is FREE:  


Friday 26th of July 2013

Thanks for sharing that info, Ashley!  People don't realize that you really can use almost anything as an insert, right!?

Brooke B.

Sunday 14th of July 2013

I initially spent $50 to cloth diaper my twins.  I caught a sale and got just enough new prefolds and covers to use cloth during the day and do wash every night while the kids were both in a disposable.  I did this for about a year and was able to save enough money to eventually buy some new and used pockets that were still in great condition to add to the rotation.


Friday 26th of July 2013

Brooke - thank you for sharing!  You really sacrificed that year, as far as time and laundry, but I know the pay off was great, right!?  :)

Heart and Haven

Friday 12th of July 2013

I use BumGenious 4.0 diapers and LOVE them!  I like the convenience of the AIO to be most like a disposable (and are also daddy/grandparent friendly).

To keep costs down, I only purchased 12 total and just wash them every 1 1/2 days.  (Let's face it, I wouldn't want smelly diapers hanging around much longer anyway!)  As back-ups (in case I get slightly behind on laundry, etc.), I have a set of pre-fold diapers, snappi, and basic cover I can use.

However, with my diapers in high rotation in use for 15 months now, I am needing to replace the velcro & laundry tabs (researching so I can do this this weekend actually)


Thursday 22nd of August 2013

It's really easy to replace the velcro, all you need to do is carefully cut off the tabs and replace them. You shouldn't need to replace the "loop" part even if it's frayed because as long as the "hook" tabs are in good condition they will stick to the loop part. For the laundry tabs, you can just sew the new tab right on top.   


Friday 12th of July 2013

That's a GREAT point, as the smaller your stash, the more you'll be using them and washing - which is going to make them wear out faster.  Honestly, though - it's going to probably equal out in the end, you know?  Spend more in the beginning, they last longer?  Spend less in the beginning, have to be replaced a bit sooner.  Great, GREAT point!

And yes, 12 diapers is totally doable and I love that you have prefolds available as backups!

I have actually never replaced any velcro or laundry tabs myself, but I would think it isn't too hard.  I hope you can find a good tutorial and feel free to share with me if you do!!!