Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Works for me Wednesday...Frugal Addition

This week, in honor of our majorly screwed up economy, Works for Me Wednesday is all about being Frugal.

Last Summer, I had two kids in diapers and was looking for a way to reduce our monthly expenses. Our next to youngest was almost 3 and she had been in pull-ups for over a year. All of my kids previous to her had been potty trained much closer to their 2nd birthday. Even though she was child #5, I really didn't feel very confident about getting her potty trained and I found myself using the fact that #5 and #6 are only 21 months apart as an excuse. When I really took a hard look, I realized that she had been dry at night and pooping in the toilet consistently for over a year, she was definitely ready. I simply wasn't being consistent about reminding her to go potty during the day. The pull-ups had turned into a crutch, they kept her cloths from getting wet and she could change them herself anytime she felt the need. My first step was to explain to her that we wouldn't be buying anymore pull-ups. When the current box was done she would have to wear BIG girl panties and if she wet them, all her clothes would be wet too. She was not happy about this idea. To soften the blow, I agreed to buy her a new package of Dora panties with a glitter design, she was hooked. We had a few puddles the first few days, but in less than a week she was totally trained and VERY proud of herself. This step alone saved me $40 a month.

Soon after my next to youngest was potty trained, I made the decision to purchase 6 cloth diapers and a couple covers from a local diaper shop for my youngest. My original intention was to cut back on our use of disposables to save even more money. I only used the cloth at home during the day & only after she had performed her daily poop. Wet cloth diapers were no big deal, I washed them with the towels and didn't even have an extra load of laundry. Within a week I noticed what a drastic difference it was making....we only used 12 disposables in 7 days when we would normally go through about 5 per day. I bought a couple more cloth diapers to make things easier, then it happened.....she pooped in the cloth diaper. I was totally freaked out and actually considered throwing that diaper away. Once I got a grip and realized that her poops were pretty solid and would easily roll right off the diaper into the toilet as long as she was changed as soon as she pooped, I decided that we would switch over to using cloth ALL day. I started using a dry pail to store dirty diapers in the laundryroom and washing them separate from everything else every few days.

The next week, we only used 8 disposables...1 each night & 1 for the church nursery on Sunday. Soon after that I found out about pocket diapers and that our church nursery had no problem with changing cloth diapers as long as there were no pins. About 6 weeks after starting to use cloth diapers part time, I switched over to using them full time. I found that two prefolds in a snug cover was plenty of overnight protection. After buying a wet bag to put used diapers into when we were out, I no longer worried about going places with cloth diapers.

I've accumulated quite a few diapers and covers now, probably about double what I actually NEED to efficiently diaper my daughter with only washing diapers every 3 or 4 days. In total, I've spent close to $300 on cloth diapers in the last 10 months. If I had stayed with the disposables, I would have spent about $500 in the same time period and have nothing to show for it. I think the one thing that I LOVE the most about using cloth diapers is that I don't HAVE to buy her anymore diapers ever if I don't want to. Now when I spend money on diapers it is because I want to try something new, not because we are out.

For our family, putting in a little work to finish potty training the obviously ready child and switching the baby to cloth diapers has definitely helped us be more frugal. To see more Frugal tips visit Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.


Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

My youngest (2) is in pull-ups right now, but he's been doing so well we'll probably put him in underwear soon enough. He stays dry at night and *mostly* throughout the day (its pee he's "iffy" on at times - he poops on the potty like a champ!) We have some of those plastic diaper cover type things (from Gerber) that work over underwear for that stage when they might not catch themselves going at first (wet enough to go "OH! I'm wet!" but not enough to leak through onto their other clothes). I think we got them at Wal-Mart when our oldest was potty training - they're cheap and can go in the wash just like the underwear or diapers.

Good luck!!!

sunnymama said...

We saved lots of money using cloth nappies (diapers) too and I was lucky enough to get most of them free from a scheme run by our local council. I also saved on nappy use by lots of naked bottom time at home and using elimination communication (once I found out it could be done part-time and didn't have to mean never using nappies).

Great frugal post!

Carisa said...

I'm looking forward to trying cloth with a future baby. Diapers were a budget buster for us, too!
Mrs. Petrie @ Casa Petrie

Alicia said...

That definitely is a money saver!! I remember dreading buying that big ole' box of diapers at Costco every other week! So expensive! I wish I used cloth back in the day!!

~*Michelle*~ said...

We loved using cloth! It is one of the things we promote with our online advocacy business!

Great job on spreading the word about cloth diapering. :)

Amanda @ Mommy's Idea Book said...

If I could go back, I think I would try using cloth since I have heard so much about them.

My daughter, however, is almost potty trained so it's doesn't really seem worth it at this point.

I'm glad it has worked out well for and that's great how much money you have saved.

mamamia said...

thanks for this tip. My daughter is 3 and definately ready, but since I have never potty trained before, i have had two previous failed attempts. Once she gets well again, I will have to try the cloth diaper thing, or just throw her in panties.

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Jane said...

I hope to use cloth when we have children. Thanks for sharing your approach. You make it seem really quite doable!