Brand Price Breakdowns: Are Cloth Diapers Really Cheaper Than Disposable Ones?


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Babies can change a parent’s life in all kinds of wonderful ways. But make no mistake, raising a child doesn’t come cheap. As many new families discover, one of the biggest costs they face is diapers.

Newborns go through as many as 10-12 diaper changes per day, and a typical disposable diaper costs anywhere from $0.20 to $0.30. This means on an average day, a parent may spend $2 to $3 just on diapers.

It’s no wonder some parents are looking into cheaper — and potentially more environmentally friendly — alternatives, such as cloth diapers. Here’s more about both types of diapers, the cost of cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers, and what the potential savings could mean for a family’s budget.

What Are Disposable Diapers?

Soft and ultra absorbent, disposable diapers are designed to hold waste products of babies and young children. They were invented in the 1940s and widely adopted in the 1980s, when they became more practical and affordable. Today, some 95% of parents in the U.S. use disposable diapers for their infants.

The three layers of this type of diaper include a soft layer against the baby’s skin, an inner layer made of a super absorbent polymer that holds moisture, and a waterproof outer layer so the diaper doesn’t leak.

How Much Do Disposable Diapers Cost?

As the chart below shows, the cost of disposable diapers can vary widely by brand. Keep in mind that you may pay more or less for your diapers, depending on where you live and shop and whether you decide to buy in bulk.

How Much Do Disposable Diapers Cost?

Pros and Cons of Disposable Diapers

As you figure out which type and brand of diaper works best for you and your family, there are some general pros and cons of disposable diapers to keep in mind.


  • Convenient
  • Less laundry than cloth diapers
  • Highly absorbent
  • Caregivers may be more familiar with using a disposable diaper


  • Can be expensive
  • Contributes to waste in landfill
  • May contain adhesives, dyes, fragrances, or chemicals, which can irritate baby’s skin

Disposable Diaper Factors to Consider

Price is a big factor, yes. But if you’re thinking about starting a family, there are other considerations to think about when it comes to disposable diapers.

Health and Comfort

One of the most important factors in the disposable vs. cloth diaper debate is finding a solution that keeps you and your baby happy and healthy. If you don’t have the time for extra laundry, for instance, disposable diapers may be the way to go.


Disposable diapers are convenient, especially when you’re on the move. Just toss the waste away in the nearest garbage can.


Babies go through a lot of diapers. An infant generally requires up to 12 diaper changes a day for the first year, and a toddler needs around eight. This means parents should expect to purchase around 3,000 diapers per year.

How much of a dent could that put in the household budget? Let’s do the math: Disposable diapers typically cost between $0.20 to $0.30 each, which means new parents should plan on budgeting around $870 per year.


According to the EPA, disposable diapers account for more than 4.1 million tons of waste each year. Those diapers tend to end up in landfills, and the materials don’t easily degrade. If you’re uncomfortable with that thought, you may want to consider cloth versions. However, keep in mind that they require energy and water to clean.

What Are Cloth Diapers?

Cloth diapers are made of cloth that’s absorbent, reusable, and washable. They usually have at least two layers, including a waterproof outer layer to keep the diaper from leaking and an inner absorbent layer. There are several different types:

  • Flats: Flat diapers are a flat piece of thick fabric without an absorbent middle that can be folded in a number of ways around the baby. They are secured with safety pins or snaps.
  • Prefolds: Prefolds are rectangular-shaped pieces of fabric with an absorbent middle. They’re secured with safety pins unless snaps are sewed in.
  • Fitted. Fitted diapers are an absorbent cloth diaper that’s fitted with elastic at the legs and waist but does not have a waterproof cover.
  • Pockets. Pocket diapers have a pocket on the inside of the diaper for an absorbent insert as well as an outer waterproof layer.
  • All-in-ones (AIO). AIO diapers have an outer waterproof layer and inner absorbency, but there is no removable insert. AIOs are the cloth diaper equivalent of a disposable diaper since all of the layers are built in.
  • All-in-twos. Like a combination of AIOs and pocket diapers, all-in-two diapers have an insert, but it sits directly on the baby’s skin instead of in a pocket.
  • Hybrid. A hybrid diaper has a disposable insert with a reusable cover. They create more waste and are more expensive than other types of cloth diapers.

How Much Do Cloth Diapers Cost?

There’s typically a large upfront investment in cloth diapers and accessories, such as a wet bag, pail liner, or cloth wipes. Depending on the type of cloth diapering system you use and how much you’re planning to buy, you could end up spending between $390 and $1,250. Flat cloth diapers, for instance, cost around $2 each. If you’re planning on purchasing a fitted cloth diaper, be prepared to spend more. A typical one costs around $15 each.

When you’re creating a family budget, it can help to see how much you’re spending on diapers — and everything else. A spending app can help you keep an eye on your finances.

Pros and Cons of Cloth Diapers

The diaper type you choose ultimately comes down to preference and budget. However, there are some benefits and drawbacks you may want to consider as you make your decision.


  • Reusable
  • May have a smaller environmental footprint
  • Produces less waste
  • Softer fabric and natural fibers that may be more breathable
  • Attractive designs
  • Can help you decrease diapering costs, especially when going from one child to two


  • Larger upfront cost
  • Inconvenient
  • Requires more laundry
  • Require more electricity and water
  • Many daycare center will not accept cloth diapers

Cloth Diaper Factors to Consider

Beyond the cost of disposable diapers vs. cloth, there are other important factors to consider.

Health and Comfort

Cloth diapers are usually made from breathable fabrics, like cotton and hemp, which can feel soft on baby’s skin. Proponents also tout the benefits of the diaper’s natural materials, which generally don’t have artificial materials, such as plastic, absorbent gelling materials, or adhesives.


While you can certainly manage a cloth diaper change when you’re on the go, it’s usually not as convenient as a disposable diaper. (You’ll need to carry the soiled diaper in a wet bag until you get home and can drop it in the washing machine.) What’s more, if you’re planning to use daycare, check if the center will accept cloth diapers — many don’t.


Cloth diapers can cost anywhere from $2 to $21 each. If you plan on buying 25 diapers for each size your child will need — newborn, small, medium, and large — then you could spend between $700 and $2,100 on 100 diapers.


Cloth diapers have a different environmental impact than disposable diapers. Instead of piling up in a landfill, a cloth diaper is washed and used over and over again. However, they can use up twice as much water to produce as a disposable diaper. Plus, you’ll need to use electricity and water to launder dirty diapers, which could be an issue if you live in a state that experiences droughts or routinely restricts water or energy usage.

Cost of Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diapers

Cloth diapers can require a significant upfront investment of anywhere from $390 to $1,250 — and that’s not including the cost of extras, such as using a diaper laundering service. However, that initial fee may end up being less than the $870 per year many parents spend on disposable diapers.

Reasons to Choose Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diapers

As with many other parts of parenting, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to diapering. However, if cost is a determining factor — and your caregiver or daycare center is on board — cloth diapers may be the way to go. Plus, since this type of diaper is washable and reusable, it means it’s one less item ending up in a landfill.

The Takeaway

Disposable diapers are incredibly popular among parents and for good reason. They’re convenient, highly absorbent, and, compared to cloth diapers, less expensive. On average, parents spend around $870 per year on diapers. And while it’s true that cloth diapers do require a hefty upfront investment of $390 to $1,250, they may have a smaller environmental footprint. Plus, they’re usually made of fabric that’s softer, breathable, and more natural, which some parents may prefer. All of those factors are important when you’re budgeting for a baby.

That said, diapers are just one line item in the family budget. Whether you’re saving up for their college education or looking for ways to lower monthly bills, using a money tracker app can help you manage your overall spending and saving.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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31 Ways to Save Big at the Grocery Store

31 Ways to Save Big at the Grocery Store

It’s not your imagination: Grocery prices are rising, having gone up 2.2% between February 2023 and 2024, after the sticker shock of an 11% increase between 2021 and 2022.

You may think there’s not much you can do about the high cost of groceries (after all, a person has to eat!), but there are many easy ways to slash your weekly spending on groceries. And, saving at the supermarket doesn’t have to mean skimping on quality, taste, or nutrition.

What follows are 31 simple tricks that can help you shop smarter and spend less whenever you visit the supermarket.

RossHelen/ iStock

Before diving into the ideas for saving money on groceries, consider the big-picture principles at work when it comes to frugal living for food. Consider these concepts:

  • Plan your meals
  • Understand pricing
  • Don’t shop when hungry
  • Buy in bulk when possible
  • Choose generic products
  • Shop in season
  • Comparison-shop like a pro; no grabbing the first item you see
  • Stick to your list
  • Buy local or grow your own food.

Elena Perova/Istockphoto

The average household spends about $270 a week on groceries; those with kids spend more, or about $331 per week. Using Census Bureau data, the average monthly costs for groceries therefore tops $1,000.

These costs are strictly for groceries. If you eat out or grab takeout (whether a flat white or fancy salad), your total food costs will of course be higher.

How Can I Determine What My Budget Is?

It’s important to set aside an amount of money for food that fits into your overall financial planning. In terms of how to make a budget, you might try the popular 50/30/20 budget rule. With this plan, you take your after-tax income and allocate 50% to needs, such as housing, utilities, health care, minimum debt repayment, basic transportation, and food. Thirty percent is for the “wants” in life, such as travel, dining out, and cute (but not vital) clothes. The last 20% goes to savings and additional debt payment.

If you use this budget or another method, you will want to make sure that your food costs fall in line with the other necessities of life, perhaps trimming from your spending on “wants,” if needed.


Now, dive in and learn how to trim your grocery bill and live on a budget.

1. Make – and Stick to – a List

Impulse buys can quickly bust your budget. So before going to the supermarket it can be wise to plan out your meals and make a detailed list of all the things you will need, including any household supplies.

At the store, you’ll want to be strict about sticking to the list. Yes, those pineapples look great and they’re on sale, but are they on your list? No? Then you should probably keep walking. Otherwise, you may well wind up blowing your budget.

Shopping with a list not only helps save money but can also cut down on food waste — the items that tend to sit idle in the fridge or on the countertop are often the ones that never had an assigned meal to begin with.


If you enter a supermarket hungry, there’s no telling what you’ll end up putting into your cart because, since just about everything is going to look good. Some popcorn? Why not? Pomegranate juice? It’s healthy, so into the cart it goes. And maybe some cookies as a little treat.

Walk into the grocery store with a full stomach, on the other hand, and you might be shocked by how much lower your grocery bill is.


In America, 80 million tons of food go to waste every year. One reason that food goes to waste is that it can be difficult to buy the exact amount of food you need to make the meals we’ve planned. This can result in leftover ingredients languishing in the fridge or pantry, and then landing in the trash can.

You can help reduce wasted food (and money) by doubling your recipe and then having leftovers for lunch and/or putting some in the freezer so you’ll have a meal at the ready when you need it.


Think you’ll be tempted to go off-script if you enter a grocery store? You might want to try online grocery shopping instead. Many local supermarkets offer online ordering, and allow you to choose either curbside pick-up or delivery.

Or, you may want to try one of the many online grocery services, such as Instacart or Amazon Fresh. You can often choose one-off delivery, as well as recurring delivery of staples (like toilet paper) so you never run out.

It can be easier to avoid the temptations when you can type everything you need into a search bar. Plus, shopping online makes it easy to compare brand prices, see what’s on sale, and watch the total tally up in real time.


Even if you’re not much of a gardener, you might want to try growing one or two of your favorite vegetables in a container or a small garden area outdoors. You can then step outside and pick your tomato or bell pepper rather than buying them at the store.

If you don’t have any outdoor space, you might consider starting an indoor herb garden. If you have parsley, basil, or dill right on your windowsill, you can just pick what you need rather than buy a whole bunch at the market. It’s a fun and tasty way to stick to your budget.


Having a tried-and-true grocery store may be good for your wallet. Walking into a store you’re familiar with means you already know where to get the items on your list.

Head into an unfamiliar store and you may be left wandering the aisles for what seems like an eternity trying to find your goods. That’s because grocery stores are set up to be a little confusing and to drive consumers to have to do a bit of strolling, as that’s when you’re more likely to make random purchases.

Leonid Portnoy/istockphoto

One quick way to potentially drive down the cost of your grocery store run is to BYOB — bring your own bags. Many cities and states have imposed plastic bag bans. If you show up empty-handed, you’ll be stuck purchasing reusable bags at the checkout.

In areas where plastic bags are allowed, many stores will reward customers who bring reusable bags by reimbursing them about 5 to 10 cents a bag at checkout. BYOBing is also kinder to the environment.

Keeping some reusable bags in your car is a good way to avoid forgetting them at home.

Anastasia Gubinskaya/Istockphoto

Many stores now offer discounts for regular shoppers and even secret sale items only for those who’ve signed up.

It’s typically quick, easy, and free to join, though some stores like Whole Foods require customers to be part of its Amazon Prime membership service (which comes with a yearly fee). Still, it may be worth it as discounts at the register can add up to real savings.

Liubomyr Vorona/Istockphoto

Here’s another way to buy groceries on a budget: Buy and eat less meat. Reducing meat consumption and eating more plant-based meals has benefits for the environment, your waistline, and your wallet.

Chickpeas, pinto beans, peas, Brussels sprouts, quinoa, tofu, along with many other beans, whole grains, and vegetables are all excellent (and inexpensive) sources of protein without the added saturated fat that comes with animal products.

You may want to consider going meatless at least one day a week, and then building up to a few meat-free meals per week.


Buying the largest size of packaged, canned, and frozen foods can sometimes help you save money on food. That’s because some of the cost of every grocery item is in the packaging.

If your grocery store has a “bulk foods” section you might save even more by buying the amount of food you need in plastic bags.


Another way to save money at the grocery store is to buy fruits and vegetables in the frozen or canned foods aisle. The savings can add up, especially when the food is out of season.

If you’re looking to add pineapple to a recipe in the winter, for example, you can save money by opting for canned pineapple over a fresh one that’s not in season. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables also don’t go bad as quickly as fresh, so they may be less likely to get wasted.


A Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program can help you save money on fresh 

produce, eggs, and herbs. You can look for one using the USDA’s CSA directory and see if they’ll deliver to your front door.

Not only will you be saving money but you’ll be supporting local farmers and eating food that’s close by helps ensure it’s fresher.


While it’s not rocket science, this tried-and-true technique is still one of the best ways to cut your grocery bill. You may want to consider scanning the local circulars that come in the mail to see which stores are having deals on the food items you need that week. You can also look for manufacturers’ coupons (online and in circulars inserted into Sunday newspapers).

When it comes to how to coupon successfully, however, it’s wise to make sure that you’re only buying items you need and usually buy — otherwise you could end up adding to, not shrinking, your grocery bill.


Another way to spend wisely is to cook and shop seasonally. It’s typically cheaper to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season than ones that have been shipped to the store from a far-away place where it can be grown year-round.

Also, since in-season produce is in large supply, it tends to be sold at affordable prices to maintain demand. In-season produce also tends to be tastier.


There are a number of rebate apps you can download onto your phone for free that allow you to get cashback on items you purchased. Options include Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Fetch.

While rebates don’t give you a discount upfront (like a traditional coupon), you should see savings in the long run.

If you frequently shop at large chains like Walmart or Target for groceries, getting their apps may help you earn rewards and get discounts for being a loyal shopper. You just need to scan your mobile app when you check out.


When your grocery store is having a sale on canned goods, dried goods, or other pantry items, you may want to consider buying multiples. Items like beans, sauces, soups, nuts, peanut butter, pretzels, shelf-stable snacks like unpopped popcorn won’t expire for a long time.

You’ll be able to enjoy the cost savings and will likely appreciate having them on hand when preparing meals.


You don’t have to sacrifice flavor and taste in order to save money while grocery shopping. While It’s easy to overlook no-name or store brands, in many cases these items are actually made by the brand name companies, just with a different label.

And the savings can be real. Using generic (rather than brand name) products can save as much as 40% off your grocery bill. You can put that extra cash right into your bank account.


The inside aisles of the grocery store are where pricier processed foods are typically stocked, The outer edges, on the other hand, is where you tend to find fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and beans.

Shopping on the edge — and filling your cart with nutrient-dense items and fresh, seasonal food — can help your wallet, as well as your waistline.


It can be tempting to buy convenience items where food is pre-portioned into single servings so you can just grab-and-go. Smaller items can also help you keep from overeating. But all of that packaging tends to increase the cost of the item.

If your kids love crackers, you may want to buy a full-size box and portion them out in zip-top bags or reusable containers. You can do the same with other favorite snacks so you won’t be tempted to eat the whole bag in one sitting. You can also spoon yogurt into small containers for school lunches and cut cheese into slices from a block for easy snacks.

Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

To avoid spending money on bottled water, you may want to get a filtered pitcher and switch to drinking tap water. Depending on how much you typically sip, you can save a bundle. By drinking from a reusable water bottle or a glass throughout the day, you’ll also reduce the amount of plastic waste you’re putting into the environment.

Getting your kids used to drinking water instead of juice or soda can also reduce your supermarket bills.

Andrii Borodai/istockphoto

Here’s a little swap that can help you save: If you’re not shopping for a full week’s worth of groceries, consider grabbing a small cart or, even better, a hand-held basket. This will automatically limit how much you can buy because only so much will fit.

When you have a smaller cart — or a basket that will get heavy quickly — you’re forcing yourself to ask, “Do I really need this?” every time you pick up something to buy in the store.


One way you can save money on your grocery bill is to only shop when you need to and to minimize the frequency that you set foot in the supermarket door.

The reason is that the less often you’re physically in the store, the less likely you’ll be tempted to buy something you don’t absolutely need. It can be all too common to go to the grocery store for “one thing” and come out with a few items.


Most of us don’t want to spend our weekends grocery shopping, right? Unfortunately, Saturdays and Sundays are the days when many of us have the time to go to the supermarket — along with everyone else in our town.

Shopping during peak times can hurt your budget in a few ways. You might try to speed through the supermarket crush and be more likely to buy an item at the end of the aisle because it’s convenient, rather than grab a similar product on the shelf a few feet away. This could mean they are buying a more expensive version of what they need.

You might also run into trouble shopping during peak times because you’re more likely to get stuck in a long line — and become tempted by miscellaneous items stocked near and along the checkout line.


Shopping with a calculator or getting out your phone and adding things up as you put them in your cart can help you stick to your spending plan. (If you’re shopping with kids, you can give them the job to tally what’s in the cart.)

By keeping a running tally of how much money is in your cart, you can save yourself from any unpleasant surprises during check-out. Plus, it can make you think twice before putting any extras in your cart.


It’s easy to accidentally buy an extra item at the supermarket that you didn’t realize you already had stored at home. That’s why after you write your grocery list, it can be a good idea to double-check pantry shelves, spice racks, the fridge, and the freezer to make sure you truly need what’s on your list.

You may even want to shop your pantry and fridge before making your meal plan and shopping list to see if you can think of meals that incorporate foods you already have on hand.


Another idea for grocery shopping on a budget: A simple trick for lowering your grocery bill is to set your budget and then only bring that much money in cash, leaving the plastic at home.

This will help ensure that you stick to your list and avoid grabbing any tempting extras. You can only spend what you have in your wallet. Full stop. (A variation on the theme: Use your debit card, not your credit card, to keep your spending in line.)


Eggs are one of the most affordable protein sources out there. By making simple breakfast-style food for dinner, you’re offering your family a fun meal and using up some of your (affordable) breakfast foods.

You might consider making an omelet or frittata with eggs, cheese, and leftover vegetables or creating a bacon, egg, and cheese burrito. Not only are many breakfast recipes a delicious dinner option, but they’re affordable and often quick to prepare.


Grocery stores are designed to get you to spend more money, which is why the most expensive products tend to be stocked at eye level. Brands often pay more money for their products to be displayed prominently so you’re more likely to buy them.

Searching high and low when you’re shopping may help you stop spending money (or at least more than you budgeted for). Once you start looking, you may even notice a price differential between the eye-level item cost and the one at your feet.

Drazen Zigic/Istockphoto

Many impulse buys happen in the bakery and snack sections of the supermarket. Before you succumb, you may want to ask yourself if you could bake it at home. You may already have the baking basics on your pantry shelves and could whip up some muffin or cookies fairly quickly. Or, you might want to buy a mix to save time (you’ll still save money).

Before buying chips and snacks, you may also want to consider if there is a more affordable DIY option, like buying popcorn kernels to cook on the stove.

Asking yourself, “Can I make this?” will likely result in saving money and getting the freshest item possible. This way, you can reward yourself without breaking your budget.


When it comes to snagging good deals, shopping on a Wednesday may be beneficial. That’s because grocery stores tend to restock their shelves and make new markdowns in the middle of the week. Since they’re in the process of changing the discounts, they may still honor the price cuts from last week’s sale as well as the new ones, which could help boost your savings.

Iam Anupong/istockphoto

Those packaged baby carrots and bagged pre-washed salads make it easier to eat healthier, but if you’re willing to do the cleaning, prepping, and chopping of fresh produce, and even meats and poultry, you can save money.

A boneless, skinless chicken breast package will cost more than buying a whole chicken. You’re paying for the convenience. By setting aside time to prep and chop your foods after you get home from grocery shopping, you’ll likely reap savings.


A little planning and knowing some money-saving tricks can help you lower your monthly grocery bill and stick to your budget.

By following these budget shopping tips, you may find that you have more money left over each month to pay down debt, invest for the future, or save for something fun. And those funds can grow if you put them in an interest-bearing bank account.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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