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How to save money on diapers: 6 tips for using fewer cloth and disposable diapers

how to save money on diapers

Any way you slice it, the expenses involved with raising a baby can add up - even more so when you have 5 kids like we do! But there is one area where you can cut costs significantly. Today's episode is all about how to save money on diapers.

Obviously, doing full-time Elimination Communication will save you a lot on diapers - most parents use only ⅓ of the total diapers they would have used if they didn’t do EC - and some parents never use diapers at all. But, even if you don't do EC full time, there are ways to save on diaper expenses that add up over the long run - creative solutions that we can all practice today. So, let's start saving you some money on diapers already!

Today I’ll share:

  • How working with your child's rhythms will lead you to less diaper waste
  • Whether EC is all or nothing
  • How thoughtful shopping can save you a lot on diapers
  • What your cloth diaper supply should look like
  • How when you start EC can impact your wallet
  • Other tips for creatively saving on diapers
  • A story from one of our coach trainees, who is the most bootstrapping mama I think I’ve ever met when it comes to living with less and making it work...out of pure necessity.

Links and other resources mentioned today:

Download the Transcript

If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?) and read the transcript here:

Transcript download: How to save money on diapers

Watch the Video Version

If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version right here:

Thanks for Listening!

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Have I missed any brilliant ideas for saving money on diapers? How much have you saved, or are expecting to save, by doing Elimination Communication or early potty training? Please leave a comment below!

I look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

xx Andrea

Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)


  1. Avatar Amanda B on November 5, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Hi! This is great. Just one tiny correction- Workhorse is actually the trademarked name for Cloth-eez fitted diapers by Green Mountain Diapers. Awesome diapers, awesome company! Thirsties are still great, but I don’t think that they have a unique name like Cloth-eez Workhorse does- just called fitted diapers… take care!! :)

  2. Avatar Renée on November 5, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Great suggestions! I use flats (36 regular size and 12 large). I’ve been using them since birth and the large diapers I used as swaddling blankets and burp cloths until baby was older. Now I use them for the night time and nap diaper and I never have leaks. I bought two newborn covers three size one covers 1 size 2 cover and two one size covers. The 36 diapers were $1 each; the 12 large were bamboo and cost a bit more (maybe $2-2.50 each) and the covers were $15-$19 each. This is all Canadian dollars so cheaper for Americans. I used the origami fold with my baby and just tucked the ends under and the diapers stayed in place. During the day my now 15 month old is very active so I use a diaper belt and the pad fold. You don’t have to spend over $200 on cloth diapers. We also use disposables when traveling or at night when he’s too excited to lay still for me to put on his big diaper. Flats are very easy to use, quick to fold and easy to wash in a front load washer!

  3. Avatar Rose on November 5, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    My supply list:
    12 Osocosy premie prefold
    12 Osocosy regular prefold
    18 LBB all-in-one pocket diaper (shell+insert) (6 sets for $30 on Amazon, so I bought 3lots of 6)
    4 plastic training pants cover (from Bed Baths, about $2 each. Great for covering training pants in winter so the rest of baby’s thicker cloths don’t need to be changed every time)
    14 training pants, (I bought 6 from Tiny Undies, and 8 were given from family overseas. I prefer the Tiny Undies one by far, because no other training pants fit better. I actually think 6 total would be enough)

    These are enough to let me get by doing laundry every 2-3 days. I prerinse by hand before tossing into washer with the rest of laundry.

    For my 7 months old I alternate between cloth diaper and training pants. I use training pants mostly in the afternoon when she signals stronger and lasts longer between pees. The prefold are very absorbant, even the premie size will absorb a heavy pee and still keep the shell dry so I dont have to change it often. I only use the regular size for night time, so I only need 3-4 instead of a dozen really. But they always sell it by the dozen so I use a couple as changing pad liner, and others as bath towels. They absorb all the moisture in the little baby folds, much better than any bath towels!

    I love the LBB all in one (sorry Andrea, I love your passion for EC, your book and your products, but this one is way cheaper so I can’t not love this!) because it’s so versatile. I usually use it as a shell, lining it with premie prefolds. When I run out of prefolds I use the polyester insert from the LBB set, folding it in thirds and putting it where baby pees inside the shell. Again this keeps the shell dry usually. Occasionally if I run out of inserts I use the diaper shell without any inserts, if I’m very close by, since it won’t be very absorbent without insert, but it’s great feedback for baby because she feels wet. So altogether that’s 2×12 prefolds+18 inserts+18 shells+14 training pants=74 items to catch misses! No time for disposable diaper :D

    I love how you can use the all-in-one with the insert slipped inside too, so you can change it like a disposable diaper. I don’t usually do that because it means changing the shell every time, but it’s convenient for outings and when I leave baby home with dad. Daddy is a master engineer, but somehow he finds folding the prefolds more challenging than understanding the most complicated computer, so we came to the solution of using the all-in-one as an all-in-one, if it makes sense.

    I hope this helps at least one person—I wish someone showed me this when I was wondering what to buy when I started EC!!

    • Avatar Sivan on November 7, 2019 at 7:42 am

      Hi Andrea,i practice ec with my 4m old liitle girl.i actually feel like i dont save money on diapers because a lot of the times when i take a fiaper off to go potty its already wet,and even if its from one pee,i dont feel right putflting it back on her,so i take a new one. What are your thoughts abiut that?

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