Friday, August 20, 2010

Rant about the common "cloth is cheaper" argument

I'm really tired of reading pro cloth diaper columns that talk about cloth being so much cheaper than disposables. I think it's true, but the numbers they use are ridiculous. Like comparing cloth with the most expensive option possible for disposables. I just read one that said,
"It’s natural to check the prices of an individual cloth diaper and suffer mild sticker shock. When you’re shopping for diapers for the first time, you’ll see one cloth priced around fifteen to twenty dollars as opposed to 20-30 disposables for the same price and think you’re getting the better deal if you buy the latter."

We get the most expensive version of pampers and that's about $40 for 200. (Slightly less as you get bigger sizes and there are fewer diapers in the pack, but we just used a coupon and got a pack for $27 with free delivery.) Anyway, that means that $20 buys about 100 diapers. And if we got kirkland brand or other store brand, it'd be even more diapers for the same as a single premium cloth diaper.

Now, this still may end up meaning that cloth is cheaper. Unless the cloth diapers are only used on 1 kid and the kid is potty trained by a year old, cloth is probably going to be cheaper. It certainly can be cheaper.

I would really like to see the argument formed as:
If you buy the economy sized box of store brand disposable diapers and watch for deals and coupons, disposables will cost about $400 per year. A modest stash of expensive premium cloth diapers is half that-- and will last longer than 1 year.

In other words, if people want to convince me that cloth is cheaper, compare the best deal you can reasonably find for disposables to a relatively luxurious stash of cloth and show me it's still cheaper. /rant

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