Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers And Your Baby Budget

Baby in Diapers

By: Katrina

Deciding whether cloth diapers or disposable diapers are right for your baby budget takes some research. The more you plan the better you will be able to make informed decisions before your baby arrives. Easier said than done, I know I was once in that position and with so much information in books and online it’s hard to figure things out.

Sometimes testing out products is the way to go and the only way you will know what’s right for you and your baby. That’s probably why I like to get free product samples because it gives me a chance to use products before I purchase them. Just don’t give up as easy as  I did when it comes to deciding on which diapers to choose.

When the pregnancy test confirms you are pregnant all sorts of new emotions and thoughts scatter in you mind because you now have to think about a baby. A couple of weeks after my son was born my mom convinced me to give cloth diapers a try. We went to a local baby store to research the cost of cloth diapers and more about how they might work for my baby. I learned one thing quick…they are not cheap!!

My mom had offered to make the initial investment for me, but being as I was kind of on the fence about whether or not I wanted to use them, I wasn’t comfortable making that decision on the spot. After some consideration we decided to purchase 3 sets, diaper, diaper cover and inserts. I can’t remember the exact figure, it was a few years ago, but I recall spending around $50.00 for everything.

Using Cloth Diapers

I took the cloth diapers home and I quickly made my decision faster than anticipated. After using the diapers for one full day, I knew they weren’t for me. After having to change my son’s clothes 4 times in a few hours I was done!

I know there are different kinds of cloth diapers out there and I’m sure some work better than others but I still wasn’t convinced. Considering the fact that I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do it in the first place I was discouraged from looking into any other cloth diaper options. Looking back now I do have some regrets.

We are a diaper-free household now and I am so happy for that. Not only because of the cost of diapers but also a major decrease in garbage. Both of my kids were in diapers past the age of two. Based on 2 kids being in diapers for around a total of 5 years, that’s 260 weeks and some of that time they were both in diapers. I figure I spent around $3600 on disposable diapers. Wow!! All that money just to throw away a diaper.

Purchasing my own cloth diapers would have been a rather large investment initially but I believe they would have been much cheaper for me in the long run. The most common recommendation for how many cloth diapers to buy is 24 and that’s based on a 2-day wash cycle. As your baby grows you will require less diapers, but 7-10 diaper changes a day is normal for a new born.

The cost per cloth diaper varies depending on the brand and style you choose, but a full diaper complete with a cover and inserts can cost anywhere from $5-$20 per diaper. That number can be hard to grasp when you think about how disposable diapers can be purchased for less than 25 cents each, even less if you use coupons or buy store brands.

Baby Budget

Preparing for maternity leave and how your budget will be affected with your new baby needs to be planned well  in advance. I did my best to save money wherever I could. Occasionally coupons for store brand diapers can be found but almost always you can find coupons for Huggies and Pampers.

You can even order coupons by calling SC Johnson Baby each month or by ordering coupons online. I always took advantage of stockpiling baby items when I had coupons to save money in my baby budget especially for when I went on maternity leave.  I did use some Pampers coupons in the beginning when my son was newborn then realized that the store brand diapers were cheaper still without a coupon. They worked just fine for us.

Disposable Vs Cloth Cost Comparison

For this comparison I am going to use the higher end, $20.00 cost per cloth diaper and an average of 8 diaper changes per day.

Disposable Diapers      

  • Monthly Cost
  • 8 per day @ 0.25 each = $2.00   $60.00/month>>Over 2.5 years=$1800
  • For myself that is times 2 as I have 2 children=$3600

Cloth Diapers

  • $20 per 24 diapers=$480.00 Initial investment

Note* depending on the brand you choose, you may have to purchase bigger cloth diapers as your child grows. $480 x 2 purchases=$960.

I could have reused the cloth diapers for my second child and saved an additional $2640.00 on the initial cost of diapers alone. You now understand why I am regretting my choice to use disposable diapers as I may have potentially saved money in my budget but also eliminated diapers going to the landfill.

You should keep in mind time, laundry detergents and water/hydro costs which will vary depending on where you live. Although you won’t be buying as many garbage bags to dispose of the diapers, so in turn reducing that cost. Cloth diapers do also require a wet bag for storing when outside of the house, and a pail of some kind at home to store. Both may cost a total of $50.00 combined.

Additional inserts may be desired or required which will cost you $$.

Cloth Diaper Services

To ease the amount of washing and the time involved with cloth diapering, there are diaper services that will deliver, pick up and wash the diapers for you. Like any convenience you will pay but for some this cost might make sense to them.

A local company in my local area is Bear Bottoms Diaper Service. They will do this for $19.95 a week. This would have ended up costing me around $5200.00 for this service. It may not be the most cost effective way to use cloth diapers but if you really have your heart set on it, it can ease the amount of soaking and washing you will have to do.

Looking back now I should have taken the time to really think this through and do a bit more digging around. Talking to other mom’s who have used both diapers to get feedback on costs would have also been a smart decision as well.

The convenience of disposables really outweighed the messiness of a cloth diaper. Had I done enough research I could have saved a lot of money in my budget. With a little bit of patience I might have been more successful with cloth diapers than giving up after giving them one shot. After seeing multiple friends use and enjoy cloth diapers over disposable diapers while saving a ton of cash, I wish I made the choice to use cloth diapers.

What kind of diapers do you use? Do you wish you had made a different decision?

Editors Note: Thanks Katrina. Although we don’t have any children it’s great to learn from those with experience such as yourself especially when it comes to an expensive cost such as diapers.

katrina cbb

Post Contribution: 

Katrina is regular contributor for Canadian Budget Binder and is as passionate about personal finance as she is gardening. Katrina is a horticulture graduate with over 10 years experience with landscaping and greenhouse production.

Her goal is to share her knowledge and experiences blogging about gardening and her continued passion for personal finance in hopes of motivating others. While being a single mom of two and an in-store marketing representative  for major retail shops she also runs her own Landscaping Services in Southwestern Ontario.


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Dollar Store Home Pregnancy Tests-Do They Work?

Dollar Store Home Pregnancy Test

A Home Pregnancy Test (HPT) is not a topic I ever thought I would be Blogging about but here I am doing it and I’m sure you are already saying what in the world has Mr. CBB gotten himself into. It seems as you age babies tend to come up in conversation alot, especially if you don’t have kids and are married. We would love to have a child so naturally this is something we should learn about anyhow right? No I’m not talking about how to make a baby I’m talking about how to find out if you hit the target, if you know what I mean. I’m not complaining, heck I don’t know many men who struggle with the thought of having to get it on almost every day with their wives or significant other to successfully get pregnant. News of being pregnant is and should be one of the happiest moments in a couples lives.

Here’s Where This Story Began….

While Mrs. CBB’s friend Jill was over at our house the other day the “Baby” topic came up so naturally this was the topic of the conversation in the kitchen. ( I am not part of this conversation) Jill went on to say that she was 7 weeks pregnant with her first child. We were thrilled that Jack and Jill were going to have their first child after 6 months of trying and testing but the story gets even funnier. She says, yes Jack and I were at the Dollar Store last week and we picked up a home pregnancy test as I missed AF (apparently that means Aunt Flow) so we wanted to do a test. Sure enough the test showed we were pregnant after the first try this time. They are simply over the moon and we are happy they will be expecting their first bundle of joy.

At this point I kind of did a head spin as I was writing a Blog post and not really interested in menstruation and pregnancy chit-chat. I kind of threw myself into the hoopla right after I heard the words “Dollar Store“. Being the frugal guy that I am I said, “wait a minute you mean to tell me you can get a home pregnancy test at the Dollar store”? Crikey, what did I just say, open mouth insert foot, now I’m in for it. (Thinking to self.. learn your lesson mate don’t get involved when women are talking girl talk.) Why would you get a home pregnancy test at the Dollar store, are they even accurate? Why would you put the results of being pregnant or not in the hands of a Dollar store test? Then again us guys put not having a baby into the Dollar Stores hands when we head in to buy condoms for a buck. I remember thinking if I ever needed something to always check the dollar store first. Like the time I spent $6 on mini paint rollers at Home Depot only to find out they sell them at Dollarama for a buck. I never thought women would head to the Dollar Store to find out if they were pregnant.

Anyhow, Jill went on to say how expensive a HPT is at the pharmacy and that most women will try the Dollar Store brands first with accurate results. She says that plenty of her friends have gotten positive results with the $1.25 HPT and never even stepped foot into a pharmacy. That and she said it was far too expensive to keep testing at the prices they wanted at the pharmacy.

Now that I felt part of this woman to woman conversation and said my piece I decided to leave it be and step back. Secretly though, the nosey bugger that I am I decided to investigate because I just found it too interesting that women would leave the fate of a positive or negative test to a dollar store HPT.

So, off to the Dollar Store I went, wandering around as if I really needed to buy something. I did, I had to pick up a Birthday card for my sister so that made me feel better that I just wasn’t buying something for nothing. While sleuthing around I saw it… the Pro Care One Step Pregnancy Test which is Health Canada Licensed! It was a whopping $1.25 for 1 test and it states:

  • Easy to Use
  • Use Any Time
  • Positive Result as soon as 1 minute
  • Over 99% accuracy

Shocking, not really, I already knew I would see it but I had to read it to believe it. The back of the box says that the first urine in the morning is highly recommended. Through research I learned that is because morning urine has the higher counts of HCG which is human chorionic gonadotropin present which is a reliable marker of pregnancy. This can also be found in the blood so a blood test from your doctor can also determine if you are pregnant. I also noticed they had a Pro Care Ovulation predictor also for a $1.25 which also states it’s 99% accuracy. This is like a one stop shop for all your pregnancy needs. Why would anyone want to pay top dollar for name brand tests??

I know most women may read this and go, ah ha we know this Mr. CBB and that’s ok, I don’t, many men don’t but should understand all of this. Getting pregnant is not just up to the woman. I would never just “set it and forget it” with Mrs.CBB. I want to know what’s going on and the process involved as it’s an emotional time for both partners. I also learned that the sensitivity of the test may vary from test to test and potentially affecting the cost. This Dollar Store test has a sensitivity of 25mIu/ml which apparently means that the product will detect the HCG in a certain level concentration of urine. A lower sensitivity allows women to test for pregnancy sooner than later.  So if you are sitting around tearing your hair out you might have to spend the big bucks on a Clear Blue Easy or First Response and let me tell you, they are NOT cheap. You can pick up First Reponse on-line at for $21.99 for 2 tests which has a sensitivity of 6.5 mIU/ml meaning you might be able to detect pregnancy sooner.

Mrs.CBB and I were shocked when we saw the prices at the pharmacy and understand now why women would flock to the dollar store. If you are one of those women who really want to know but don’t want to fork out the big $$$ the dollar store seems to be the way to go. Nothing wrong with loading up as long as you keep an eye on the expiry dates. In the pharmacy prices would range from $18.99 for 1 test up to around $74 for 20 tests (see you can even buy these in bulk ladies). Problem would be what do you do with the other 19 tests if the first test is accurate? Money wasted?

In all honesty I really didn’t find much in my investigation other than cost, sensitivity and accuracy claims. I picked up a home pregnancy test and an ovulation test at the Dollar Store to bring home and show Mrs.CBB. I won’t lie she had a chuckle and found it funny I ventured out on my own but she was not surprised. I guess it’s time to get it on!

So my question is, would you spend $1.25 to find out you’re pregnant or pay for the more expensive well-known brands? Are the Dollar store home pregnancy tests as accurate as they claim? Did you use a Dollar Store Home Pregnancy Test and were the results accurate?

Share your comments  and best of luck if you are looking to conceive!


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What Products To Stockpile For Maternity Leave

Huggies Diapers Size 1

Deciding what products to stockpile for your maternity leave, and how much, is no easy task! It’s no secret that when you transition to maternity leave you will take a big hit to your regular monthly income. What can make it even harder is that the adorable bundle of joy you just brought into the world additionally has a not so cute impact on your bank account!

So, how do you cope? Plan ahead! They say hindsight is 20/20, and I fully believe it! This list is based on my own personal experience of what I wish I had stockpiled for our munchkin’s arrival, and what I will be stockpiling when munchkin #2 comes along! The best items to stockpile are the ones that will help counteract the new expenses being introduced to your monthly budget while you still have a regular income, and simply to help you still live life with as little adjustment as possible!

Products To Stockpile For Maternity Leave

Stockpiling Diapers–If you are planning on using disposable diapers, try to have at least your first 3 months already on hand by the time baby arrives. If you plan far enough ahead, you are given the luxury of waiting for clearance sales and coupons to combine with them to get your diapers at rock bottom prices. A good rule of thumb is to try and aim for $0.08-$0.10 per diaper or less. This will go up as the diapers increase in size as there will be fewer units per pack.

When calculating how many diapers you will need, keep in mind that for the first few months of your child’s life they will go through 10-12 diapers a day! So you can do the math depending on the size of diaper packs you purchase when you have enough for 3 months. If you have decided to go the cloth diaper route, make sure you have LOTS or your savings will go out the window in laundry expense!

Stockpiling Laundry Detergent–Since your laundry loads will likely triple in size and frequency, you will want to have lots of laundry detergent on hand at the lowest out-of-pocket price possible. If you wait for the right sale and collect coupons, you should be able to get your laundry detergent for $1.99 a jug or less.

Stockpiling Personal Care Items–Once your baby arrives, it will be very rare that you get a chance to treat yourself…or even think to! By stockpiling items like your favorite shampoo, body wash, etc., you don’t need to feel as though you are “going without”, and don’t need to spend money you don’t have to treat yourself!

Stockpiling Food–There are many foods that can be stockpiled and keep for long periods of time. But again, you don’t want to feel like you are sacrificing normal life by having to eat spaghetti every night, and want to make sure you are getting the nutrition you need if you are nursing! My best suggestion for stockpiling food for your maternity leave is to do enough freezer cooking to last 6-8 weeks, so you can eat good healthy homemade meals once baby arrives, and all you need to do is pop it in the oven! Check out 50 Freezer Meals in One Day for some tips and recipes I will be using later this month!

Stockpiling Fruits & Vegetables–Freezing sliced fruits and veggies is great for making quick smoothies! This will not only provide much-needed vitamins and nutrients to a nursing mom (and therefor baby!) but will give you the energy you need to get through your day on little sleep!

Stockpiling Paper Goods–Stockpiling necessities like toilet paper and paper towels is always a good idea! They wont expire, you know they will be needed, and they are items that will affect your routine if you run out unexpectantly!

I hope this preparation not only helps ease the financial stress a new addition can bring to your life, but also clears some of the mental stress of worrying about the “stuff”, so you can spend your time enjoying your new little bundle instead!

If you have any other suggestions of what products to stockpile for your maternity leave, please feel free to share so we can all learn from each other!

Save Big Live Better

Guest Post BioSave Big Live Better is a community of like minded Canadians who want to save money. Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to saving through stockpiling! To learn more about how to slash your grocery bill, check out Save Big Live Better for Canadian coupons, deals, freebies, and frugal living articles like this!

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Surviving A Lower Income On Maternity Leave In Canada

Most parents-to-be struggle with the thought of living on a lowered income or some put off having a baby altogether for fear they can’t afford a child. I survived two pregnancies and two maternity leaves and made it through the after baby financial changes to our net income. I also have to mention that my marriage survived as well. You are laughing??

Just imagine, in a matter of seconds, you have more expenses and a lower-income. I am not going to lie, this is probably going to be the hardest thing you have done in your life. Lack of sleep, no time to eat or take a shower, not to mention the financial worries but I am proud to add, an enormous sense of accomplishment. I like to think that the worst is now behind me. There are so many things I wish I knew before I had kids but here I am now and I will share with you some of my precious findings. Here are some tips on how to enjoy parenthood instead of worrying about your finances and your sanity.

How much money will you get on Maternity Leave? While on maternity leave and parental leave, the basic benefit rate is 55 percent of your average insured earnings which currently as of January 1,2012 the maximum is $45,900 yearly. This means you can receive up to a maximum of $485 per week. Some parents work for companies that top up their salaries paying the difference between the maternity benefit and their normal salary. You can also make money while on maternity leave by selling items, working part-time, starting a blog or website, babysitting etc. 

Couponing is for everyone-Just like for everything else, when you want to save money there are many things you can do. The obvious one for my fans is couponing. You cannot imagine how much money you can save until you try it. It is just plain ridiculous! I still come from shopping shaking my head.  If I only knew about couponing BEFORE I had my children. So, a word of advice, get started now! There is a huge community of money-saving Canadians who use coupons and who will welcome you anywhere you go. Everybody can do it!

Cut back on Extras and Start Budgeting-Another very helpful way to save money is to cut back on the extras and know where your money is going. Have a good look at your expenses and determine what you can live without for now and for the long-term. Perhaps you could cut down on your pit stops to the coffee shop, cafeteria or remove your premium cable. You should decide between what you “need” and what you “want” to stick to the budget. Have you ever done the math to see how much you spend in the budget by eating out and buying coffee? You will be amazed at how much you can save in one simple step-eliminate or decrease this expense.

Get Energy and Water Smart-Now I am not saying not to flush your toilet anymore, but to stop watering your driveway and to turn off lights when you don’t need them. My favourite way to save electricity is to use my appliances off-peak. Most electricity providers offer lower rates during off-peak electricity times especially with the new smart meters. Off peak electricity is provided during set times and is typically between 19h00 and 07h00. I save around $60 dollars every month that way.

Stop Hoarding-A very nice way to put some money aside to survive on your lower-income is to make room for your baby. Yes, it is time to sell everything you have kept for no reason. The bigger the house the more useless stuff we keep. Make room for the mountain of baby clothes and toys that are coming your way.

Maternity leave doesn’t have to be a scary time as long as you plan in advance and think about where you want to be financially in your life. Take away all the “wants” and fill them with “needs” and surviving maternity leave will be come less of a burden on your finances and your well-being. 

Very special thanks to Mr. Canadian Budget Binder who gave me the opportunity to share with you what I have learned and how I survived a lower-income while on maternity leave. 

Guest Post Bio- I am Diane The Flying Couponer, a bubbly Flight Attendant who loves coupons. Every coupon!  I am couponing WORLDWIDE with my husband and our children! My blog is a savings haven overflowing with love and coupons. We are sharing each other’s knowledge and we are growing together. Stop by and check out my site and say Hi or you can find me on Facebook or Twitter! 

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Making Money on Parental Leave In Canada


Can I make money while on Parental and Maternity leave? This is a frequent question my Canadian Budget Binder fans want to know. So, I went to Mom Expert Sarah Deveau Author of Money Smart Mom to share the inside scoop for our fellow Canadians wanting to learn about making some extra money while they are off work caring for their new bundle(s) of joy.

Here’s what Sarah has to say….

If you’ve just had a baby and are living on the reduced income of employment insurance maternity or parental leave payments, you might be wondering how to bring in extra income.

If you earn income while on the maternity leave portion of the benefit (the first 15 weeks), your earnings will be deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits.

If you work while you’re receiving the parental leave benefit, after the first 15 weeks, in the past you’ve been allowed to earn $75 per week or 40% of your weekly benefits, whichever is higher. Any income earned above that amount will be deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits.

However, due to the new Working While on Claim (WWC) pilot project, once you have served the waiting period, if your earnings are equal to or less than 90% of your weekly earnings that were used to calculate your benefit rate, your benefits will be reduced at a rate of 50% of your earnings each week. Any earnings that exceed this 90% mark, will be deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits. The 50% claw-back begins at the first dollar earned.

Due to negative feedback, the government is letting anyone on parental leave after January 6, 2013 choose which way they want their income taxed – the old way, or the new way.

For some examples of how these calculations work, see the Service Canada website. If in doubt, write to Service Canada and get their advice and calculations for your individual income level in writing.

Here are a few suggestions for ways you can earn additional income while on parental leave to help with your maternity/parental leave budget:

  • Drive a school bus
  • Offer evening and weekend babysitting for friends and family
  • Deliver newspapers
  • Operate a drop in day home
  • Sign up to participate in focus groups
  • Create a freelancing or in-home business in your area of expertise (tutoring, writing, music lessons, etc.)
  • Join a virtual office company in your area
  • Work as a casual employee, on occasional weekends or evenings when you have access to free childcare (spouse or relatives)
  • Sign up as a secret shopper (be sure to join a reputable company)
  • Work temporary jobs, such as seasonal retail help

If you earn money while on parental leave, you will be required to fill out regular reports. Be sure to contact Service Canada if you have any questions about earning or reporting income while on parental leave.

What other ways did you earn extra income while on Parental leave?

Guest Post By: Sarah Deveau is a mom of three, and the author of Money Smart Mom: Financially Fit Parenting. Visit her website at MONEY SMART MOM or pick up her book from Chapters Indigo.

Here is a Book Review that I did for Sarah once I finished reading her book… Money Smart Mom Financially Fit Parenting:  Book Review Mr.CBB.

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