All posts by jason

Husband, Dad, Technologist. Handy with power tools & routing protocols. Writing about things that interest me.

Diaper Cost Analysis

Ok, it’s time to go get your green on.  Do you feel like you’re constantly spending money on diapers, like every five minutes?  Yeah, we used to feel that way too.  With Lizzie, we made a conscious decision to go cloth, after finding that she got lots of rashes with disposables.  We settled on the bumGenius all-in-one cloth diapers.  What’s this all-in-one stuff about?  Your garden variety, traditional cloth diaper involves a big wad of cloth, shoved inside a cover that keeps all the junk inside, lots of moving parts, not very user-friendly.  An all-in-one, like the bumGenius, goes on like your average disposable.  Inside, there’s a pocket that holds the various absorbent pads.

The all-in-ones are very easy to use.  My wife refers to them as “Husband-Friendly”.  Even the nursery workers at church can handle these things.  They’re adjustable, and fit kids that are between 7 and 35 pounds. What’s the down side of these diapers?  They’re not cheap.  Like really expensive.  Up-front costs are pretty high.  The bumGenius diapers cost about $18 each.  The folks at Kellly’s Closet sell larger quantities (12 or more) for a decent discount though (about $1 per diaper).  Their “Starter Package” is right about $400, and includes 24 diapers.  Based on prices for Pampers at Amazon, and Kelly’s Closet, as of Nov 6, 2008, here’s what I came up with.  The primary assumption I made was that the child would wear diapers until they’re 3 years old, and used an informal poll between a few random sources, including our own experiences with our 2 children to come up with how many diapers per day would be used.

Pampers Costs

Type Per Box Price Cost / Diaper Diapers / Day Cost / Month Months Months of Use Total Cost
Swaddlers 1 216 $39.99 $0.19 10 $55.54 0-3 3 $166.63
Swaddlers 2 184 $41.99 $0.23 10 $68.46 3-7 4 $273.85
Cruisers 3 160 $41.99 $0.26 8 $62.99 7-12 5 $314.93
Cruisers 4 140 $41.99 $0.30 6 $53.99 12-21 9 $485.88
Cruisers 5 124 $41.99 $0.34 5 $50.79 21-36 15 $761.92
Grand Total $2,003.20

bumGenius Costs

Item Quantity Cost
bumGenius Starter Pack 1 $406.80
Extra Diaper Inserts 3-pack 4 $43.80
Grand Total $450.60

Wow, that’s quite a difference, eh?  So, if you’re willing to invest at least 7 months of time to devote to using cloth, you’ll come out roughly even ($440.48 vs $450.60).  If you continue down the cloth road, by the time your child is potty trained, you will have saved a bit more than $1500.  What does this comparison fail to account for?  The cost of washing the diapers vs. disposal of the disposable diapers.  Most folks buy bins like the Playtex Diaper Genie, which means you’re in for buying replacement cartridges, so more ongoing costs.

Maybe cloth isn’t for you.  There’s certainly a larger commitment involved – you’ll be doing a load of diapers every day.  You could stretch this to every 2 days once the child is a bit older, or if you get another 12 diapers, which would add another 50% to the cost.  That means your time period to recoup your investment is closer to a year.  Still, you’re ahead by about 2/3 in that case as well.  For us, it’s totally worth it.  And guess what?  Lizzie doesn’t get rashes from cloth diapers, ever.

Financial and comfort issues aside, consider the potential environmental impact from using cloth diapers, vs. disposables.  How often do you empty a diaper genie that’s full of diapers, resulting in a pile the size of your leg?  Think about how large a pile of disposable diapers that is over the first few years of a child’s life.  Go back up above, and multiply it all out, using the disposable numbers — that’s over 7,000 diapers.  That’s a pretty large pile of diapers that will spend dozens or in some cases, up to hundreds of years in landfills (for the non-cotton components in the diaper).  With a cloth diaper solution, what are you introducing into the environment, apart from the bio-waste?  Water and detergent, just like washing clothes.  However, with diapers, you use less detergent, and can always use a more naturally formulated detergent, further minimizing environmental impact.

Find Your Honda Radio Code Easily.

[ 2014 Update – Guys, I can’t magically give you your radio code.  Read the blog post.  If the code isn’t where I said, you’ll be going to the dealer to get it sorted out.  Ok? ]

Yesterday, I hopped in my car (a 2005 Honda Civic that I picked up back in 2004), and went to the Wawa about a mile away to pick up a bit of lunch.  The car started fine, drove just fine, and all seemed, well, fine.  That is, until I got in the car to come back home.  The car wouldn’t turn over, no power, no nothing.  Just a very faint clicking noise that lasted about 5 seconds after turning the key off.

Yup, it was a dead battery.  Fortunately, as it was only a mile, I walked home, ate my lunch, then as Heather & the kids had arrived back at home, we hopped in the van to go back over.  I could have avoided this if I’d simply left the jumper cables in my trunk.  For some unknown reason, I took them out and left them in the garage after I’d last used them.

One jump start later, I was able to drive the car back home.  I grabbed the van keys, ran to Pep Boys and grabbed a new battery, as the old one was the original, now nearly 4 years old, and had a dark eye – i.e. It’s Dead Jim.  Swapping out the battery was easy enough, and then I found a new problem.  My radio has the anti-theft feature that requires a 5-digit code to unlock it.  Fortunately, after a bit of googling, I found that if you sit in the driver’s seat, open the glove box and look at the little sticker on the left side of the outer shell of the glove box, you’ll find two numbers.  The one on top is 5 digits.  Guess what?  It’s your radio code.

Wildly convenient for situations like this, but what if my radio were stolen?  Someone smart enough to steal a radio is probably also smart enough to look at a sticker that’s less than a foot away from the radio, right?