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CLOTH NAPPIES: The Math, Time vs Money.

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When my husband and I fell pregnant with Paul we were both in our Professional careers, Him working as an architect and he also has 2 businesses on the side that he also worked for at night, on weekends and after hours. I was working in corporate for a big company, had a good salary and saving money was always important to us, but compared to where we are now it was not as big of a deal but it was still something we always considered before doing anything. Time as money for us, everything we did was calculated. Time vs the money it will bring in, was it worth our time or would we break even, how much would we make if we did this or that, but this, added that, and so on.

So when we did the rough calculations to do cloth nappies the time vs the money vs the effort that we would have to put in, or more like what I would have to put in, was not worth it. I could better spend my time and effort on something else that would bring in more money than we would be saving doing cloth nappies.

That being said, that was only on the topic of saving money, and not considering other things like the environment. Either way we let the idea go for a few years, but it always lingered in the back of my head.

But here we are 7 months down the line of me trying to only do cloth nappies. To be honest it does take up time, this you have to be aware of. It is a load of washing every day or every second day depending on the amount of kids and nappies you have. It means folding nappies and prepping them to ensure that you are ready whenever a kid needs a nappy change. Hanging washing and taking it down again. But let’s get into the math and you can decide for yourself what you think is best for you and your family.

Let’s start with the obvious shocker- the amount of disposables I used for both kids:

Disposable Nappy cost per month:

I then stopped using Wetwipes and mover over to facecloths

Disposable WetWipes cost per month:

So I save R242,80 a month on wipes, maybe  bit less because I still always have wipes in the house and the kids have wipes at school in their bags. But I’m definitely saving at home.


So lets have a look at how much my Nappies cost me now, Paul still takes 3 disposables to school but at home and on weekends we only cloth nappy. Lily is full on cloth Nappy all the time.

So Lily costs me R0 a month on disposables, Here is the math for Paul:


So this plus the wet wipes save ma about R1309,2 per month. And now I hear what you are going to say! ‘But what but the amount you spend on water, washing and detergent?’ Let’s do the math:

Washing cost:

So I wash everyday, between the two kids I don’t have enough Nappies to wash every second day, and to be honest I just feel happies knowing my nappies are clean the next day, you never know when it’s going to rain and so on, so having then clean and dry every day as soon as possible works best for me.

Fortunately for us our water in included into our Levies so I’m not sure how much that costs us. As for detergent, I make my own sunlight gel as I have learnt that Omo can make my Nappies smell and other detergents are to expensive for me. Here is the recipe from SACNU’s Website:


So the initial investment into cloth nappies can be large compared to the monthly saving at first, but it pays itself of in time. I think this is why my husband and I didn’t want to do it at first. To date I have spent R4405 on my nappies, buying them new and second hand over the past 7 months. And the money saved over 7months is R820,40 x 7 = R5742,80

This might not seem like to much, but the nappies have basically payed themselves off by now. And going forward it will only be more of an investment especially since Lily is only 10months old now and Paul will be wearing Nappies for a very long time still due to his condition.

Now for the most important part my husband always wants to see;

Time vs Money.

Most of us earn a salary that can be tracked back to the amount you make in an hour. Dealing with the nappies for me personally can be time consuming, or rather takes up some time in my day.

The math:

Ok lets say you area young working professional earning about R119 per hour in a 8 hour day this means that washing and prepping and so on will cost you R178,50 of your time every day.

Amounting to R178,50 x 31=R5 533,50 that you could have been spending rather doing something else, like private work or freelance work to bring in extra money as opposed to saving money by doing cloth nappies, lol If that makes any sense to you.


In Conclusion:

So you have to make the decision for yourself. If I was still working from 6to6 in my corporate job, I would not be doing this to be honest, maybe if I had a full time helper with washing and cleaning but then you also have to calculate that cost.

I feel that doing cloth nappies make me feel good about my duty towards the environment and also helps me save some money now that I don’t have a high paying job anymore. And to be honest that makes me allot happier than my high paying job did.

Let me know what you think about my math seeing as it’s not something I was too good at in school, haha but I enjoyed working this out and showing to you the true savings of cloth nappies in my household. In your household it might look and work differently.

Somethings that I did not even calculate here is the fact that I’m not using any bum cream anymore, I’m not using any plastic diaper baggies, and I’m not spending any money on fancy Diaper dustbin bags. I don’t have to deal with stinky nappies in dustbin, or feel guilty about the 403+ nappies I dispose of every month that will still be here in 500 years to come.

I hope that you enjoyed this post! Feel free to follow my Money Saving Mamma series on IGTV or on YouTube.

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