Monday, July 9, 2012

Buying used cloth diapers

I am always a frugal mom, looking for the best way to spend my hard earned money.  That is the main reason why we started cloth diapering in the first place!  Because it's so much cheaper than using disposables.  I am so thankful that we did start too, because I know we couldn't afford to use disposables on two!

One of my favorite ways to find good deals on cloth diapers is to buy second hand diapers.  You can buy or trade to get 'new to you' diapers.  I am always searching on facebook diaper swap pages, ebay and craigslist for good deals.  Even when I don't need to buy diapers, I still watch the pages to help pacify the addiction.  (I know some of you can understand.)  The one thing that bugs me the most though, is when I see people posting diapers for prices more than what they are worth brand new.  I just hate the idea of a Mom getting taken advantage of when trying to do something good for her family.  So here is a list of guidelines for you to follow when looking for good deals on used cloth diapers.  

  • Look on sites that are reputable.  Ask around to other cloth diaperers to see what websites they troll for goodies.  Or email me and I'll give you my favorites!
  • Look for local swap pages or sites, it will save you on shipping and you'd have a better chance of seeing them before you buy them.
  • Ask for pictures, lots of good clear pictures.  If they don't want to provide you with pictures, then don't trust that they would be in good condition.  Use that to either pass or negotiate a lower price.
  • Know what abbreviations mean:  
    • EUC = Excellent Used Condition, MMAO = Make Me An Offer, PPD = Postage Paid (meaning shipping is included in the price), etc.  You can find a list here.
  • Know what shipping costs.  Right now, you can use the United States Postal Service to ship easily using their flat rate boxes.  Take shipping costs into consideration when figuring your diaper deal.  Sometimes you can sip cheaper not using flat rate, but if you have heavy things...flat rate is the way to go.
    • These are all approximations: A flat rate padded envelope will fit 2-3 diapers and costs around $5.50.  A small flat rate box will fit 1-2 diapers and costs about $6.  A medium flat rate box will fit 3-6 diapers and costs about $11.  A large flat rate box will fit up to almost 20 diapers and costs about $16.
    • Make sure that you ask for tracking numbers!!!
  • If you find a diaper that you are interested in, do a quick Google search to see how much that diaper would cost brand new right now.  Sometimes Moms can make a quick buck by getting a really good discount and turning around and selling the diapers for a profit, but that doesn't happen often.  The only way you can really make a profit is if you are over pricing or bought at wholesale prices.  Most of the time, you find Moms that just want to sell the diapers they don't use or diapers that just don't work for them, or they are done with diapering.  Some want to trade, then use these guidelines to see what your diapers are worth compared to what they are offering in trade.
  • There are no set numbers for pricing used items.  I find that cloth diapers seem to depreciate in value like a car...once you drive it off the lot, it's worth about 20% less.  Make sure that you find what the diapers are currently retailing for, including any sales that you can find.  Some manufacturers have discounts going or specials to get rid of old prints and colors.  This is what I follow when purchasing and when selling.  
    • If the diapers are brand new, in package: They should be at 10-15% lower than current retail value.  
      • People will be more likely to buy brand new from their favorite stores unless they can get some sort of discount for them.
    • If the diapers are brand new, never used, but prepped:  They should be priced at 15-25% lower than current retail price.
      • Some people are very cautious as to how the diapers are washed, what detergent and water is used, etc, but sometimes you just don't know exactly how they were washed or if they really have never been used.
    • If the diapers are in VEUC (used less than 10 times, not stained or damaged in any way and washed well):  They should be priced at 20-30% less than current retail price.
    • If they are in EUC (used more than 10 times but well taken care of and no signs of wear, stains or damage):  They should be priced at 25-35% less than current retail price.
    • If they are in GUC (slight staining, reasonable wear and no sign of damage):  They should be priced at 50-60% less than current retail price.
    • If they are any thing less than GUC (could possibly be damaged or have been damaged but fixed, staining, need for new elastic or problems with the PUL, etc.):  They should be 75-90% less than current retail price.
  • If you can find a better deal on new diapers from a store, then use that to negotiate a lower price.  Remember, people usually price diapers for what they want to get, but they usually are ready to don't worry about asking for less.  The worst they can say is "No."
  • If you trade diapers, ask the person to make a deposit on Paypal for an agreed upon amount (like the price of the diapers) and then tell them that you'll deposit the same amount for them.  That way, if you send the diapers and they don' are not out the cost of those diapers.  You can contact Paypal to get your money back.  It is a way to protect yourself (and them) from scams.
Here's a hypothetical situation for you.  So, if you find a diaper that is in EUC that retails right now for $22, you could expect to pay $16.50.  Now you could figure shipping to be around $6, so your cost would be $22.50.  Deal?  Don't forget to include shipping from the store if you were to buy it new.  If it ships from the store for $7.50, then the cost of that diaper would be $29.50 retail.  So you'd be getting the diaper at 24% off (which would be a deal).  But, if that store can ship it for free, then you'd be getting a better deal buying new.  So use that information to negotiate a price closer to $14.50 or maybe even $20 PPD if you want to try.  

I am always in the mood to shop for great diaper deals, so if it seems overwhelming to you....I would be honored to be your personal shopper!  But part of the fun of cloth diapering is feeding the addiction by shopping.

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!


1 comment:

  1. I hope you've had a chance to check out Cloth Diaper Trader ( for used cloth diapers :)


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