When I first started cloth diapering I wasn't sure if the probable increase in our utilities bills (electric and water) would still make cloth diapering more financially frugal than using disposables.
I now have close to a year's worth of utilities bills to compare the befores and afters, and though I ultimately conclude that cloth diapering is more frugal, I can also say that our bills are up.
Water in particular has gone up significantly. Of course, water is the cheapest utility out there, at least in our neck of the woods. We pay our bill quarterly, so when I consider how much we pay for water each month (divide each bill by 3) it pales in comparison to the typical energy bills we get each month.
Here's the water bill breakdown:
January -- $111.99 (This bill is dated January 19, 2012, and it was sent while Natalie was still in the hospital, so it's a good baseline for our bills pre-baby.)
April -- $117.87 (We started using cloth diapers in early March, so here you can see the impact on our bill with about 6 weeks of cloth diapering.)
July -- $140.22
October -- $148.82
There's clearly a big increase in our water bill in the billing period covering the last six months, aka the time since we really started using cloth diapers.
So it seems that cloth diapers are causing our water bill to rise a good amount, right?
I assume so, but I also realize that there are other ways caring for Natalie has contributed to an increasingly large water bill. Specifically, we run the dishwasher more often now that her plates, bowls, utensils, bottles and cups are getting used multiple times per day. Also, we bathe her, and now that she's older we bathe her move often than we did when she was a newborn. And we have to wash her clothes, but I've managed to only run a load of her laundry about once every two weeks.
Other forms of baby water consumption aside, I have to believe that running a load of her diapers every other day is the greatest contributing factor to our increasing water bill. So, I've decided to change that routine ever so slightly and wash the diapers once every three days as opposed to every two days. I tried this method out a few times with our stash of 20 diapers and I found that the diapers were barely drying in enough time before I completely ran out of diapers. (In fairness, one diaper is always in our diaper bag, and one diaper is now a dedicated swimming diaper, so it's more accurate to say we were working with 18 diapers.) I ordered 4 more diapers in fun colors that weren't available when we were building our stash this time last year. Now I think we have the perfect amount of diapers for this new cleaning schedule.
Those of you using cloth diapers, have you modified your cloth diaper washing routines? Do you think you're ultimately saving money through cloth diapers over disposables? How many cloth diapers do you have? Anyone given up on cloth diapering?