One of the biggest hurdles that struggling families face when looking into a sustainable diapering solution is the start up cost for cloth diapers.
I can’t afford the start up cost for cloth diapers!
Starting with premium brands like Fuzzi Bunz and BumGenius can be expensive. Starting with, say, 18 Fuzzi Bunz Elite diapers with no sort of volume discount or sale comes out to right around $400 in Canada, or $360 in the US. But you’ll spend right around that in six months on disposable diapers.
There are a few ways that you can work around the scary price, including using prefolds and covers, buying diapers here and there, or starting out with a non-premium brand. You can start out with a stash of prefolds that will work for you for right around $100.
There are also brands of diapers that are less expensive that can be bought online in bulk. Keep in mind, though, that with these less expensive diapers, the quality is not always the same… but it’s still better than disposables and a cheaper option until you can bulk your stash up with better diapers. If you start out with the inexpensive brands (or “China cheapies”), it will at least pay for itself in the first month or two.
Plus, if you’re open to the idea, you can always start out with used cloth diapers. There’s absolutely no harm in buying used cloth diapers. In fact, I have a few used cloth diapers in my own stash that I bought because I wanted to try out that brand or it’s just not something sold locally in my area. You can often buy very good to excellent quality used cloth diapers for 50% to 75% of retail value. Sometimes you can get new cloth diapers that the seller hadn’t even washed for 75% of retail. There are ways to start slowly with building a cloth diaper stash when you’re on a budget.
Not only that, but you can recoup some of your expenses when you’re done with diapers by reselling the used ones. There are groups online and on Facebook that are great places to sell your used diapers. Those are also the great place to buy your used cloth diapers when you’re starting out or are looking to experiment.
If you’re still in a bind, there are groups dedicated to loaning out cloth diapers to those who cannot afford them. I work with Cloth for a Cause‘s Prince George chapter. There’s also The Rebecca Foundation in the States.
While the initial start up costs of using cloth can be scary, it’s something that can be overcome!
How did you cope with the start up costs of using cloth diapers?