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“Having a baby costs so much money!”
How many times have you heard this statement? Some may answer that a newborn baby needs very little aside from loving parents. But some of the simplest necessities cost the most: diapers, clothing, a car seat, and food. This week we’ll be looking back at some old posts about saving on baby, whether it’s diapers, gear or food.
While this is an older post from the archives of Southern Savers, I’ve updated the details, prices and links. There are tons of great comments too!
Saving on Baby: How to Save on Diapers
I’ll start with my diaper story. Many of you know that I have twins. Thankfully, they have long been out of diapers, but when they were babies, I attempted cloth diapers out of sheer desperation and then seriously lost my mind. We weren’t couponing at the time, so I did the next best thing—always buying house brands. The diapers were fine, t but we spent a ton of money. The cheapest house brand I liked was still around $7.50 a pack and we could go through a pack a day! As we continued having kids, I began combining coupons and store sales, and we usually ended up with free diapers or at most paying less than $5 per pack for name brand diapers.
Choose cloth diapers
It may seem old fashioned or even gross to some, but when you start doing the research you will find that choosing cloth is by far the best way to save on diapering. The average family spends anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 to diaper one child to age three, depending on how good they are at finding the most economical disposable. This price doesn’t include disposable wipes (which are sometimes almost as much as the diapers), a special diaper pail, all those little plastic baggies to minimize smell, etc. Multiply these numbers by three (or more), and we’re talking about nearly $5,000-$10,000!
Families who choose cloth diapers (even the most expensive all-in-ones) rarely spend over $500 on diapers and associated gear. Even when you add in the cost of laundering, the total doesn’t come close to the amount spent on disposables. Don’t forget that quality cloth diapers can last a family through several children. To further reduce start-up costs, you might even consider buying gently used diapers (check Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Craigslist) or making your own if you have the talent. Once you have the diapers, you can save on laundering by letting your diapers line dry, which also helps them to smell fresh and remove stains.
Finally, many choose to cloth diaper because they feel it is a superior product that is more comfortable for their child or because of the environmental impact. Don’t forget, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use disposables for convenience on occasion.
If you have done the research and have decided cloth diapering is not for you and your baby, there are still ways to save. There are some amazing deals on disposables at drugstores and grocery stores. Look out for those rock bottom prices and stock up, even before baby is born. Make sure to sign up for newsletters from your favorite (or all) brands as they will often send you coupons through the mail or email.
I will not detail the drugstore systems in this post, but if you are new to Southern Savers, check out our Getting Started Guide.
Bulk or house brand?
I know several moms who swear by Walmart diapers, and several more who use their membership at a wholesale club (i.e. BJ’s, Sam’s, or Costco) to save on diapers. Still, I know others who use only the top brands because of a bad experience with store brands whether it’s leaks, blowouts, rashes, or just overall quality. Some even go so far as to say that the top brands help to stretch your dollar even more because they don’t fill up as fast as cheaper brands, and therefore you use less diapers overall. In my opinion, it is sometimes more advantageous to spend a few minutes clipping coupons and buying Huggies and Pampers at rock bottom prices. However, with prices on everything climbing, it’s good to do the math. Here’s a breakdown to help you see this better:
Pampers Cruisers Size 4
Current Sam’s Club price: $44.48 for 168 diapers (27¢ per diaper)
Current drugstore deal price: $5.66 for 21 diapers (26.9¢ per diaper)
Sales change each week, but following the deals can get you about the same price right now as the club prices.
Again, this is just my opinion, but I think that buying house brand or wholesale is best saved for those times when your stash runs low, or you’re out of town, and you just have to buy diapers now! Especially since one must include the cost of a wholesale membership in the cost of wholesale diapers.
Take advantage of reward systems
You aren’t going to save enough to pay for your child’s first semester of college, but every little bit counts right? You can earn anything from gift cards (some for more diapers), toys, baby gear, or photo albums. You can find codes on manufacturer’s products and earn from scanning your receipts into the programs too.
Ask for them
People love to buy stuff for a new baby! If you are expecting your first baby, don’t forget to include diapers (all sizes) and gift cards on your registry. When a relative or friend calls and asks “Do you need anything? We’d love to come visit!” Say, “Sure! You can stop by and bring us a pack of diapers.” If you are a veteran mama who already has all the gear and clothing, ask your friends and family to throw you a diaper shower instead. Also babies grow fast, leaving moms with a surplus of diapers that are too small or cloth diapers that are no longer being used. If you have a friend (or two or three) with older children, ask her to save you her extras or gently used cloth diapers. Even your church nursery might have unused diapers lying around. One of the many joys of motherhood is the community that comes with it, so don’t be afraid to lean on your fellow frugal moms. Also, if you do receive a lot of diaper boxes and packages as gifts, don’t open a new box until you’re sure you need that size. You can return unopened boxes to big box stores and change them out for larger (or smaller sizes).
Do you have any more tips for how to save on diapers? Let us know in the comments!