Having kids is one of the most rewarding and expensive experiences of my life. For me, choosing to be a stay at home mom meant that I had to make some changes in our household budget, but I really didn’t want to make crazy couponing my next full time job. Luckily I think I’ve found a nice balance of saving both money and time, at least in the diaper department.
Most brands of diapers come in 2-3 different packages (they usually call them jumbo, super, giant, and economy, etc.). It takes a little bit of math to figure out the cost per diaper, and full disclosure: I’m terrible at math. So to keep things simple, I only focus on the price per package. Regardless of the size, Huggies and Pampers diapers retail around $10 for a jumbo pack and $25 for a super pack. I have found the best deals are with jumbo packs which are the smallest packages, plus an extra benefit is you don’t have to worry about having a lot leftover if your baby goes through a growth spurt and sizes up. Also I don’t have very much storage space in my home, so smaller packages work best for me.
I am not really loyal to any particular brand, so my rule of thumb is if I can find diapers for $5 or less, I go ahead and buy them IF I need them. Also, I should add that I only buy diapers from places I already shop at so I’m not making a special trip somewhere just for diapers. I have found that between the 4 main places I shop (Kroger, CVS, Aldi, and Target), if I am patient and keep my eyes peeled, I can find diapers at or below $5 a bag whenever I need them, and I’m only spending about 5 minutes of prep time before my trip. 5 minutes to save $5 (or more if buying multiple packs) seems worth it to me! Here are the do’s and don’ts that I follow:
- Do join loyalty programs for your favorite diaper brands.
Both Huggies and Pampers have rewards apps that are quite useful. Pampers has an easy scan feature where you can quickly get points for the diapers you use, but wipes have an annoying code you have to type in. If you are patient they usually have a bonus about once a month so you can get double points on a scan.
For the Huggies app you need to upload your receipt to get points, which is a little bit of a pain. But they are starting to link with certain retail loyalty cards to skip this step. They have bonus points also about once a month for things like visiting their FB page or reading useful articles on their blog. Both apps will allow you to redeem your points for either diapers or gift cards to retail stores where you buy them. Also, as a reward member you can print diaper and wipes coupons from both website about once a month. It only takes a couple minutes once a week to get a lot out of these programs.
- Do look at the sale ads before your shopping trip.
This is a good idea to do no matter what you’re shopping for! Reading the sale ad (even online) can help you make a plan and write a list before you go, which will reduce impulse buying. Also it gives you a chance to compare different store prices and get the best deal.
- Do add digital coupons to store loyalty cards.
Most retailers have digital coupons you can load onto your loyalty card. I do this step at the same time as reading the sale ads when planning my shopping trip for the week. Even if I’m not buying diapers at that time, if I see a diaper coupon I always save it to use later. Don’t forget to check the Cartwheel app for Target too!
- Do check rebate apps.
I use Ibotta and Fetch apps regularly (there may be others I am not as familiar with). They both have rebate offers on things you buy, even diapers. Ibotta is starting to link with certain retail loyalty cards so you don’t always have to take a photo of your receipt, but they only have diaper offers occasionally. Fetch will give you points for all Huggies brand purchases and often have bonus offers.
- Don’t fall for the subscriptions.
There are a lot of diaper subscription services (Honest, Amazon, Target, etc) which offer the convenience of shipping your diapering supplies right to your doorstep, and no need to remember to re-order every month. This might be a good option for some people, but I have found that for me it was not very economic. Many times the subscription discounts these stores offer are no better than the regular sale prices. Also, you cannot use coupons, and they only offer large boxes which may mean you have a lot leftover if your baby sizes up. Also for me it is hard to predict exactly how many supplies I need so far in advance.
- Don’t assume bigger is better.
Big box stores like Costco and Sam’s do sell bigger boxes of diapers and wipes, but when you break down the price per diaper it’s not that great of a deal, unless you’re buying the store brand… which brings me to my next point.
- Don’t be afraid of generic.
Kirkland brand from Costco and Little Journey from Aldi are both great quality diapers, and they are always the same price! But not all generic brands are created equal, so there’s always a little risk in trying out a store brand for the first time.
- Don’t buy more diapers if you don’t need them, no matter how tempting.
We all know of someone who has a garage full of products they are hoarding because they got a great deal on it. Garages are for cars and bicycles… let’s keep it that way.
Hope someone out there finds this helpful! Do you have any bargain shopping tips? Tell me about it! firstname.lastname@example.org