8 Tips to Save BIG Money on Diapers

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by Cassie

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Well hello to our fellow moms and dads out there that are changing diapers of our precious little ones!  We/ve got to stick together and encourage one another! It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!

So, as The Thrifty Couple, we felt the need to share our diaper changing money saving ideas and experiences with you.  You see, we have been changing the bums of our little blessings for 10 years straight now…. no breaks. In fact, there were times that we had 2 in diapers and a short time period with 3 in diapers. I guess that is what happens when you have a tight age-span. Our 5 babies are 10, 9, 7, 5 and 2.5.  They are awesome, we wouldn’t change a thing – except the changing of the diapers.

We have always had a pretty smooth system.  Mommy was responsible for diapers during the work day and in the middle of the work week nights. Daddy took evenings before bed and weekends (even the middle of the night on weekends).  We always cheered the babies on when they had their big loads during the other parent’s changing shift! :)

Well, we started our “getting out of debt” journey when we were expecting our first.  Having a brand-new baby as a first-time parent will challenge anyone’s budget, but especially a couple who had $100,000 of consumer debt.

But we were ever so thankful for our children for our finances? Why?  Because it was the wake-up call that we needed to get out of debt.  It sounds weird, I know, but that is the total truth.

If we didn’t have kids when we did, our financial story may not have had the happy ending it has.  But our now 10-year old was the baby that saved us financially and since each child has been a bigger blessing and much less of a financial burden.

Today, as a family of 7, we live on much less than we did when it was the 2 of us.  We have very rich and full lives and are ever so thankful for the bountiful blessings children have given.

So….. you thought this article was about saving on diapers.  Well, I did too! But we just want everyone to know that although diapering is exhausting, gross, potentially expensive and irritating…… none of that compares to the blessing, joy, happiness and excitement that sacrificing a time of your life this very necessary task brings.  You quickly forget about the diapers.

But while you are in the middle of it, let’s talk about how to save on diapers.

The first thing to be stated is this:  In this day and age, there are no excuses as to why you cannot save money on diapers.

There are so many resources out there that are geared towards saving money quickly, easily and effortlessly.  We want to share those with you. Even if you save a dollar or two each week, over the lifetime of diapering your child, this could be hundreds saved.  And you can even save a lot more than $1 or $2 each week.

It is one necessity that you are guaranteed to save something each week!

Why is it necessary to save on diapers.  Well, if I didn’t express how $1-$2 can add up each week can save you hundreds clearly enough from my above statement, let’s try some math on for size! 

First up – the first scary truth. Just how many diapers will you or have your changed per child before they are potty-trained?

Here is a quick calculation to help. Please note the number of diapers per day is actually a bare minimum – imagine how much more the total probably will be!

  • 1-3 months old uses around 7 diapers a day for 92 days = 644 diapers
  • 4-5 month old uses around 6 diapers a day for 60 days = 360 diapers
  • 6-12 month old uses around 5 diapers a day for 182 days = 910 diapers
  • 12-24 month old uses around 4 diapers a day for 365 days = 1,460 diapers
  • 24 +months (the average girl is potty trained around 2-3 years and average boy around 3-4 years, so we are going to calculate up to 3 years) uses around 3 diapers a day for 365 days = 1,095 diapers

The grand total of diapering your child for 3 years: A WHOPPING 4,469 diapers!

Now remember that we stated these are low numbers – most parents actually use 30%, 60% or even double the amounts of the numbers above. But we didn’t want to scare you too badly.

So now let’s take that lovely 4,469 number and calculate the cost.  You might want to sit down for this news……..

We are going to calculate based on Walmart’s everyday low prices. Why?  Well, whether we all like it or not, Walmart does consistently have the lowest everyday prices – Target right behind them! So it is a good baseline for everyday prices.

After checking name-brand diapers, the average cost of size 3-4 (the most popular sizes and the size that the majority of your 4,469 diapers will be) are .25-.29 each.  The generic diapers in the 3-4 sizes average .18 each diaper.

  • 4,469 x 27.5 cents = $1229 for each child in name brand diapering.
  • 4,469 x 18  cents = $805 for each child in generic/store brand diapering.

So you may already be saying, or you are going to start saying… “there went that .25″ several times a day!  Most parents really hate to shell out the funds for the diapers, but they are one of the “necessary, but annoying” expenses of life. No matter how you choose to diaper – it is an expense that faces every parent.

Alex makes the joke that when the box states the diaper is for 14-20 lbs it really means that this is how much the diaper can hold before needing to be changed. We joke about it, but this is seriously how parents feel as they see their dollars in the trash everyday – they want to hang onto those dollars as long as possible.

Well, what if we could tell you that we consistently save 40% or more every time we buy diapers?  We have since the day our first was born.  Then as the years went on and diapers went in the trash, we got even more creative to save “loads” more diapers.  That is what we want to share with you now in an easy step-by-step process to save every time you buy diapers.

Step#1 – Understand the differences in brands, packaging and types of diapers. 

There are 2 main name-brands – Pampers and Huggies. We have put together a diaper size chart that shows each brand of diapers, type of diapers, package size, and the number of diapers in each pack.  Our assessment led us to name the average price of name brand diapers at 27.5 cents per diaper after factoring in average cost of each package and the number of diapers in it. 

This is the average cost if you were to purchase the name-brand diapers (Pampers, Huggies).  But what difference would generic/store-brand diapers make?  Generic/store-brand diapers run an average of 15-30% cheaper than name brand, so let’s assume about 30% discount = .18 each diaper.  

Luvs are a great “in-between” from the top name-brands to store-brand.  They are considered the “value” name brand.  We personally find them to be much better quality than generic brands without the hefty price of Pampers or Huggies. They run about an average of .20 each diaper.   The benefit of Luvs too, they have coupons (unlike generic which rarely to have coupons), so that makes them an even better value.

For an everyday further value, the bigger the package of diapers, whether Pampers, Huggies, Luvs and generic store brands – the cheaper the cost is per diaper.  This can vary significantly.  Up to .10 per diaper difference for the exact same diaper in the exact same size, but in a big box vs. the small bags.

Finally, both Pampers and Huggies and some store-brands, there are different “types” of diapers.

Huggies has their “best value” diaper called Snug and Dry.  Then they have what we call “specialty” diapers that are their Little Snugglers,Little Movers or even their Slip-Ons.  You will pay the same price (most of the time) for the jumbo bag of “Snug and Dry” and the jumbo bag of “Little Movers.”  BUT… check this out: Huggies Little Movers size 3 contain 31 diapers.  The Huggies Snug and Dry size 3 contain 36 diapers. Both of the packages are the same cost, but the Snug and Dry has 5 more diapers – that’s like a savings of $1.25 or more just by opting for the Snug and Dry option.

Pampers “value” is called Baby Dry and “specialty” are called Cruisers. Again, Pampers Baby Dry size 3 has 32 and Cruisers size 3 has 28 – 4 extra diapers in the Pampers Baby Dry for the same cost!

We personally have not seen any difference from the Pampers or Huggies “value” vs. “specialty” diapers.  It’s not worth the cost difference. The leakage protection seems to be the same with both.  Remember, we’ve changed tens of thousands of diapers :) 

Step #1 Summary- 

Luvs is the best every day option! You get the value of a generic brand, additional coupon savings occassinoally and the same protection as the name-brand.  Buy in bigger packaging options as this can save a significant amount of money! If you need to buy name-brand, go with the value options like Huggies Snug and Dry and Pampers Baby Dry.

Step #2 – Calculate and Know Your Price Point

Your price point may be different than ours. The price point depends on the size of diapers your child is wearing, the length of time your baby spends in each size, and whether you are brand specific. Your price point is what the cost of the diaper is if you were to go to the store now and buy it. You can calculate your price point by dividing the shelf cost by the number of diapers in the package.  For example, one of our families favorite diapers is Pampers Baby Dry. So to figure our price point, we use the diaper size chart and average the price per diaper for the big packs (these are the boxes of diapers). Currently the Big Packs (our 19 month old wears size 4) average at $19.49 and contain 82 diapers = 24 cents per diaper. $0.24 now becomes our price point. We want to beat the price of $0.24 when we buy diapers! Don’t ever buy diapers at the price point as you can usually easily beat it!

Step #3 – Look for Diaper Sales Each Week

In the 10 years that we have been buying diapers, there has been a sale somewhere every single week. Diaper sales are not rare.  They are one of the most common sales.  Whether at your local grocery store, Walgreens, Target, Kmart, CVS….. and the list goes one. Someone will have them on sale!

For many years, we used to provide a list of diaper deals at the national stores each week. It was a free service that we provided to our readers.  It took us many, many hours each week. Well, we stopped typing up the deals for you each week about 1-year ago.

Why?  Well, the method of providing this information has become antiquated.  With technology, there are many ways to now get this information and get it more accurately and quickly.  We have the printable lists for dozens of stores found on our site in our grocery shopping section HERE that will give you the current sales in your area, show you coupons and allow you to print the list.

The second easy way is to use the Favado app HERE. This has made millions of lives easier for thrifty grocery and household shopping.  We love it and fully endorse it. It’s free and so easy to use.  If you want to find diaper sales in your area very quickly – just pull up the Favado app on your phone, tablet, etc. and search diapers.  All brands, package sizes and sales will pop up. In less than 3 minutes, you will know the lowest prices for diapers in your area – nothing to print or write down too! You can even do this if you are out and about and realize you need diapers.  Favado also lets you know about coupons available in the newspaper or online as well.  Get the FAVADO app for free here or find out more information about it.

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Here’s an example of a Favado App diaper search.  The red paper clip also means that there are coupons to make the price listed even lower.  When you click on it, it will show you the coupons. 

Step #4. Know when to use those diaper coupons with the current diaper sales

Combining those coupons with the sales will help you maximize those savings and bring the price way under that of the generics. If you have the coupons, don’t hesitate to use them! Most all of the coupons for Huggies, Pampers and Luvs will be in the newspaper or online to print.  

Both of the printable shopping lists and the Favado app (whichever form you prefer to use!) lists the coupons available, so you don’t have to do the work!

If you do need to know of any coupons for diapers that are available right now, you can also search our coupon database HERE for the word “diapers” or “Huggies” or “Pampers” or “Luvs,” and any coupons for any of those will pop up!

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Here’s an example of the word “diaper” in the coupon database and as you can see, any coupons related to diapers pop-up! Refine your search for more specific needs! 

Step #5. Know When to Stock-Up

If we beat our price point of $0.24 a diaper, then we are doing decent. However, if you can stock up on diapers and beat your price point by a lot – the you are doing very well! A starting stock-up price is about 30% less than your price point. If you get to 30% off or more – it is time to stock-up.

    • If you end up hitting 50% off or more from your price point then RUN – don’t walk when it comes to stocking up!
    • Begin stocking-up when you are expecting. It can be a several month process to have enough stock to keep you going without having to buy diapers “spur-of-the-moment.” With our last baby, we stocked-up while I was pregnant with him. We were able to stock over 9 months worth of diapers before he was born – meaning that in his first few months of life already, we have only gone through less than 1/3 of the diaper stock we had from before he was born! Overall, this will have saved us hundreds of dollars even in his first year of life. We continue to stock-up of course.
  • Today – our family waits until we can get diapers for around .15 before stocking up! But we have a good supply from past sales and are often not in need of them.

Step #6. Know Which Sizes to Stock-Up 

This is a question that we are always asked: “How can I stock-up if I just don’t know what size my baby will need in several months?” Our answer – don’t necessarily stock up on newborn and size 1. Babies grow very fast and they grow out of these size diapers even faster! Plus, many diaper baby gifts are often in this size already. If you plan to stock-up, only have a handful of size 2 packages on hand. You are probably going to be pretty safe stocking up a lot of size 3 and size 4. Our kids seemed to stay in these two sizes of diapers forever! Our 2 year old started size 4 diapers nearly a year ago and he will probably be there until he is potty trained.

TIP: If you stock-up on a size that you end up not using all of, just attach a note to the package saying where you bought the package – nearly all stores, including the major national chains, will exchange an identical package of diapers for a different size. For example, if you had a size 2 Pampers Baby Dry package left that you purchased from Target – return the package to Target in exchange for a size 3 Pampers Baby Dry, etc.

Step #7 – Buy Diapers Online

Okay – throw out all of your ideas of shopping because this may come as a surprise to you! This is what we have done for the last 18 months. We buy diapers online now almost exclusively!

But we don’t just buy from any place….. but one place.  That place is Amazon.  Amazon actually has some of the best prices consistently anyway, so if you are not already buying your diapers on Amazon, here’s why you should normally.

Here are the three ways to save to make the prices so low every single day:

  • Amazon’s sale prices - Amazon’s biggest competitor is Walmart, therefore, Amazon matches Walmart’s prices.  And do you remember what we said about Walmart earlier? We stated how Walmart is the lowest everyday price.  Well, if you can get Walmart’s prices online – that alone is probably motivation enough to buy online.  BUT…. Amazon has 2 additional ways to save everyday, which makes the cost of diapers FAR BELOW Walmart!
  • Then the 20% discount for being an Amazon Mom’s member  and using Subscribe and Save (it’s free to join and anyone that takes care of kids can join, not just moms)
  • Then they almost always have ecoupons for great savings from $1 – $3 ecoupon
  • Shipping is FREE as an Amazon Mom’s member or if not, most all of the options will include free shipping too!

So those are the “normal ways” to get some rock bottom diaper prices and shop from home! We spend $25 every three months on diapers by doing this normally and combining with step #8!

This is the easiest, most consistent, no-brainer way to save on diapers (and wipes!) every day. Now you may know why we don’t bother catching the store sales :)

*Tip – the Club Size Boxes that Amazon sells are the same prices or even lower at times as Costco and Sam’s Club. Amazon is very, very competitive with these two big box stores on diapers and other club size packages on foods too! 

Step #8 – Consider a full-time or part-time cloth diapering

For many years, we were a full-time disposable diaper family.  I don’t like icky messes.  I liked cleaning it up and throwing it away! I am still that way. But,I decided to give cloth diapering a try.

It’s still not my favorite as there is more work and stink involved, but it is better for baby and better for the budget.

So, our family does “part-time” cloth diapering.  Perhaps one day I will dive into it full-time, but this works very well for us.

How does part-time cloth diapering work?  Well, I am sure it will look different for each family, but here’s what we do: when we are at home during the day, we try to use cloth diapers.   When we are out or at night, we use disposable diapers.  This cut down half of our disposable diaper usage.

I love part-time cloth diapering because we cut down half of our disposable diaper usage at our .15 per diaper price point adds up to big savings.  But, when it counts, I still get the convenience and ease of disposable diapers. It’s like the best of both worlds!

We have $20 a month budgeted for diapers per month, but because of cloth diapering and what we just shared in step #7, we don’t even spend close to that!

Honestly, we get the Amazon Subscribe and Save giant box of Luvs at a percent of savings and we only have to get them about every 3 months.  I haven’t bought diapers in the store for months for this reason and we are spending a significant less amount of money on diapers.

Now don’t forget that there is an initial investment in cloth diapers.  Depending on the type, you can spend anywhere from $4-$12 per diaper on average (many styles will also be in the $20′s per diaper!) when you figure in the cost of the cloth diaper, the cover and pins.  We caught a great online cloth diaper sale a long time ago that included the washable liner, diaper and cover with the buttons.  We don’t have to fuss with pins. There are hundreds of options.  So if you are committed to trying to make cloth diapering work, then this is a smart way to go! See our post on Cloth Diapering 101 HERE for more cloth diapering tips!

If you remember and apply each of these tips you will be on your way to saving some good money. With all considerations, you can easily diaper your child for 40% less! That means a savings of $400-$700 per child! Now considering that we have five children thus far, that means we’ve saved over $3,900 using these simple tips!

Think about your savings over the 3 years with one child…two children….three children etc. Step back a moment, consider what you could do with that kind of money, and get to it!  You could actually enjoy diapering your child.  Ok, we won’t take it that far, but we promise you’ll enjoy saving all that money!

What tips/comments/suggestions do you have? Leave a comment below and tell us!

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Alex & Cassie
 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

D. Kunkel January 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Hi thrifty couple!

I have enjoyed your facebook posts for a while now. I’m not sure how I first was introduced to you, but you have some great ideas.

Recently, I checked into your post about saving money on diapers. Wow, I wish I had some of that info. available when I was diapering my own babies! But that was eons ago. ;-) My interest now is in helping our son and his wife who just had their first baby. They also are in the process of purchasing their first home. He is a school teacher and she is a stay-at-home mom at present, so they can really use any help with savings that they can get.

One question I have regards Favado. Does that work with iphone4? Can I just get it on my computer? I am not very familiar with using apps on my phone, but work better with my computer.

Also, I took a look at the coupon database, but found that it had 3,000 grocery entries to wade through, so it looks like it would take a long time to look through it just to see if there might be any diaper coupons they could use. I went to your list of grocery shopping coupons. I clicked on TX-WalMart. But with that list I found the same problem – - Is there a way to find just the DIAPER coupons that are available in a certain location?

I would really like to use this information to help out with diaper savings for our son and his new little family!
Thanks for any help you can give!
Deb K.

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Abby February 19, 2014 at 6:20 am

I am in the process of the 3 month trial of amazon mom. Now my head is throbbing from trying to make this work. I was under the impression you get to try amazon mom for three months then after that you have to pay for amazon prime to continue. Is that incorrect? If that is right is it still worth it? Also do you only subscribe to get diapers or do you use it for other things as well?

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Carmen March 29, 2014 at 4:02 pm

I simply DO NOT understand why everyone quit using cloth diapers. I raised 3 and used cloth on all of them. They did not suffer from it and it was not difficult. I didn’t have the fancy ones that are made today. Simple cloth diapers, diaper pins, and plastic pants (or not). I could fill the washer with water to soak, then spin them out when ready to wash. Wash in hot water and detergent, give an extra rinse, and hang to dry. Easy Peasy and CHEAP!

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Jamie Agnew April 16, 2014 at 9:27 am

Cloth diaper! You save way more. We have 3 kids, 2 in cloth. We did not have to buy anything additional for the third diapers wise. We probable spent a few hundred dollars and could have easily cut that in half. So 300 for 18 months of diapers, not too bad. It’s easy once you get into a routine.

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