Jo asked this question on the diaper deals roundup this week:
We are expecting our first in July and being new to this baby world, what do you consider a rock bottom price for wipes, and diapers by size? I want to stock up, but smartly because money is about to be REALLY tight. Any advice from “expert mommies” is welcome!
Congratulations, Jo! Babies are such a gift from God, poopy diapers and all! That’s my fifth in the image above; isn’t she adorable? Not that I’m biased or anything. ;) That picture was taken just a few minutes ago for those of you who have been looking for a baby update!
Just like anything else, what’s considered a “rock-bottom” price for wipes and diapers is not really that simple. There are a lot of things that factor into what your personal rock-bottom price would be, but I promise I’ll give you an idea of what to shoot for after I give you some tips that will help you stretch your diaper dollars as far as they can go.
Don’t buy too many of one size.
First, be careful when you are buying diapers well in advance of when your baby will need them. You don’t want to buy too many of one size, no matter how good of a deal they are, or they instantly become a bad deal.
Now, you can usually return diapers and exchange them for the next size up, even without a receipt, but that can be a hassle so I would advise understocking rather than overstocking. (And if you do overstock, there are plenty of places that would love to have them donated.)
How many diapers your child will need varies by child. My most recent baby was 8 lb, 10 oz at birth and wore newborn diapers for about the first two weeks. As is typical for many babies, she lost a little bit of weight while waiting for my milk to come in. So, in my experience (four 8 lb+ babies and one 7 lb), you’ll need size newborn diapers for at least a few days, We went through one jumbo package of Huggies Snug & Dry and then moved up to size ones. (I love the umbilical cord cutout that Huggies has in newborn size!)
I can’t really give you any advice as to how many diapers to expect to use for other sizes – it just depends on how fast your baby grows! With all my kids, it seemed like they were in size threes for the longest, so when I stock up, I tend to buy size threes. I’ve heard other moms say this as well – has it been true for all of you moms?
Beware the waste factor of big boxes.
At first, buying diapers at Costco or Sam’s seems like a good idea – they have good everyday prices, and there’s no coupons or fancy gift card deal to juggle. However, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard moms say that they have half a box of size such-and-such from Costco that their baby outgrew. All of the sudden, the cost-per-diaper went up 100%, and it wasn’t that great of a deal after all.
I think you can buy diapers in big packages at Costco or Sam’s and not end up wasting any, but you do have to be careful – not being able to use half of a $40 box of diapers is not very budget-friendly, and you can’t return them once they’re open.
Don’t stock up too much on brands you might not like.
This is kind of tricky, since, if you haven’t had a baby yet you won’t know which diapers you like or don’t like. And, don’t bother trying to get other mom’s opinions on which are the best diapers – there are as many opinions as there are moms and babies!
My sister-in-law likes Pampers because they seem to “fit” her baby best and found that Huggies leaked. I can’t stand Pampers; they get super squishy the minute they are even remotely wet and leak way sooner than Huggies. See – you can’t win!
And, even a mom that’s experienced in various diaper brands may not want to stock up too much. I used to like Pampers pretty well until they came out with that Baby Dry stuff a couple of years back, and since they I’ve avoided them like the plague. I used to love Pampers Swaddlers and then with my last baby, after they’d changed the design, I found that they leaked super fast, way faster than they used to!
Always use up the diapers.
The frugalista in me is proud to say that I don’t believe I have ever moved a kid up a diaper size without first finishing my stockpile of the smaller size first. Babies grow fast, but not that fast, so as long as you don’t buy boxes and boxes of one size, you can usually use up partially-open packages of the smaller size, even if it means changing the diaper a few extra times because it’s fuller.
Don’t be afraid of store brands.
Generally, I’m a Huggies fan, but if I can’t get a good deal on Huggies and the store brand is a lot cheaper, I’ll buy store brand. I really like the Walgreens brand and they are actually my second choice behind Huggies, and they often put them on sale so that they are around $5 a jumbo pack (usually a buy one, get one free sale), and sometimes they go even cheaper. I’ve heard that Costco’s brand is comparable to Huggies as well.
King Soopers’ Comforts for Baby and Parents Choice at Walmart are OK – not my favorite, but I haven’t had horrible experiences with them. Some of you have said that Albertsons brand is pretty good, too.
The price to shoot for.
OK, so you wanted a rock-bottom price. I’m almost there – just two things that you need to keep in mind: one, your personal rock-bottom price will depend on how brand-loyal you are and what brands you are loyal to. Huggies tend to go on sale much more often than Pampers, and Luvs almost never go on sale. If you’re brand-loyal to Luvs, you’ll pay more per diaper than if you’re loyal to Huggies.
Off the top of my head, this is how I would rank the on sale + a coupon price points diaper brands that I’m familiar with, from cheapest to most expensive: Walgreens, Huggies, Pampers, and Luvs.
That’s also how I would rank the frequency of the sales – Walgreens probably most often has sales on their brand of diapers, Luvs are the brand that go on sale least often.
Secondly, your rock-bottom diaper price will depend on how badly you need diapers. If you have nine months to stock up on diapers for your upcoming baby, you can afford to wait around for the best sales. If your baby is here and you’ve got just a couple of packages stored away, your price will be higher. You know how I say to wait to buy something until it’s on sale for the lowest price, and do without until it hits that price? That’s kind of hard to do with just a couple of things like diapers and toilet paper. :)
All right, here you go: a typical price for diapers is about $0.20-0.22/diaper. This is the price that you can get by walking into the store and picking up a box off the shelf at Sam’s or Costco, and you can typically get it with a $1 off coupon at just about any other store. So, I would not pay more than this for diapers.
If you are already actively diapering and don’t have much of a stockpile built up, I would consider $0.15 to be a “minor” stockup price. Here’s the deal: unless you have made extreme couponing your full-time job and spend 40 hours a week driving around time buying diapers, it’s almost impossible to stay on top of a diaper stockpile. (My guess is that most moms with a baby are like me and simply do not want to drag their children in and out of stores all week just to get the best deal on diapers.)
So, if you have a few extra packages of diapers but not too many, I would buy a few more when they hit $0.15/diaper.
When you can get diapers for about $0.11 or less, that’s when I’d stock up. We used to see this price a lot more often, but as with everything else, diaper prices have gone up and sales and coupon offers have gone down.
Where you’ll find the best diaper prices
Lately, I’ve found the best deals to be at Target, when you combine coupons with their gift card deals. Not all of their gift card deals are good prices, though, so be careful. Here’s an example of a recent deal at Target that was good enough that I did it a couple of times to get stocked up.
It’s actually been awhile since I’ve bought diapers at King Soopers, but I know that their regular shelf price for Huggies is around $9.50. Occasionally they’ll do an instant savings or catalina deal that works out to be a great price, but we haven’t seen that much as of late.
I can’t even remember the last time I went down the diaper aisle at Walmart, but as I recall, their every day prices on name-brand diapers are comparable with King Soopers.
As I mentioned above, Walgreens puts their store brand on sale fairly often – maybe once every month or two? The only problem I have with shopping at Walgreens is that they keep so little in stock that it’s hard to buy more than a couple of packages of the size you want.
Sometimes you will see great prices diapers on Amazon when you are part of Amazon Mom and subscribe and save. Amazon Mom has decreased their subscribe & save discount, though, so we aren’t seeing as many good deals there.
And, occasionally you’ll snag good deals at other sites, like Seventh Generation diapers for $6.58 from Vitacost or half-off at Diapers.com with a daily deal voucher.
Stock-up price for wipes
I would consider $0.02 per wipe a great deal, and anything less than that is definitely a stock-up price! I personally prefer Huggies wipes – especially when you have a little baby that makes messes that don’t really require a whole wipe to clean up. Huggies wipes are really easy to tear in two and I’ve never found another brand that I like. (Though I’ve definitely tolerated some off-brands when Huggies wipes weren’t on sale!)
I know that some moms make their own wipes and I’ve toyed with it, though the one time I attempted it years ago, they molded quickly so I would need to figure out how to get away from that. If any of you have successfully done it, I’d love to hear your tips!
What’s your expert diapering advice?
So I know some of you have to have opinions about diapers and wipes and stock-up prices and what’s a good brand and all that. Help your fellow readers out by sharing your tips and opinions – I can’t wait to hear!
See also: Baby Gear – What’s Really Necessary?