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Are You Paying Too Much for Diapers?
When it comes time to do the weekly grocery shopping, we do two little things in my family that help reel in our overspending — we make a meal plan and we never head to the supermarket hungry. Shopping for diapers, it turns out, isn't too different, in that a little forethought goes a long way. You can trust me on this; I had two babies within a 17-month period. In fact, if I'd known then what I know now, I could have saved hundreds within the first year alone.
If you have a baby at home or one on the way, you'll want to pay attention here. I've pored over pages and pages of great diaper deals from the past year, picking up on trends and taking note of which retailers consistently offer the best prices on disposable diapers. What I found was quite a shock.
- Your baby will need close to 3,000 diapers in the first year.
- Average cost of diapers per month can be as low as $40 if you get a good deal, or $80 if you don't do your research.
- Diaper cost for the first year can be as low as $314, or as high as $900+. At Slickdeals you'll always find out where the best diaper deals are.
- Amazon consistently has the best diaper deals, but Target is a close second.
- Buying diapers in bulk at a warehouse club will often not get you the best deal.
How Many Diapers Will You Need?
Before we get to the cost, it's important to realize just how many diapers you'll be buying once your baby is born. According to parenting site New Kids-Center, the average baby goes through roughly 2,960 diapers in the first year. Of course, every baby is different and that number is just an estimate, but the sheer quantity of diapers needed is an eye-opener for many parents.
The price-per-diaper also varies widely depending on the brand, type, size and retailer, so if you don't do your homework, you can easily spend way more than you need to.
It's difficult to calculate the number of diapers babies go through after the first year since it depends on when they begin potty training. That's why we're sticking to the first 12 months. Here's a great diaper size chart for a few of the most popular brands that can come in handy when planning your next big diaper purchase.
Diaper Prices Vary Widely
As a starting point, here's a snapshot of prices on Pampers Swaddlers as of January 2017 (these do NOT include past Frontpage deals, we'll get to that further down in the article). If you bought this popular brand for the first year, you'd save close to $500 if you bought through Amazon Family versus Walgreens. That number could obviously fluctuate depending on how quickly your baby outgrows each size. For example, you might not need a lot of newborn-sized diapers, or any at all, depending on how much your baby weighs when she's born and how quickly she grows.
Amazon Family offers the biggest savings here due to the 20% discount on all diaper subscriptions for Prime members. Throw in the free two-day shipping and this is a game changer for busy parents. Of course, you'll have to shell out the $99 annual Prime fee. If the perks of Prime make sense for you, though, then it's definitely a good deal.
You may be wondering whether you can get better prices if you stick to store brands or if you buy in bulk. It depends. With our two girls, we stuck strictly to buying Huggies in bulk at Costco. But my latest research shows that these cost anywhere from $0.20 to $0.36 per diaper across all sizes. The Costco Kirkland diapers brand is a little less steep ($0.17 to $0.32), but still more than what I'd pay today for Pampers Swaddlers at Amazon, Walmart or Target.
What's a Slick Price for Diapers?
If you're looking for a quick way to determine whether you're getting a great deal on diapers, we've put together a list of unit pricing for all diaper sizes based on Frontpage deals from 2016. To see if your deal stacks up, divide the price by the number of diapers in the pack and compare it to the list below.
- Size 1: $0.08-$0.10/diaper ($0.09 on average)
- Size 2: $0.07-$0.12/diaper ($0.09 on average)
- Size 3: $0.07-$0.14/diaper ($0.10 on average)
- Size 4: $0.09-$0.17/diaper ($0.12 on average)
- Size 5: $0.10-$0.16/diaper ($0.14 on average)
- Size 6: $0.13-$0.21/diaper ($0.17 on average)
Can you find cheaper diapers than this? Absolutely, but you're most likely sacrificing quality, which is a terrible compromise. Slickdealer COHusker said it best: "I feel like every new parent makes the mistake of buying the cheapest diapers they can find. But it is a mistake you only make once..."
If you purchased diapers for the first year using the average price points above, you'd save $654 compared to Walgreen's prices. Even if you bought them via Amazon Family/Subscribe & Save, you'd save an additional $172 if you waited for a slick deal to come along. And we should point out that diaper deals show up several times per month, so don't feel the need to buy too many at once (unless you can find them for less than $0.08/diaper). You don't want to get stuck with boxes of diapers you can't use because your child hit a growth spurt. If you prefer buying in bulk, size 2 and 3 are generally safer to order more of since you'll need a larger quantity of those compared to size 1.
Which Stores Offer the Best Diaper Deals?
The information in the first table reflects everyday prices, but after weeding through dozens of diaper deals that showed great additional bargains, two retailers stood out. While all stores have occasional sales on diapers, Amazon and Target seem to provide the most frequent deals, though they differ in their approaches.
Amazon Diaper Deals
Amazon frequently has diaper coupons and deals, like 45% off select Pampers or 55% off select Huggies, including Little Movers, Little Snugglers, and Snug & Dry. What I found consistently was that the best discounts go to Prime Family members. For example, this deal offered 30% off select Pampers for Prime members, but Prime Family members snagged an additional 20% off. One of the best deals I came across was this one: 50% off Babyganics Ultra Absorbent Diapers, which translated to as little as $0.08 per diaper.
Target Diaper Deals
Target does things a little differently, often offering up free gift cards with certain diaper purchases. This deal doled out $80 in Target gift cards for shoppers who bought eight boxes of select diapers at once. People saved more when they paid with their REDcard, which automatically takes an additional 5% off. They've also been known to throw in a $15 gift card for those who purchased select Pampers, or a $25 gift card to shoppers who spent $100 on select baby products. You can also opt for a Target baby subscription, which snags you 5% off plus free shipping; use your REDcard and you'll save another 5%.
Know Your Diaper Brand Rewards
Brand loyalty is another way to save money on diapers in the long run. Before my girls were potty trained, we were a Huggies family. Each pack we purchased came with a rewards code, which translated to Huggies points. After building up enough of them, we'd eventually cash them in for everything from gift cards to toys to formula.
Pampers has a similar program. They also have Pampers diaper coupons which will usually give you $1 off most of their diapers, such as the Pampers Swaddlers, Cruisers and Baby Dry. The Honest Company also offers savings on diapers when you bundle through their subscription service. The point here is that if a certain brand of diaper works best for your baby, it's worth checking whether the company offers incentives for brand loyalty.
We've covered a lot of territory here. Far and away, Amazon Family offers some pretty tough-to-beat prices. Since I personally do a lot of shopping via Amazon and Target, I'd probably use my REDcard and then mix and match deals on both platforms. This means I'd have to be flexible on brands, which I'm ok with. I used to be a hardcore Costco shopper for diapers and wipes, but I'd definitely do things differently if I had another baby.
If you're looking for diaper deals, do yourself a favor and bookmark our diapers deal page so you don't miss the latest savings. You can also set up a deal alert to have deals sent right to your inbox or phone.
Got any diaper money-saving tips of your own? Share them in the comments below!
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