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This week for the Baby Expense Series, two guest posts are tackling the big costs of raising your baby. Today Jesse shares his take on handling diapers. If you have any suggestions, please leave your tips on the comments.
First off, congrats on the upcoming baby Elle!
That’s such an exciting and amazing time in a family. We just had our third and while it doesn’t get any easier, it only gets more rewarding with each one. It’s such a wonder how your love can continue to grow with each new family member.
Now, after the baby comes, there is a lot of stuff that you have to start doing. The first being the doctors appointments that are surprisingly frequent. You see, the doctor wants to monitor the baby early in her growth to make sure she is growing at the proper rate and to catch any problems early. The baby is in such a fragile state at this time, even the slightest problem could become anything but slight, very quickly.
One thing they’ll ask you at the doctors is how often your little bundle of joy…poops. Yep, that’s a medical term, poop. And at our last such appointment, my wife answered the doctor; 12 or so times a day.
What the?…I was shocked. This is our first boy and I guess that may be why, but that is far more poopy diapers than our first two kids who seem to be the exception. Most babies really do poop or need a diaper change for one reason or another ten to twenty times a day! That’s pretty crazy, and if you think about it, pretty expensive. Diapers are not cheap!!
So, I’m here to share some tips on keeping diaper costs down.
Ah, the old standby. The cloth diaper has been around for ages. It's made of cloth and thus reusable. The baby poops in it and you wash it. It can’t be much simpler than that.
My only problem with the cloth diaper is that it’s inconvenient, messier than a disposable diaper and just not practical. If you can manage using cloth diapers, they will be your biggest cost saver in parenthood but in case you want a more practical option, read on. Who cares about the landfills nowadays anyway, right? 🙂
Coupons and Discounts
As a new parent, my wife and I were pretty silly about things like diapers. We instantly went for the brands we knew from TV commercials, the brands that told us they wouldn’t leak and would keep our baby drier longer. We’ll get to how silly this is in the next section, but if we didn’t look for coupons and discounts at this stage, we probably wouldn't have been able to afford a second child!
Parents and baby products are a huge market and we discovered that every news circular we found had a coupon for baby wipes and diapers. Each coupon was $1 off or so, but many of them were manufacture coupons and stackable, meaning we could use multiple coupons together. That saved us a bundle and all we had to do was open our eyes.
Another way to get discounts on diapers is go to places you wouldn’t expect to even sell diapers or baby products like CVS, Walgreens and even Target. It seems more people than you’d expect don’t realize these places carry diapers, so they go on huge discounts every once in a while. My sister-in-law recently got 1,200 diapers for $200 which is nearly half price, at Walgreens in a weekend diaper sale.
The reason I say we were silly new parents for buying name brands is because even in the baby product world, generics exist.
In a lot of cases, generics meet or surpass my expectations of products. Diapers are no different. We have used generic diapers with all of our kids. Sure, they leak sometimes and there is a little mess to clean up or outfit to change, but guess what? We’ve used the name brand diapers too.
We have also found that some diaper brands fit different babies in different ways. Different brands leaked more than others, but on our next kid it was just the opposite. Just like one pair of jeans will fit your friend differently than it does you, you should try all of your diaper options and see which one you like best and which one keeps your baby dry.
Subscribe and Save
And here’s a tip for the geeks out there who buy everything online. Amazon.com has a new program called Subscribe and Save that can save you heaps on diapers (and other products you buy on a regular basis). Essentially, you can set up a purchase schedule on Amazon and they will automatically ship your purchase on a schedule. You can set this up to ship as frequently as every month, or infrequently as every six months.
The beauty of the subscribe and save, aside from having what you need delivered to your door when you need it, is that Amazon offers you up to a 30% discount on products that you use the Subscribe and Save program for.
Using Subscribe and Save for diapers can save you loads during the first year or two of your kids life.
Babies bring so much joy to life, I mean, what’s cuter than a baby? Not much! But the cost of becoming a new parent can be scary. Using these tips can help make the cost of becoming a new parent manageable and let you enjoy every minute of it.
Jesse Michelsen is a father of three who founded Personal Finance Firewall, a site dedicated to managing money well so you don't have to worry about it when life happens. He is also the Community Manager for Money Crashers and can always be found on Twitter.
Image by paparutzi