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Babies are not cheap. As our baby's due date approaches, we're becoming more and more aware of the financial costs of our new family member. As we're preparing, I've been asking family and friends for their advice and their opinions on what we need to get ready.
The one item that kept getting mentioned to us is diapers. Every parent I spoke to told us that we'll be surprised at how many diapers we'll be going through and how much it will cost us. How much money are we talking about? The Bump has these estimates when it comes to diapers:
Newborn babies use an average of 75 diapers per week and up to 320 diapers per month. At about $.25 per diaper, that adds up over the year. Tack on two boxes of wipes per month ($3 each), and baby soap, lotion, powder, oil, and diaper rash ointment (about $14 month) and you have an additional $240 per year. Cloth diapers will save you money, if you plan to do the laundering, however using a diaper service costs about the same as disposable diapers.
For our sake and for others, I decided to looking into this further and see if its possible to find a way to get diapers at a discount.
The good news is that parents do have choices when it comes to picking their diapering method. As far as I could see it boils down to three options for parents:
- Disposables: A popular choice for families that I've seen around. It can quickly add up and their environmental effects of the diapers in landfills bothers some parents.
- Cloth Diapers: More and more people are looking at this option not only for environmental reasons, but also to keep costs in check.
- Diapering Service: This option is supposed to allow parents the best of both worlds – reusable diapers that are cleaned outside the home.
Some parents have decided to mix it, but many still choose one method and stick with it for the most part.
According to the estimates, parents can expect to pay around $72/month ($864/year) for the baby's first year with disposables. While highly convenient for parents, it can quite a burden to keep forking over the money for more and more diapers.
Saving Money on Disposable Diapers
Shop in bulk. I've found that the cheapest option is getting your diapers in bulk for discount. If you're a warehouse club member, you can get some big savings, especially when you consider how quickly you'll go through them.
Join the a mailing list of your favorites brand. Baby Cheapskate shared how you can get some coupons simply by signing up as a member for one of the big disposable diaper companies:
This seems to be the most frugal option with an estimated $19/month ($228/year) in diaper costs. However you also have to consider the cost of cleaning the diapers yourself. There is also flushable diaper inserts which can help some parents move towards cloth diapers. You have to check to see if your toilet at home can handle them as I've read from other bloggers that may not always be the case.
Saving on Cloth Diapers
Ask around to find the right brand for you. With so many more options now, it pays to see what system fits your lifestyle. I also noticed that cloth diapers can be pricey or they can be fantastically cheap.
Shop in bulk. While you don't have to buy diapers as frequently as disposable, getting a big pack can be much cheaper than buying them in 2 packs.
Reuse. If you're looking to save significantly, there are sites like Diaper Swapper that allow parents to sell their gently used cloth diapers. Some parents may not feel comfortable, but it could be an option for others.
Do It Yourself. Unless you're skilled or have the time to make your own diapers, I'd pass on this. I saw some sites that offered instructions on how to do it, so if you want to I've included a link to one of them.
BabyCenter reports that it's about $76/month ($912/year) for parent to use a diapering service. Since prices can vary greatly according to where you live, please see how much it will cost you.
I don't have any tips on saving with diapering service. I would just recommend looking around at all of your options in your area. If you use a diapering service, please share your average costs. It could help other parents to figure out if it's a practical option for them.
Thoughts on Finding Diapers at a Discount
I've found that some parents have done variations of cloth and disposables based on their own baby's needs. While we're putting disposable diapers on the registry, we've haven't ruled out cloth diapers. I'd like to get your thoughts and opinions on how you handle diapering.
How many of you are already been through or are going through the diaper stage? What tips do you have for new parents trying to keep to a reasonable budget? Please share your costs and savings with diapering too. We could sure use the perspective!
Join In the Baby Expenses Series
Are you a parent or a parent to be with some helpful advice or stories? Please go ahead and join in on the fun, there are 4 ways you can be a part of it:
- Leave your tips in the comment section. I love reviewing thoughtful comments from readers. Some topics have several ‘right’ answers and I think sharing different view points can be helpful.
- Submit your stories for future posts. As you know, baby and expenses can cover a variety of topics. If you have a short story or some tips you want to share, please submit them. If you’re a blogger, please share your site’s address with the email so I can credit you if you want.
- Write a blog post about your experience. Please include a link in your bio for your site and if you have a relevant post on your site, please link to it in your post.
- Share you favorite posts with friends. If you have a favorite post, please share them with your friends who are expecting. I’ve included share buttons for Facebook and Twitter to make it easier and you can always email them your favorite posts as well. If you think it’s a great for them, please encourage your friends to sign up and receive updates through RSS or directly to their inbox. It’s free and an easy way for them to keep up with the latest posts on Couple Money.
If you're expecting or raising a newborn, I wish you and your family the best!
Photo Credit: Sellers Patton