You might have seen those scary numbers that tell you the cost to raise a child is over $200,000 from the time of birth until the age of 18. While there are plenty of ways to cut costs when raising your children, there’s one expense that hits you as soon as your child is born—the cost of diapers. We had two kids in diapers for 1.5 years, and I remember being so glad when they were potty trained as we got a large chunk of our budget back. While there’s no way to avoid this expense, there people do learn how to save hundreds on diapers.
How to Save Hundreds on Diapers
There are many techniques you can use to save, but you’ll save even more if you put several of the strategies together.
Use Cloth Diapers
The best way to save is to use cloth diapers. Most people dismiss this idea because cloth diapers aren’t allowed at daycare. If that’s the case, use cloth diapers at home and buy disposable for daycare. You’ll still see significant savings this way.
Buy Cloth Diapers on eBay
I cloth diapered my son almost exclusively. I bought several lots of used cloth diapers on eBay with mixed results. I ended up with some very nice diapers, but I also ended up with some worn out diapers that I couldn’t use.
Do Your Research First
If you’re going the eBay route, first research which diapers you’d like to use. (There are so many brands of cloth diapers with so many different features. Cloth diapering is not like it was 30 years ago!)
If you buy new, your diapers will likely last through several of your children.
If you buy used, check the quality description carefully. You don’t want to end up with diapers that have very little life left.
How to Save on Disposable Diapers
There are quite a few strategies to save money on disposable diapers. Use as many as you can to save even more.
Buy Off Brand Diapers If You Can
Of course, the biggest diaper brands, Huggies and Pampers, cost the most. However, there are many off brand diapers that are much cheaper than the big brands. Look for Target Up and Up diapers, Walmart’s White Cloud diapers, or Luvs. Likewise, Walgreen’s and CVS each have their own house brand of diapers that are cheaper, too.
Use Amazon Subscribe & Save
If you have an Amazon Prime account, make sure to use subscribe & save. When you go to put the diapers in your cart, you’ll see an option to make a one-time purchase or to make the item subscribe & save. Thanks to Amazon Family, when you choose subscribe & save, you save 20% off your diaper purchase every time. You just have to make sure you have five or more products on auto-delivery at the same time to the same address. (FYI, baby food is also included in the eligible products list, so you can save there, too.)
There are many, many coupons for diapers. You can check out Coupons.com, Ibotta, or Checkout 51 for diaper coupons. You can also email the company and sign up for their email. (Luvs is known to be especially generous with their coupons when you sign up for their mailing list.) Even Costco and Amazon have coupons for their diapers occasionally.
A Covert Way to Save
Diaper packages generally have a size range. For instance, Huggies Snug & Dry size 2 one-month supply has 222 diapers in a box and fit babies weighing 12 to 18 pounds. Size 3 of the same has 200 diapers and fits babies 16 to 28 pounds. Some moms save money by keeping their child in the smaller size diaper as long as they can because you get more diapers per purchase in the smaller size.
You’ll know it’s time to move up to the bigger diaper size when your baby has frequent leaks or blow outs.
Build a Diaper Stash
Another option is to build a diaper stash before baby is born and when you can find diapers at a great price.
Some women ask each person attending their baby shower to bring a box of diapers or wipes. Other women start stocking up the minute they find out they’re pregnant. (You can find quite a few good sales on diapers in nine month’s time and end up with a nice diaper stash.) If you’re not sure what sizes to buy, there’s a handy chart one mom created documenting how many diapers in each size her daughter used during her first year.
One caveat here—be careful building a diaper stash. I’m actually glad I never built a diaper stash. Why? All my kids were born over nine pounds and didn’t even fit in the newborn size diapers. Second, one of my children had very chunky legs, so Pampers’ slimmer cut didn’t fit her well. We had to keep her in Huggies. If I would have stocked up on Pampers, I would have lost all of that money. Some babies are allergic to some diapers, so those can’t be used. For these reasons, I’d actually discourage new moms from building a diaper stash.
Buy in Bulk
If you can afford it, buying diapers in bulk is the way to go. The bigger the box you can afford, the less you pay per diaper. Costco is a great place to buy diapers if you don’t have an Amazon Prime account. Target also has sales for boxes of diapers where you buy a certain amount in diapers, say $100, and then you get a $25 gift card. This deal gives you a great incentive to buy in bulk. (Don’t forget to get and use the Target Red card to save 5% off your purchase.)
While diapers are expensive, there are strategies to learn how to save hundreds on diapers. Use some or most of these techniques and see how much you save. And remember, while diapers are a big expense temporarily, this expense will usually go away in three years. Then, it’s on to the next expense for you child.
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in Arizona where she dislikes the summer heat but loves the natural beauty of the area.