Having a baby when experiencing lower income is a wonderful experience plagued with frustration. When I had my children, I was trying hard to improve my finances and still struggling to get something as simple as diapers. On average, it costs $70-$80 a month to provide disposable diapers for one baby. That can be a hefty expense for a lower income family. Fortunately, there are ways to make things simpler for yourself and ease your finances a little bit. Here are a few ways low-income families can get free diapers.
Having a baby can be expensive, especially when it comes to all of the diapers you need to buy. In the first few months after baby comes home, you might change the baby’s diapers 10 to 12 times a day! All of those diaper changes mean you’ll likely go through at least 2,000 diapers in the first year! Some people try to help offset that cost for new parents by giving diapers at the baby shower. One fun way to do that is to also make the diapers decorative. If you’re hosting a baby shower and want a fun but practical centerpiece, here’s how to make a diaper bouquet.
Making the bouquet is not that expensive. Plus, it’s practical and will be much appreciated by the mom to be.
Supplies for the Diaper Bouquet
To make the bouquet, you’ll need the following supplies:
- 12 Disposable Diapers,
- 12 Skewers,
- Rubber Bands
- A Glass Vase
- Ribbon for a Bow
You may also want the following additional supplies:
- Tissue Paper,
- Fabric such as a Receiving Blanket,
- Small Baby Supplies like Pacifiers, Rattles, Baby Mitts, etc.
How to Make a Diaper Bouquet
There are a few simple steps to make the bouquet:
Step One – Make the Diaper Flower
Take the diaper and roll it into a tube.
Step Two – Add the Diaper Stem
While still holding the diaper roll in your hand, gently insert a skewer in the center. Then, wrap a rubber band snuggly around the diaper roll, about one inch from the bottom where the skewer is inserted. Repeat the process until all diapers are on a skewer.
Step Three – Fill the Vase
Decide what you want at the bottom of the vase. Some people cover the outside of the vase with fabric (ideally a receiving blanket so the mom will also have that to reuse with baby) and a bow. Then they don’t have to fill the inside of the vase with anything since it isn’t visible.
Other people fill the inside of the vase with tulle.
Still others fill the inside of the vase with baby items the new mom will need like pacifiers, rattles, etc.
Another idea would be to use clean, small rocks, especially if the diaper bouquet will be used in a baby shower as the centerpiece and you want it to be stable. If you’re not sure which way you want to go, Etsy has plenty of sample bouquets you can get ideas from.
Step Four – Arrange the Diaper Flowers in the Vase
Put all of the skewered flowers carefully into the vase.
Step Five – Fill Out the Bouquet
Next, decide what you want to finish filling out the diaper flower bouquet. Some people buy fake flowers in either pink or blue, depending on the sex of the baby, to arrange among the diaper flowers. Some people also use fake greenery to add a pop of color.
Other people use tulle the color of the baby’s sex and weave it in and out of the diaper flowers to enlarge the diaper bouquet. The choice is yours.
Diaper bouquets are the perfect center piece for the tables at a baby shower. Not only are they adorable, but they’re also practical. The mom-to-be will love to have the pretty decorations as well as a stash of diapers when the new baby arrives.
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.
If I Let My Baby Run the Budget
We’d buy the grocery store’s entire milk supply, I’m quite sure, skipping all the other aisles.
Sleepwear would replace our normal attire. We’d quadruple our sock supply.
If I let my baby run the budget, diapers would line the walls (in infant and adult sizes…). Enough for five to seven changes a day, right?
Pillows and blankets would also see an uptick. There would most likely be a fresh set in every room (and vehicle). After all, she’d be budgeting for all of us to take one to three naps every day (not bad at all).
What Wouldn’t Show Up On the Budget
As I thought about all the things my baby would buy if it were up to her, I realized something. The list was far shorter and simpler than mine.
If I let my baby run the budget, there wouldn’t be a column for snacks, caffeine, or Hostess cupcakes. It’s sad, but true. There would eventually be an interest in fresh produce, namely bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes. I’m thinking a juicer would show up on the scene with some pretty rad smoothie cups for each of us.
No cable bill or RedBox late fees would pop up on our statement. Collectors wouldn’t rag us about our debts because we wouldn’t have credit cards. There wouldn’t be stacks of fast food receipts or empty Starbucks cups because we’d eat every meal at home.
In fact, very little would be spent on organized recreation at all. A baby’s favorite place to be is in the arms of the one she loves, after all.
We’d save a fortune on toys and gizmos, too, if I had to guess. Her favorite pastimes are chewing on table legs, plastic spoons, wooden blocks, and mommy’s fingers, so there wouldn’t be much need for anything else.
What gas we did buy for the car would be used for those milk runs I was telling you about and trips to her happiest home away from home: Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Lucky for her, grandparents love traveling to see their grandkids, so a barter agreement worked very well in her favor to save on gas.
If I let my baby run the budget, I bet I’d learn a thing or two about life through the eyes of my child. I bet I’d realize how expensive my expectations are for the type of life I think she should have. Contentment would stop eluding me. We would shut off our devices and look at each other, again.
If I let my baby run the budget, it could be the best thing that ever happened to us.
The only problem would come if we ever decided to have another baby…I’m guessing she wouldn’t be too keen on changing her spending habits to move over for baby brother…
If you let your child run the budget, how different do you think your finances would look?
If you’re a new parent, hearing that babies are expensive is no surprise. Seriously, who knew a little newborn could go through so many diapers in 24 hours! Sometimes, you know more than change the baby and the diaper needs to be changed again.
However, diapers aren’t the only supplies babies run through. They grow so quickly that an outfit that fits great one day can literally be too tight just a few days later. My son was a big baby who went through new sizes every 6 weeks until he finally settled into 12-18 month for awhile. Keeping up with their clothing needs can be expensive. Let’s not even talk about formula and baby pictures.
If you know what I’m talking about, you’re likely looking for ways to cut corners without compromising on quality. One great way to do that, especially if you’re an avid online shopper, is CouponChief.
How CouponChief Works
You’ve likely seen that online retailers have a box for promo codes when you check out, and you likely know that there are sites online that will share online promo codes. CouponChief works the same way, with a few differences.
CouponChief shares the promo code, but then you can read other people’s comments about the code and also see how frequently the code works. Best of all, unlike some other sites, CouponChief removes the code when it’s expired, which makes your search more productive and less time consuming. (And anything that helps save time when you have an infant is welcome!)
Even better, you can create a profile and then save your favorite searches. For instance, let’s say you want to see all the promo codes related to the “baby” category. CouponChief will e-mail you every time there is a new code for anything from diapers, to baby clothes, to portrait studio packages. You don’t need to keep checking the site; they send the information to you.
Make Money with CouponChief
Not only will CouponChief save you money, but it may also be able to make you some money. If you’re good at tracking down coupon codes, share it on CouponChief, and you’ll earn 2% of the purchase total that others make using your coupon code. You can earn up to $25 a month, per coupon.
How sweet is that?
Kids are expensive, but if you learn some tricks such as using promo codes to save money and sharing coupon codes to make money, having children becomes just a bit more affordable.
Fisher-Price is looking for the next great dirty diaper disposal system. Could you be the person to invent it? They want you to put yourself in your own shoes and envision the best diaper disposal system that you can think of. The main catch, they have to be able to make the product and sell it in WalMart for $30 – $60.
The chosen design will get a minimum of $2500 upfront + a percentage of sales for 20 years or a buyout. That’s a pretty sweet deal if you are good at coming up with ideas. But act fast, the deadline is Monday, August 1st at Midnight. You can check out all the details at Edison Nation.
Have you ever invented anything? Do you think you have it take to win this contest?
Funnily enough, 2010 seemed to be the year of the babies. I have so many friends who welcomed their bundles of joy last year and so many who got pregnant and are expecting this year. It really is beautiful to see the beginnings of a life, to see the joy in the parent’s faces, and to see all my new mommy-to-be girlfriends fret over all the baby things they think they need. This is especially true (and fun to watch) with my friends who are going to be first time mom’s.
I remember very well what I thought I needed when I was pregnant with my first child. I remember it was a few months in chaos listing all the things magazines and sites were telling me I needed. And, being the anal person that I am, I got MOST of these items. Only to find out later that I didn’t really need half of them. Good thing was I was able to use them for my second child. Wonderful how some baby things just don’t go out of style.
Anyway, I thought about doing a list of things you really need after you find out you are expecting and a basic time chart for when to get them. It might be helpful for all the first time mom’s out there.
6 months before D-Day:
By this time, I think it is OK to start getting the big stuff. This is because you will have had enough time to save up for them and because you will still have enough time to pay them off should you decide to get these on installment.
OK, you can choose whatever crib you want here but I personally think that if you have no baby cabinets yet, then get the ones with the drawers and the ones with the bed that can take the baby into the growing years. There are some cribs that are cute and may fit a little nook in your room, but for practicality and for budget’s sake, these are not the smartest choices.
2. Stroller/Car Seat/Bassinet
OK, there are sooo many choices in the market today and some ranging from the reasonably expensive to the outrageously expensive. The things I would say to look out for are the material of the stroller and car seat, the quality of the belt and the fasteners, the padding around the bars, the size and quality of the wheels and the shocks of the stroller. Any brand that presents above average standards for all these is a thumb’s up for me.
4. Bottles and sterilizer
Now, if there were many crib and stroller choices, there are even more bottle choices. And the manufacturers have made these bottles so complicated that it almost feels like you need a degree to choose the right one! The rules I followed were two things: that they were designed to produce a non-colicky baby, and that they were made from material that does not leach BPA or bisephenol, which is a harmful byproduct of plastic that can go onto the liquid in the bottle if it is heated above 175F. The thing is a lot of the really cute and popular bottles use Polycarbonate plastic despite this fact because it is lightweight to bring around and for the baby to hold and offers flexibility in design of nipples and bottle. But there are a lot of bottles made from safer and greener plastic that are just as pretty. It really is personal choice here.
3 months to go:
1. Bedsheets, clothes, blankets
I cannot stress how many of these you will think you need in the first two months after the baby is born. You will want sheet replacements in case you need to change the sheets, and change you will need to do often. You will want clothes that can come off and go on the baby as easily as possible and these usually are the ones that you tie up front. For tropical countries, it is important to have cotton clothes to keep the baby cool and it is essential to have changes of clothing to keep the baby clean and fresh. I has a set of 6 tops that you tie in front, 6 that you button on the shoulder, and 6 wide neck ones. I used them all. Blankets and towels are equally important as they cover the baby, keep the baby warm, and is what the baby will be wrapped in for chnks of hours over the day. I had 6 of these although I know of others who had a dozen to be safe.
2. Washing/changing station
If you are old fashioned like me, you will do with a regular tub with a dipper in the bathroom. If you are more mod, you may want to use a changing table that can convert into a washbasin. This is entirely a personal choice.
3. Breast pump
Now, if you do not intend to breastfeed, this is a moot point. But, if you do, finding a good pump will be a lifesaver. Like most things, a pump has a price range. I didn’t try all but I have tried a few to be able to make some kind of recommendation. I’ve also thrown in comments from friends for good measure.
- Medela- This range of breast pumps is, as far as I’ve heard, the Ferrari of breast pumps. It is strong but not painful and really gets the milk out. Plus it has some sort of suction imitation thing that keeps breast milk in production even if the baby is not breastfeeding from the breast all the time. This is pricey though.
- Avent- very very well known for quality bottles and pumps, I had the opportunity to use the manual breast pump. It was very good. No need for an electric pump at all. It was virtually painless to use, had good suction, and was easy enough to use for a few hours straight. The only thing I found a bit off putting was that it was rather large to use and hold (for me at least) but this really depends on the woman’s grip and hand size. I would recommend this breast pump if your budget allows as this is also a bit on the pricey side.
- Pigeon- this is the more budget friendly brand and I was able to use the manual and electric varieties. The manual one was great. It was small enough so it was not cumbersome, the pump was soft enough to use for a few hours straight, it was virtually painless as well. I would definitely recommend this pump. I used the electric one as well because i thought i could get a lot of milk minus the manual pumping. It was very painful. I stopped using it after two tries. I do not recommend this at all.
You will need to change the baby around eight times a day in the beginning and will only taper off when the baby is well withing the first year so stocking up early is not a bad idea. Diapers do not have an expiration date but they do have sizes so stock up on some newborn diapers and small ones first. Research on how often you need to change the baby and how fat they grow on average to get a rough computation of how many pieces you might need. If you want to use cloth diapers, you will need about 2-3 dozen of the small to medium ones first. You will need some baby friendly soap and a good washing machine and dryer as well. Have a basin with some water mixed with detergent handy so you can soak soiled diapers immediately. This makes them easier to wash and prevents staining.
5. Diaper bag
You can have two to three of these ion different sizes. You will need a variety as the amount of things you will bring around will change depending on where you are headed. make sure to have bottle holders, a changing mat, other dividers and an insulated area. It would be great to have an outside or other pocket for your personal things so you don’t have to carry a handbag but this is optional.
These are the most basic things you will need to have before you welcome your new baby. Of course, there is a whole novel full of other things you will want to have but those you can stress less about. Having these basics will at least get you through the first couple of weeks.
What are your favorite tools for caring for your baby?
One of the most exciting things about having a new baby is preparing for their arrival. Suddenly, you have to prepare your home, as well as yourself and for family, for an extra person. The best tool that new parents have at their disposal is the baby registry.
Whether you have been looking forward to this moment since childhood or find it a tacky practice, a baby registry is an excellent way to get the things you need. People want to give you gifts, whether you like it or not. Think of a baby registry as if all the people who will buy you gifts got together and decided to get things that matched, things you wanted, and just enough of what you need.
A baby registry can be a lot of fun, but if you fill it with impractical things, you will get less of what you actually need. Here are some tips to make the most of your baby registry:
Figure out what you’ll actually need
There are lots of adorable and completely impractical things for sale in the baby aisle. These are things that you and your partner can buy the baby yourselves.
You will need a place for the baby to sleep, for example. Don’t forget crib sheets and bumper sets. You will also need a car seat (you often can’t leave the hospital without one) and a safe place to set down your baby during the day.
Only register for the bare minimum. Some people will not buy off of your registry. Those people will buy you clothes. If you register for as many clothes as you’ll actually need, you’ll end up with a lot more than you need.
This includes wipes, diaper cream and other diapering aides. Decide on a brand, and register for a couple bags of each size.
Whether you plan to breast feed or to bottle feed, you will need some stuff. Bottles, nipples and formula are basic for bottle-feeding, and breast feedings moms might need a pump and storage containers.
Start Researching Early
You’ll want to have your baby shower a month or longer before you are due. You’ll want to give your guests at least four weeks to buy a gift. And it might take you a month to decide on all the brands you want. So you should start this process as early into your pregnancy as possible.
When deciding on what store to register at, there are several things to keep in mind. You want a store that is accessible not only to you but to your loved ones as well. Online shopping is handy as well. A large chain store might be your best bet if your family is spread out.
Talk to Other People
Ask for suggestions
A pregnant woman is inundated with “helpful” tips by nearly every other woman on the planet. It becomes hard to keep track of who suggested what, but try to steer these conversations towards what you should register for. Fellow moms will help you remember the little things that you might not realize you need: like a bottle brush or gas relief medication.
The whole purpose of having a registry is to tell people what you need for the baby. So you have to make sure you tell the people where it is! Have family and friends spread the word for you, post it on social media networks, and add the information to your baby shower invites.
Although disposable diapers have been popular for a long time, the traditional cloth diaper method is making a come-back by new parents concerned with a reasonable diaper budget or a green lifestyle. Cloth diapers are generally assumed to be the less expensive method and environmentally friendly option, this is debatable. Let’s take a look at the specifics.
Pricing on Diapers
When it comes to the baby budget, it seems that cloth diapers win out. Disposable diapers run in the range of $50 to $80 a month. Disposable diapers are thrown away after use, so they need to be bought again and again. Using cloth diapers runs about $25 to $60 a month, if you choose to launder at home. The initial investment is a little more costly: quality cloth diapers cost around $15 a piece. Babies need a fresh diaper 6 to 10 times a day, so in order to get through two days of diapers you might need to spend $300 initially. After that, you need to consider the cost of the water to run the washing machine, the laundry soap, dryer sheets, etc.
There is another option with cloth diapers: diaper service. A diaper service is a company that collects, washes, and returns your cloth diapers. This is a great tool for busy moms who want to use cloth diapers for other reasons, but don’t have the time or ability to wash cloth diapers at home. There is also a certain “ick” factor about washing your own cloth diapers that some moms want to avoid. The diaper service runs about $50 to $80 a month as well.
Clearly, washing cloth diapers in the home is the least costly option. But it is also worth considering how much your time is worth. As a new parent, you already have a great time of work to do. Is it worth another $25 a month to avoid the extra work that washing your own cloth diapers bring? If you’re answer is yes, then disposable diapers may be the wiser choice after all.
On The Environment
As far as the environment is concerned: at first glance, cloth diapers seem to be the winner. Obviously disposable diapers go to landfills, and don’t decompose easily. Cloth diapers are reusable. The water used washing them goes to waste treatment facilities instead of landfills. Disposable diaper waste sitting in a landfill could get into our ground water, contaminating it.
But the argument has been made that diaper services negate the environmental benefits of a cloth diaper. A diaper service has to pick up the diapers, wash them en masse, and take them back to the user. The chemicals used to clean the diapers, the carbon emissions from the truck, and the contaminated water, some say, make cloth diapers less earth-friendly. But if we want to look that closely at disposable diapers, we would also have to include the factory pollution from where they are made, the carbon emissions from supply trucks all over the country to put the diapers on shelves, and the disposable wipes that are often used hand in hand with disposable diapers.
While there does seem to be a reasonable argument both ways, it seems that cloth diapers are not only a better financial investment, but a better investment for the environment as well. I know that I personally wouldn’t have had the time or patience to really make cloth diapers more affordable. I paid for the convenience of disposable diapers, at the cost of the environment.
Which do you prefer?