Diapers cost new parents about $70 a month, according to Baby Center. Due to inflation, the cost of infant and toddlers' apparel, which includes diapers, has risen 3% in the last six months, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The cost of and access to diapers have long been a source of stress for new parents. Almost 30% of the mothers surveyed in a 2013 Yale University study reported being in need of diapers. Those moms who reported a mental health need were more likely to report a diaper need.
Half of the 70 women polled in a 2020 study published in the American Sociological Review said they were more stressed about affording diapers than they were about being able to afford food, housing, or electricity.
But even with the recent rising cost of diapers, consumer experts say there are ways to save money on this essential. Here are three tips for saving money on diapers.
Store brand diapers are almost always cheaper than brand name, says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch. "I, personally, find that Walmart's Parents Choice pull-on diapers for my 2-year-old are just as good as the [Huggies] Pull-Ups brand at over $10 per box savings," she says.
Equally as important is to look at the price per unit, says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "You may see two packages from two different brands and automatically opt for the cheaper one, but on closer inspection, you could find that the more expensive one actually works out to be cheaper per diaper," she says.
At many stores you won't need to crunch the numbers yourself, she adds: "You shouldn't have to whip out your smartphone and do math to figure this out either — most stores should have the price breakdown right on the shelf tag."
Sales and coupons can sometimes be used together to boost your savings, Ramhold says. "Either one of these can help you save money on baby essentials like diapers and wipes, but you'll save even more if you combine the two."
If you're having trouble finding sales, check the manufacturer's website, she suggests.
However, many large retail chains will feature sales on baby products weekly. Target, for example, usually has diapers on sale, says Kristin McGrath, shopping expert and editor at RetailMeNot. "Target's weekly ad is a trusty standby for diaper deals," she says. "In fact, it almost always has an entire page dedicated to savings on baby necessities."
Buying in bulk will almost always net a lower price, Ramhold and Woroch say. "Since there are no expiration dates, you don't have to worry about them going bad," Woroch says.
However, remember that your baby will grow fast, so don't go overboard. "Younger babies have more growth spurts so you don't want to buy too many packages, otherwise you could get stuck with diapers that are too small and leak," she says.
You may not be able to use coupons if you buy diapers in bulk at a warehouse clubs, Ramhold says. But some warehouse stores like Costco and Sam's Club still have sales during which you can stock up.
Don't forget to see if your warehouse credit card offers rewards, Ramhold adds. "If you have a credit card to one of these warehouse clubs, they often have cash back as a perk, so by paying with that card and stocking up while the items are on sale, you'll find yourself saving a decent chunk of change."
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