Most parents have one thing in common – sticker shock from the price of baby necessities. Namely, the price of formula, diapers and baby wipes.
Babies can literally go through cases of these items in a month. When you tally it all up for a month, you will be surprised that the amount you are spending on these items could equal to a monthly car payment. If you have multiple children that need all of these items, it can be as much as a rent on a home.
So what can moms and dads do to save some money? Luckily, there are simple ways to save a few hundred dollars (or several thousands annually) while still meeting all of your baby’s needs. You might have to do a little extra research and shopping around, but it can be worth it at the end of the month, when you still have enough cash left over to buy that cute outfit for your precious bundle.
The following are 18 ways on how you can start saving today:
Saving On Diapers And Wipes
Until the day when your baby is fully potty-trained, it will seem like all you ever think about is diapers. Wipes may play an even bigger part in your life – since you will use them for all sorts of messes in the first year or two of your child’s life. Before you cry over the price of another case of diapers, check out these tips on saving some cash:
1. Maximize Savings With Diaper And Wipe Coupons
Jump on the internet and find the website for your favorite diaper brand and baby wipes. You will find plenty of coupons and deals. Some brands even offer reward points that you can redeem later on for even more diapers.
Also check your newspaper, parenting magazines, and local stores for coupons. You save even more if you combine coupons and sales. If you aren’t picky about which type of diapers you use week-to-week, save coupons for all brands and use them whenever your store has a sale. This is also a smart way to build an “emergency” diapers stash for when your favorite brand runs low.
A good bar to set when you know you should stock up on a good deal is if you can get 30% or more off of the original price. 50% and you should buy as much as you can!
2. Store Brand Diapers And Wipes Are Just As Good
Most store brand diapers are just as good, if not better, than their more expensive counterparts. Many parents cut diaper prices by purchasing the cheapest diapers possible to use during the daytime at home, and saving the best diapers for bedtime or long car rides.
One thing to watch though, is how well the diapers perform for the cost. If they are cheaper per diaper, but you have to use three times per many, then they aren’t saving you any money in the long run.
Generic wipes are just as good as name-brands, and are often available in fragrance-free and hypoallergenic varieties too.
3. Use Amazon Mom
With an Amazon Mom membership you can save 20% off of diapers with their Subscribe & Save subscription. On top of those savings they also have an additional $1 to $3 e-coupons that goes out periodically. Shipping is always free as well. Because Walmart is Amazon’s biggest competitor Amazon will always match their prices. With the additional 20% off that is a huge savings! Amazon is also very competitive with club membership stores such as Costco and Sam’s club. Not only can you save on diapers with an Amazon Mom membership, if you join, you will also get a 15% baby registry discount as well. The first 30 days is free.
Other than Amazon Mom, another way Amazon can help you save is by offering discounted prices in their Warehouse on certain goods. You can buy diapers and wipes that are returns or that have damaged packaging for less than the regular price.
4. Join Huggies’ Enjoy The Ride Rewards
Every time you purchase a bag or box of diapers, they will come with a code that you can redeem online. You can rack up the points and with these points you can either save them to redeem in the gift catalog or you can use the points to be entered in games such as winning a free pack of diapers, a Starbucks gift card and even an Amazon gift card. You can also earn points by taking polls, watching videos or just entering codes that are shared on the Internet.
5. Have A Diaper And Beer Shower
These are fairly new parties that many new parents like to have. They are sometimes called Man Showers or even Diaper and Beer Showers. You can also throw this type of shower if this is your second or third baby. Diaper showers help parents prepare for the new arrival by having guests bring what they need most – diapers! All you need is some good barbeque food and some great beers and guests will arrive gifting the expecting parents diapers. This is a great way to start stocking up!
Want to know how to throw the ultimate diaper party? Check out this awesome site with a great checklist: http://www.ehow.com/how_5359200_throw-ultimate-diaper-party.html
6. Go With Cloth
If you are really looking for the best way to save money on diapering than cloth diaper is the way to go. Though cloth diapering is a bit more work, you can save about $60 to $80 a week. The upfront costs are a bit higher but these are items that you will use for quite a while. Plus, cloth diapers can be passed down from one child to the next, saving you money in the future as well.
Today, cloth diapers come in all sorts of colors and styles, and are just as easy to use as disposables. If you aren’t sure about them, you can buy sample packs or gently used cloth diapers for starters. Check out this website that will fully educate you on how to cloth diaper: http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2013/02/cloth-diapering-101/
If you still crave the convenience of throw-away diapers, you can use cloth at home, and disposables while out-and-about, cutting your diapering costs in half.
For parents who are low income, check out www.givingdiapersgivinghope.org. This organization is committed to help families’ alleviate the cost of diapering their children so that they can use their money towards other essential items. Giving Diapers, Giving hope is a non-profit organization that loans cloth diapers to low income families with only the cost of shipping.
7. Switch To Cloth Wipes
Diapers aren’t the only thing that come in cloth! You can buy cloth baby wipes from any cloth diapering site. You can even make your own by cutting soft flannel into small squares. If you re-purpose old flannel linens or clothes, then you will be able to have all the wipes you will ever need for free!
If you are worried about whether or not cloth diapers and wipes are clean enough, here are some tips for disinfecting cloth products: http://allaboutclothdiapers.com/simple-effective-ways-to-disinfect-cloth-diapers/
Video: How To Make And Re-use Baby Cloth Wipes
8. Home-Made Paper Wipes
If you still want to save money, but would like the convenience of disposable wipes, you can always try making a batch of home-made wipes. These are made from cheap paper towels, and cost as little as $0.01 each!
Here are some step-by-step instructions: http://www.southernsavers.com/2014/01/make-organic-baby-wipes-finished/
You can get wipes for a fraction of the price of store bought wipes. Even if you don’t like them for diapering, they are handy to have close for other messes, rather than using your pricier wipes.
9. Prevent Waste
Unlike diapers, wipes are harder to buy in bulk, because they can dry out before you use them. This is especially true of wipes sold in soft packs, which tend to dry out even if they remain sealed.
Rather than letting all that money go to waste, buy wipes sold in the hard containers if you are buying in bulk. If you buy soft packs (sometimes they are cheaper), save hard containers (or ask for some from other parents) and store the unopened soft packs inside until you are ready to use them.
If the wipes do get a little dry, you can easily reconstitute them by moistening them with a little warm water. This sounds logical, but I have seen many parents throw away whole boxes of wipes just because they became a bit dry!
Saving On Baby Formula
Babies have to feed. And they feed a lot. As they start taking more and more bottles, it can be painful to watch those cans of formula get emptier and emptier faster than before. Don’t worry though! The following are several ways to save on formula and stretch those baby dollars:
The simplest way to save on baby formula is by clipping coupons for your preferred brand. Coupons can be found in stores, in newspapers, or online at the manufacturer’s site.
If you know other formula feeding moms, you can set up a coupon pool or trade, where everyone saves coupons, then trades for the ones they need. If you are an expert couponer, then you may be able to save a lot by shopping at stores that offer double or triple coupon deals.
Some stores offer greater savings if the coupon is for their own brand. Many stores such as Target or Babies ‘R’ Us will have awesome promotions where if you buy two cans, bottles or boxes, they will reward you with additional gift card of $5-$10 dollars to shop with them again. Maximize your savings!
11. Be Willing To Try Generic Brand Formulas
Though there are minor differences such as whey ratios, taste and texture, all baby formulas must meet FDA requirements under the Infant Formula Act. The only difference between these formulas is really the label and the price. Therefore, store-brand formulas (off-brand, white label, generic) are just as good. If you are unsure, it is best to discuss formula preferences with your pediatrician.
12. Get Your Share Of The Samples!
Right when your baby is born many times there will be a good amount of samples of infant formula that is kept in the bassinet cabinets of your new baby. These are for you and feel free to take them all! You can also talk to your pediatrician and see if they have any samples they are looking to give away. They get loads and loads of samples so they are happy to give them out, just make sure they are not expired.
This also helps you to save money by allowing you to see which formula works best for your baby without you having to buy several expensive containers that you won’t be able to use.
13. Buy In Bulk
This method will save you money in the long run, but might not be easy if you are short on money. If you can afford to come out of pocket, you can buy formula by the case at different stores, or by ordering online from any place that sells wholesale baby products to the public.
One good online resource is eBay. Sometimes you can get great deals on bulk or even on one container of formula. These prices many times beat stores and will offer free shipping. Just be sure to check on the expiry dates and that you are buying from a reputed seller!
14. Skip The Fancy Stuff
Companies want you to believe that you need a lot of feeding accessories. While these products can make life a little more convenient, they can also make you spend money that you could be putting towards more necessary items like formula, diapers and wipes.
Some things you might want to skip include pricey bottles. Unless baby has a specific need for a designer bottle, aim for the cheapest bottle that they will accept. The difference in savings can be anywhere from $1 to $10 per bottle!
You can also skip the machines that “brew” perfect bottles and formula dispensers. Simply pre-measure your formula into your bottles and add water when needed.
15. Buy Powdered Formula
Stick with powder formula instead of liquid. Powdered versions of formula are always considerably a lot cheaper than premade kind. If you are traveling a lot, the pre-made formulas are very helpful and convenient, but if you are a stay at home mom, use powder. You will end up paying less per bottle.
16. Breastfeed Your Baby
If it is possible for you, then breastfeeding can definitely save you money on formula. Even if you only nurse part time, it can cut your formula costs in half. Many moms opt to breastfeed at home, then formula feed when out of the house or while at work. Baby still benefits from breast milk, mom benefits from the convenience. Plus, she saves money!
As a breastfeeding mom, you can also qualify for nursing equipment coverage under the Affordable Care Act such as the rental or cost of a new breast pump. Talk to your pediatrician or contact your insurance company for more information about your breastfeeding benefits.
17. Supplemental Vouchers And Grants
Some new moms may not know that they qualify for free formula if they are under a certain income level. Just contact a local public health clinic or the health department and they will help you sign up for programs to assist with feeding your baby. Each state has different requirements but you might find that you are eligible for state assistance for formula.
If you are a low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, or non-breastfeeding postpartum woman, you may qualify for USDA WIC program for assistance. To learn more about the WIC (Women, Infant and Children) program, visit here: www.fns.usda.gov
18. Insurance May Cover The Cost Of Your Formula
If your little one has to use specialty formula there is a chance that it could be covered. Also, look into your insurance’s flex spending accounts (if your plan comes with one). You can look into using this to help purchase formula that you won’t have to pay income tax on the money you need to pay for formula.
More Money Savings Tips
Check out these extra tips suggested by other moms on how to save on your formula, diapers and wipes.
1. Don’t Stock Up On Too Many Newborn Size Diapers
Babies grow and they grow fast! Newborn size along with size 1 and 2, they will grow out of quickly. If you are going to choose a size to stock up on stick with sizes 3 and 4. These sizes are the ones your baby will most likely be in the most. If you end up stocking on a size that your child outgrows or you don’t use, many national chain stores such as Target and Walmart will exchange your identical unused package of diapers with a different size. (You will need to top up the price difference!)
2. Figure Your Cost Per Diaper, Wipe Or Bottle
Make sure you are saving the most amount of money by figuring out your unit prices before you buy. When you are faced with a wall of choices, it seems logical to grab for the cheapest sticker, but that may not always be the best choice.
It is easy to calculate how much you are paying per diaper or wipe, but comparing formula prices can be trickier. You will have to figure out how many bottles each container will make (which will be vary depending on the age of your baby). Just as with diapers and wipes, you might be surprised to find you have been paying more money for fewer bottles, even with a coupon!
3. Ask Around
If you have other friends who are parents, or if you are part of any groups or communities online, you can ask if anyone in your area has leftover diapers or unopened cans of formula.
A lot of parents find themselves with a case or more of a certain size diaper after their baby hits an unexpected growth spurt. They may also have a stockpile of formula that their baby won’t eat, or that he has outgrown. As long as the cans are unopened and haven’t passed their expiration date, this is a good way to save money. Sometimes people will happily donate these for free just to keep them from going to waste.
4. Buy From Super Stores And Big Box Stores
Whether at a physical location or online, superstores offer lower prices than regular supermarkets, small retailers, and other stores on diapers, wipes and formulas. These stores can afford to be very competitive with their pricing, and you will see the difference when you figure cost per diaper.
For example, here in the US, a box of 148 Pampers Swaddlers in size 2 will cost $0.25 per diaper at Walmart (superstore). At a local, privately owned grocery store, the price jumps to almost $0.60 per diaper!
If you plan to buy in bulk, these stores and Amazon are your best choices for saving money.
5. Do You Have A Facebook Page?
Make sure you are part of some of the many mom to mom groups available in your area. Not only are they great when buying used toys or clothing but many moms will either post formula that are samples they no longer need for free or for a small fee or they will have rebate checks that they are looking to give away too.
Mom to Mom sales groups on Facebook are also great for purchasing diapers. Many times moms will have extra diapers that their child grew out of too quickly for them to use. You can also purchase these at a great discounted price!