After nine long months of waiting to meet your perfect little bundle of joy, he’s here. You lock your eyes with another pair that resemble yours and you feel complete unconditional love. In the first few days, weeks, months, even, of sleepless nights and baby smells, other concerns like hospital bills and the need to budget for diapers, formula, and wipes begin to arise. Figuring out parenthood and navigating a new budget at the same time can be overwhelming, so knowing where you can cut corners ahead of time is super helpful.
You can save on diapers and wipes in a variety of ways, mostly by using cloth diapers and wipes, planning ahead, and taking advantage of price decreases on disposable diapers via sales, coupons, and subscription services. Since financial situations, community access, and preferences between cloth and disposable diapers can vary, I’ve compiled a list of the most strategic, effective ways to save money on diapers, wipes, and formula.
How to Save on Diapers & Wipes?
Be Logical With Changes
First and foremost, don’t be the mom who rushes to change her toddler’s diaper the same 8-12 times daily as was needed when he was a newborn. Diapers are formulated to hold lots of incidents in for long periods of time. I’m not saying you should risk gifting your toddler a diaper rash, but you should at least be getting your money’s worth out of each diaper.
Use Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers have been around almost as long as we’ve been having babies. Disposable diapers are really a newer concept, all things considered. Of course, cloth diapers come with their own pros and cons. Some find them to be too messy and high-maintenance, requiring constant washing with no ability to just “toss it”.
Others can’t justify buying disposables as long as the cloth option exists. On top of being budget-friendly and reusable, cloth diapers are often more comfortable for your baby and accommodating for their newfound movements.*
If disposables are your preference, there are plenty of coupons floating out there online, in the mail, in your email, and via promo code.*
Buy in Bulk
Stop running to the store for a 10-pack at a time. The more you buy at once– no matter the brand– the less you’ll pay per diaper, period!
Expedite Potty Training
I don’t mean that you should encourage your 3-month-old to stop going in their diaper. If you have a 3-year-old, however, like I did, who just isn’t into the potty just yet, start getting him more excited about it. It wasn’t until my late bloomer began to finally go on the potty that I realized how much it instantly saved us on buying diapers.
What To Do If You Can’t Afford Diapers?
Aside from using reusable, cloth diapers, the best thing that you can do when you can’t afford diapers is to make it known that you are in need of diapers.
Peruse Online Groups for Freebies
Join plenty of local mom online groups. It’s almost daily that one of my Facebook parenting groups shares a post of a mom giving away items they no longer need (yes– including diapers) or a mom in need of certain items. The post is almost always accompanied by a multitude of comments from people who have plenty to give.
I belong to my neighborhood’s Facebook page. My neighbor once posted that the little girl she had been fostering for a couple years was going back to her family. As a result, she had a few boxes of diapers to spare. I was 7 months pregnant. I swung by and stored them in my future baby’s closet for my future use, all in an effort to save money.
Sidenote: what goes around, comes around. We were gifted a baby swing once my little one arrived, and he disliked it. That same neighbor of mine was now going to be a grandmother, so she was at the top of my list for gifting our unusable swing*
Put Diapers on Your Baby Registry
Give people the option to gift you exactly what you need. Remember to vary the sizes. If you’re worried about how many newborn diapers you’ll need, know that it’s usually pretty limited. Both of my huge sons were out of newborn-sized diapers before we even left the hospital.
Request Diaper Cakes
Is anyone throwing you a shower? Mention diaper cakes. They are cute, fake cakes made up of actual diapers that the guest of honor can literally use for the baby.
Local Mom Groups
Mothers Helping Mothers, for example, is a Sarasota, Florida-based organization that takes donations directly from mothers and provides them only to– you guessed it– other mothers.
National Diaper Bank Network
Non-profits also exist to help provide basic essentials, such as diapers, to low-income families. You can enroll by clicking the “Get Help” button on their website.
Cuddle Me is a national program that provides free necessities such as diapers and food for low-income families.
From formula to cereal and other essentials, the program ensures that families in need receive the care they deserve.
Share the Love
Share the Love is one of many cloth diaper banks that aim to provide low-income families with reusable cloth diapers.
While in the long-term cloth diapers are more cost-effective than disposable diapers, it can cost families as much as $300 to get their cloth diaper stash going. Cloth diaper banks aim to alleviate this financial burden for low-income families.
Other Local Government Programs
There are a bunch of other charities and/or government programs that provide diapers to families in need. The organizations vary by state.
You can find a list of your local offices here.
How to Save on Diapers on Amazon?
Unless you’re already a Prime member, you can pay a fee to become a member of Amazon Mom. It targets moms of newborns through toddlers and gives you 20% off anything baby-related from diapers to wipes. New members are eligible for a free 3-month membership.
Using their subscribe-and-save feature, you can get as much as 20% off diapers and wipes. Additional benefits include free two-day shipping directly to your doorstep. Nothing is much more convenient to a newborn’s momma than not having to go to the store for anything because there’s essentially no time nor opportunity!
Owners of groups like Redtag Ricky on Facebook actively peruse sites like Amazon for deals and steals so that you don’t have to.
They always share products that are highly discounted– perhaps as part of lightning or daily Amazon deal– and then they have a special unique promo code that you can use for an even steeper discount.
How to Save on Diapers and Formula?
Companies are constantly catering to the end consumer and it’s no secret to them that women, especially mothers, make up the bulk of the shopping demographic.
Women are also typically most in tune with the household budget and therefore more likely to be stimulated by the opportunity to use a coupon while shopping.
That being said:
Ever seen Extreme Coupon? Now would be a great time to tune in. Not everyone takes the time and effort to spot coupons for use both online and in-store, so walk into your purchase prepared. Find out ahead of time if the store of your choice allows you to combine sale prices with coupons and if so, take full advantage!
Supplement Formula With Pumped Breast Milk if Possible
Beef up that bottle with the free stuff that your body is probably already producing. The bonus is that your baby will benefit from the natural nutrients and, if combined properly, there shouldn’t be too much of a taste difference between bottles.
Ask Your Pediatrician For Samples
You know who probably has a plethora of the diapers, wipes, and formulas that you’ve been wanting to try without committing to the price? Your child’s pediatrician. Ask for any free samples that I’m sure the office is eager to unload from their promotional storage closet.
Use One Size For as Long as You Can
This is not only so that you use every last diaper in the bag, but also know that the bigger the sizing, the less diapers you receive in a package.
Experiment With Less Expensive Diapers and Formulas
Even if you prefer one brand over another, trying to save on diapers is a great time to get experimental with different brand names. For example, I heard through the grapevine once upon a time that Pampers Baby Dry were the top diapers to try, but they’re also one of the most expensive and my son was leaking out of them at that. I found success experimenting with Luvs and they’re significantly less. Some people even swear by generic diapers! It varies per baby.
How to Save on Huggies Diapers?
You can save directly with Huggies via their email subscribers list or you can peep Amazon for brand-specific deals such as Huggies diapers.
Huggies also has a Diaper Rewards program.
Just remember, when trying to save money, it’s best not to be a brand snob. Be experimental and always go with what’s on sale.
How Much Does the Average Diaper Cost?
The average cost per diaper is 20 cents. It can go as low as 15 cents, particularly when using coupons, or parents can spend as much as $1.00+ per diaper if opting to have special diapers imported internationally.
With the average newborn going through 8-12 diapers per day, you can do the math and see why looking to save on diapers is critical, especially during the first few months of your baby’s life.
Between diaper cakes, generous family and community members, and coupon/promotional groups, I feel like diapers have really never been a major factor in our budget. In fact, it’s been rare that we ever have to run out of diapers, and we prefer disposables.
The advantage to being a mom on the lookout for ways to save on diapers and formula is that manufacturers are looking for you, too.
Since there is so much competition in the diaper, wipe, and formula space, manufacturers want to provide consumers promotional opportunities to try their products at a free or discounted rate so that consumers hopefully come to trust the brand, purchase their products repeatedly, and spread the word.