William rocking his pink diaper. It was cheaper than the blue one!
I thought I’d share a few things I learned from a year+ of diapering on a tight budget. I hope you find some useful tidbits! Stay tuned for another post on our experience with cloth diapering.
Tip 1: Use Your Calculator
Diapers come in many differently sized packs, so it takes more than a quick glance to know if you’re getting a good price. Instead, take the price, move the decimal two spaces to the right, then divide by the # of diapers. For example, a $25.00 pack is 2500 cents. If the pack has 100 diapers, that’s 25 cents per diaper. We used disposables as an occasional backup for cloth, so I made a goal to buy packs only when the unit price was less than 20 cents. I could have gone a bit cheaper, though I personally avoid brands with added lotions and fragrances. I was able to buy Seventh Generation, Earth’s Best, and Honest Co. brands, all for 18-20 cents per diaper.
Tip 2: Collect Coupons
Most disposable diaper companies will send you coupons if you fill out an interest form on their website or contact customer service. These coupons can sometimes be combined with other store discounts. You can also find coupons on grocery store apps, such as Safeway or Kroger.
Tip 3: Shop Sales
Sales + coupons = the best deals! Most cloth diaper companies have regular sales and bundle discounts. Start following brands like Green Mountain Diapers and Cotton Babies on Facebook and Instagram as you build your stash.
Tip 4: Amazon Subscribe and Save
I hesitate to recommend Amazon, as I often found better deals elsewhere. That said, they offer a discount if you sign up to purchase diapers at regular intervals. I found a great price on a jumbo pack with a subscription discount. But by the time they tried to send me another pack, it was unavailable for the same price and our baby had gone up a size anyway. Use at your own discretion.
Tip 5: Honest Co. BOGO Bundle Sales
The Honest Co. offers discounts on diaper and wipe bundles. A couple times a year, you can pay for one month’s bundle and get the second month for free. If you use primarily cloth like us, you’ll have a year’s supply for ~$80. Just remember to cancel your subscription after the second month (unless you’re okay with the regular bundle discount).
Tip 6: Check the Clearance Section
This applies both online and in store. I regularly found 50% off disposables on the Safeway clearance shelves. Many cloth diaper websites will offer good deals on older prints or styles.
Tip 7: Keep Receipts
Babies grow—surprise!—and there’s no way to know exactly how many diapers you will need, despite what Pinterest charts may tell you. Always keep receipts in a central location so you can exchange diapers for the next size up. Also check return policies at cloth diaper sites. In general, avoid stocking up too much unless you find an amazing deal.
Tip 8: Buy Secondhand
Disposable – No, I am NOT suggesting that you buy dirty diapers. Rather, you’ll find plenty of new-in-package disposables on Facebook Marketplace and other secondhand sites. Many families stock up and find themselves with more packs than they know what to do with!
Cloth – You’ll find directions for cleaning and sanitizing used cloth diapers on Fluff Love University. Aside from a couple covers, I don’t think I have ever bought a new cloth diaper because they are just SO much cheaper used. I actually sold several diapers for the same price I bought them for, so they were essentially free! Do make sure to ask each seller about the condition of the elastic and snaps on a diaper, if they don’t specify. And even if you would prefer a brand new stash, try buying or borrowing a range of brands/styles used, just to see what you like before making the investment.
A few places to shop secondhand – Your local consignment shops, diaper-specific or brand-specific Facebook swap groups, VarageSale app, Facebook Marketplace or local buy/sell groups, and Craigslist.
Tip 9: Try First, If Possible
So you bought the 300 pack and now your kid has diaper rash and constant blowouts? The good news is that you can, as mentioned, sell your open pack at a discount to another parent, or donate it to a women’s shelter. Next time, try to score a few free diapers in sample packs or from other parents before committing to a particular brand. This principle also applies to cloth! I am forever thankful to those who loaned me so many different types of cloth diapers to try out before investing my own money.
Tip 10: Elimination Communication, AKA “EC”
EC, or early potty training, is often thought of as a weird fringe practice that isn’t practical in real life. As it turns out, before disposable diapers became the norm, babies were often potty trained by 18 months. EC is still common in many countries where diapers are extra expensive or unavailable.
Our family started using elimination communication principles just before William’s first birthday. If you’re wondering, “What the heck is EC?,” check out the book The Diaper Free Baby or the Go Diaper Free website.
Do you have other ways of saving money on diapers? Please share them below! Here’s to fewer, cheaper diapers and more funds for date nights.