Early in January 2008, I posted this picture on my personal blog:
and I’m pretty sure some people thought I was crazy. This was the result of a huge Huggies sale at Target. Hi, I’m LauraC, crazy couponer and bargain hunter. That diaper stash lasted us about nine months. Very few people asked the obvious question – WHY did you buy all those diapers? We did it to save money, a lot of money.
The best way to save money on diapers is to switch to cloth. Hands down, cloth diapers are cheaper than any other option out there. Since we did not cloth diaper for a multitude of reasons, I can’t speak to what brand or how to do so. The second cheapest option is to use generic diapers. I have heard good things about Target generics and BJ’s generics. We tried both with our boys and both resulted in such horrible diaper rashes that we ended up at the doctor’s office. (If anyone has recommendations for generic diapers, please leave them in the comments.)
However, most people end up using Huggies or Pampers. The first step of my method is to figure out how much you are paying per diaper. How do you know if something is a good deal if you don’t know how much you normally pay for it? At my BJ’s with no coupons, I pay $0.30 per size 5 diaper (they get more expensive the larger they get). Notice I said “with no coupons.” That is inaccurate because I NEVER buy diapers without a coupon. Every month, Huggies and Pampers issue diaper coupons that appear in the Sunday newspaper inserts. I ask my friends and family to send me any coupons they don’t use. In a real pinch, I order coupons from a coupon clipping service such as The Coupon Clippers.
Since I’m a member of BJ’s, they mail me a coupon booklet every month. Often they have diaper coupons in them. Additionally Target has coupons on their website. Target’s coupon policy is that you can use one manufacturer (Huggies) and one Target coupon per item. This is where the real deals start to happen. Every Sunday when the store ads come out, I look for diaper deals. If diapers cost more than $0.30 a diaper, I don’t buy them.
Every so often, an amazing deal comes along and that’s what happened last January. Target had an online coupon for $3 off 2 Huggies items. I had $1 Huggies coupons. Huggies were on sale. The perfect bargain storm. The per diaper price was $0.16…. almost half price! Jon and I visited three Targets, being very sensitive to leave plenty of bargains on the shelf for other shoppers. We saved over $200 on diapers.
If that picture looked crazy to you when you first saw it, does it seem less crazy knowing that we saved $200?
I know everyone reading this is not going to become a full-fledged bargainer. At the very least, I strongly encourage you to figure out how much you are paying per diaper (per ounce of formula, per wipes container, per jar of baby food, etc). Stores often advertise sales that aren’t bargains at all, preying on the fact that most people don’t know how much they are paying for something. You can do this easily at home by checking how many diapers are in the box you’ve bought and looking at your receipt for how much paid. And if I need to calculate something in the store, I use my cell phone calculator. I may look like a nerd doing it, but I’m a nerd saving a ton of money.