The dish on diapers

The other day I was shopping at Babies R Us, and as I was entering the store I saw a woman leaving with her two little boys and a big box of Pampers diapers in her cart.  I couldn’t help  myself, but the first thing I thought of was “why in the world would someone go to BRU to buy one big box of diapers?”. 

Diapers at BRU are almost always going to be much more expensive than almost anywhere else.  Sometimes they do run specials where if you purchase two boxes you get a $10 BRU gift card, or something to that effect.  But from what I’ve seen personally, even if you “net” the $10 against your diaper purchase, you are still paying so much more for diapers there than if you were to shop almost anywhere else. 

We’ve had at least one kid in diapers for the past almost four years, and for 18 months of that time we’ve had two kids in diapers at the same time.  Carlie is now potty trained of course, and Maddie is daytime trained (she has to wear a diaper to nap and bed).  And of course Lizzie is still in diapers and will be for another year and a half to two years. 

So needless to say we have some expertise on how to save money on diapers.

Now as a disclaimer, we are not brand loyal for diapers.  We’ve been lucky that none of our kids has ever really had a brand that they consistenly leaked out of or that gave them diaper rash.  So we buy whatever we can get cheapest. 

And by cheapest I mean price per diaper, since that’s the most fair way to compare cost.

Our experience has been that the Target Up & Up brand of diapers are some of the cheapest around.  At one point they were even cheaper than Costco’s Kirkland brand.  But I haven’t check that in a while. 

And I should mention I’ve never bought the Kirkland brand.  It’s because I’m scared to buy a box and find out we hate them and then I have like 5874 diapers or however many they put in a box that we then have to use up.  Sometimes I wish Costco sold things in sample sized packages.  Sigh.

Anyway, I do have to say we love the Up & Up brand.  They have become our standard for how good a deal is for Luvs, Huggies or Pampers.  If the deal can’t beat the Up & Up price per diaper, they’re not cheap enough.  And rarely are you going to find coupons for Huggies or Pampers that can drop the price to meet or beat the Up & Up brand price.

I do get Luvs coupons sent to me every few months for $2 or $2.50 off per pack.  So I wait until Luvs go on sale or they offer the Target gift card with the purchase or they have a Target brand coupon I can stack with it.  

But as I mentioned in my couponing post, I just don’t have the time or desire to collect my coupons, wait around for the sales, then go buy the diapers for a price that’s only maybe as cheap as the generic.  That’s why I’m so happy that we like the cheapest brand.  It saves me a lot of hassle.

And we will buy the humongo boxes of Huggies from Costco when they have their coupons.  Although I haven’t done a price comparison on that in a while, I probably should.  But we got two boxes of size 3 quite a few months ago, and now that Lizzie’s in a size 3 we’re finally using them up.  But we still have months to go before needing more diapers for her.

Now I haven’t ventured into the online purchasing of diapers.  I hear about deals for or through the drugstores’ online sites where they say you can save a bunch of money.  I should investigate those, but often times the deal is only good for first-time purchasers because they give some sort of discount on your first purchase or the shipping ends up eating up the savings you’re getting from buying online.  But with many retailers offering free shipping these days I should look into this again.

I also should mention that we’ve tried some generic brands before from the grocery store or from Walmart and I was not impressed at all.  They were either too papery or would leak.  I found myself changing the kid so often that while the per diaper price was better I was using more in a day.  That’s not savings.  But we tried them, because you never know what you might end up loving.

So what is my point in all my rambling?  I guess I have several.

**Try generic.  Just give them a shot, just once.  You might be surprised. 

**Just because a particular brand advertises that it’s on sale doesn’t make it a good deal.  Some stores carry the same exact package for cheaper every single day.

**Always use the price per diaper as your basis and know your threshold.  Along with this, check the price per diaper even on the same brand within the different sized packages.  I’ve found on several occassions that the price per diaper on the smaller packages is actually less per diaper than on the larger ones.  That goes for name brand and generics.

**Finally, the best way to save money on diapers is to quit having kids.  Less kids = less diapers.  Yep, that’s my MBA paying off for me right there, folks.  Pure genius.

Want more on how to save on diapers?  I found a good post here on more ways to save.

So how about it?  What are your diaper money-saving tips?


6 responses

  1. We use up and up when cheapest too but huggies was cheapest after coupons recently…about $4 off per box when stacking manuf and target QPs. Fyi target has a $1.50 off qp for diapers on their site right now that u can print off and use next time. They are on there quite often. And i like tomuse QPs on the smallest quantity avail sometimes because the $1.50 off a small pack can sometimes be cheaper than off a big pack.

  2. If you end up not liking your Costco diapers, you can take them back. We had to do that with Liam because he was allergic. They happily took them back. You can do that with pretty much anything at Costco. There have been a few times that we have done that because the product was on low quality or it wasn’t what we thought it was going to be. i.e. the picture on the box didn’t exactly match up with what was inside the box.

    • They’ll take back a used box of diapers? No way! I knew they took back a ton of stuff, but I figured if part of the product was missing they wouldn’t. Well now I may have to try the Kirkland brand diapers! Except for Liam’s allergy, did you like them okay?

  3. Thanks for the link, LeeAnn! With my son, I tried them all but ended up using Luvs because they fit his “square” shape the best. My twin girls were skinny things and I needed the elastic waistband, so I used Huggies and used coupons on the small packages at the drugstores, but it was a lot of running around town!

  4. I’m not sure if it will be the same at Costco in the USA vs Canada, but I do know that in Alberta, Costco’s Kirkland brand were MORE expensive per diaper than Huggies the last time we purchased a case.

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