How to Save Money & Build a Diaper Stockpile (includes approximate diaper usage for 1st year!)

Tips for saving money on diapers by buying ahead and building a stockpile. Includes a diaper usage guide to help you know how many diapers you might need.  A must read for every mom-to-be!

How to Save Money and Build a Diaper Stockpile- includes approx. diaper usage for baby's first year plus other tips! (Saves us at least 50%!)

There are lots of ways that you can save on diapers and wipes, but one of the ways that I have saved significantly on the cost for all three of our children is by building a diaper stockpile.  By doing this, I saved an estimate of at least $225, possibly as much as $350, on a year’s supply of diapers and wipes.  (I didn’t keep exact track, but I know I never paid more than $5 for a pack of diapers or $1 for a pack of wipes and many times got them for  less than that.  So I calculated my savings using that information.)

Stockpiling has helped us save so much simply because it meant that I never had to pay full price for either diapers or wipes.  Since I planned ahead and started buying diapers while I was still pregnant, I could wait and purchase diapers and wipes when they were at their lowest prices and add them to my stockpile.  As a result, I had a nice stockpile of 42 packages of diapers and around 30 packages of wipes by the time our daughter arrived, all bought at rock bottom prices.  I then was able to continue to purchase diapers and wipes only when they were at really low prices, which helped me continue to save.  In fact, I’ve never had to pay more than $5 for a package of diapers and $1 for a package of wipes, which is at least 50% savings off of the regular price!  

For me, one of the hardest things about diaper stockpiling was knowing how many of each size to buy.  When I was pregnant with our daughter, I discovered that a friend of mine kept track of how many diapers her son used in his first year.  I found it incredibly helpful to refer to that when I was I was purchasing diapers for my stockpile and, although we ended up using different amounts, it gave me a bit of a guideline to go by.

I kept track of our daughter’s diaper usage during her first year too.  Below you’ll find both my friend’s and my record.  Hopefully it will help give you a bit of an idea of how many of each size to stock up on.

(The packs referred to below are the smaller jumbo size packages of diapers, not the larger mega packs or boxes.  I included the approximate number of diapers since some of you may prefer buying the big boxes instead.)

Our Daughter’s Diaper Usage During First 12 Months  (she weighed 8lb. 4 oz. at birth)
Newborn: 6 packs (approx. 216 diapers)
Size 1: 4 packs (approx. 160 diapers)
Size 2: 16 packs (approx. 640 diapers)
Size 3: 19 packs (approx. 684 diapers)

Friend’s Son’s Diaper Usage During First 12 Months  (he weighed 7lb. 12 oz. at birth)
Newborn: 7 packs (approx. 252 diapers)
Size 1: 7 packs (approx. 280 diapers)
Size 2: 14 packs (approx. 560 diapers)
Size 3: 38 packs (approx. 1368 diapers)

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A couple of tips for diaper and wipe stockpiling:

1.  WATCH DIAPER SIZE
Huggies Little Snugglers diapers
are smaller than Huggies Snug & Dry diapers of the same size.  (I’m meaning that the diaper itself is smaller, not the package.)  So if you buy any of the Little Snugglers diapers, be sure to use them first as your baby will grow out of them more quickly.

2.  WATCH PACKAGE SIZE
You’ll find that the Huggies Little Snugglers and the Pampers Swaddlers diaper packs have less diapers per pack than the Huggies Snug & Dry or the Pampers Baby Dry of the same size.  Some stores don’t carry the Snug & Dry and Baby Dry diapers in size 1 & 2, but if they do, I try to purchase them instead of the Little Snugglers and Swaddlers just because I’m getting more diapers for my dollar.

Also, currently Huggies has more diapers per package than Pampers brand.  So, if you aren’t set on using Pampers brand diapers, often it is cheaper to buy the Huggies brand because even though the packages might cost the same amount, you are getting several diapers more in each package!

3.  SET A BUY PRICE
Figuring out how much you are willing to pay for diapers and wipes makes it easy to know whether a deal is worth buying or not.  If you aren’t sure where to start, it might help to peruse store ads a bit and see what the sale price of diaper/wipes typically is in your area.  Once you figure out your “buy price”, stick to it and only make a purchase when you can get them at that price or lower.

*  I typically try to pay no more than $0.13-$0.14/diaper.
Since diapers vary a lot in cost per diaper depending on the size and brand, I simply figure my cost per diaper by using size 3 diapers.  This works well for me since diapers are typically the same price per package no matter what size diapers you buy.

When diapers are on sale and I want to figure out whether a deal is worth doing, I just calculate the cost per diaper figuring the size 3 package amount.  So if there are 36 diapers in a package and they are on sale for $5.00 then I divide 5 by 36 and figure out that they are $0.14/diaper.

*  I typically try to pay no more than $0.02/wipe
Again, I figure this price by dividing the cost of the package by the number of wipes.  Most packages have 64 wipes in them and if I watch sales and use coupons I can often get them for $1.00 which comes to just $0.016/wipe.

4.  KNOW WHERE TO GET THE BEST DEALS
I’ve discovered that I can usually get the best deals on diapers and wipes at drug stores and here’s why.  Places like CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens have programs that give you money back via store rewards when you buy certain items.  This means that when I can combine a sale and one of those reward deals with a coupon I can often get really good prices.

For instance, CVS often has diapers on sale for $10 each and when you buy $30 worth you get $10 Extra Bucks (a coupon that gets you $10 off your next CVS purchase).  So I’ll purchase three packs of diapers and then use a $2 coupon on each of those 3 packages, maximizing my savings.  That means that I can get each pack for $4.66 or for just under $0.13/diaper when using Size 3 as my price guide.

Obviously, some of you aren’t going to feel like shopping drug stores is feasible.  If that’s the case, I’ve found that Amazon is the second best place to get diapers and wipes.  They frequently run deals on diapers and wipes and although the prices aren’t quite as good, they still are very decent!  Plus, you can get the items shipped right to your front door which is pretty convenient!

How do you save on diapers and wipes?  Do you find buying ahead helpful?

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Comments

  1. says

    Cloth diapers rule!
    I didn’t find nice breathable ones that my baby liked, so I cheat. I put him a regular diaper and use an insert from a washable diaper to line it. It extends the time he wears disposable diaper. My sister who only used disposable diapers for her baby uses=spends on them 2.5 more.

    And yes, I always buy disposables way before I’m gonna need them and only Jumbo packs. I buy in bulk because they will most likely get more expensive due to inflation. They are almost never on sale in Russia, where I live, but sometimes people will offer to sell what they haven’t used since the baby grew out or got potty trained before he went through the pack of diapers. I’ll always buy those, since they normally a lot cheaper than in the stores.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      I love your creative idea to add cloth inserts to disposable diapers! I know cloth is a great way to save money, but it’s just one of those areas that we’ve chosen to splurge in. Neither my husband or I could get excited about doing cloth diapers for a variety of reasons.

      And buying people’s extra unused diapers is a great way to save money! That’s awesome that you have been able to do that a lot. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Congratulations, Julie! I hope this last month goes well for you and that you’ll soon be enjoying that sweet baby in your arms. I can’t tell you enough how much I love my diaper stockpile. It has been such a huge money saver and it has saved my sanity many times too- you know, no late night runs to the store because we suddenly realized we were out of diapers. :)

  2. Megan Monarch says

    I’m due in 6 months. When is too early to start stockpiling? If I buy to many of a certain size can they be returned and what is usually the time frame on returns if allowed? I want to stockpile and be prepared but I an nervous about overdueing it and having too many amd wasting money.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Congratulations, Megan! I’m pregnant again too and it sounds like we must be due about the same time. :)

      I’m of the opinion that it’s never too early to start stockpiling, but I’m sure not everyone agrees with me. I just figure the sooner I start stockpiling, the more time I have to watch for really good deals. Rules for returning diapers and the time frame allowed vary with each store. The CVS that I typically shop at knows me because I go there a lot. They have been great at allowing me to exchange unused packages of diapers as long as I have the receipt, even months later. I also have discovered that Walmart will almost always take unused packaged of diapers back and give you store credit for them even if you don’t have a receipt. I typically just use the store credit to buy another package of diapers in the size that I need. Another thing that I have done is to gift any packages of diapers that I don’t end up using. Most parents are more than happy to get a pack of diapers as part of a baby gift and since I didn’t pay much for them, it’s an easy way to add a little something extra to my baby gift.

      If you are nervous about overdoing it, you should be pretty safe if you just go very conservative on the number of packages that you buy for each size. For instance, you could get 3 packs of Newborn, 4 of size 1 and 5 of size 2 and then focus on lots of size 3’s since babies tend to be in them for a long time.

      Hope that helps…and have fun getting ready to welcome that sweet little one!

      • Sarah says

        I just stick to buying Wal mart brand…the size 3 diapers are .13 cents a diaper when you buy the 20 dollar pack, and it never varies. I don’t know the other sizes, but the smaller sizes should be cheaper. I have only had a problem with them when I went a LITTLE too long between diaper changes… they are REALLY good diapers, and I’ve used them for years, through 4 kids. I am probably paying 14 or 15 cents a diaper now that she’s in size 4s, but still…not bad. I think when I bought the mega pack, I got them for 13 cents as well, and that was size 4s…but I was only able to buy one box. Oh… I was ecstatic to find swim diapers on clearance for 4 bucks a pack…so I bought two packs. Just had to share that. We love to swim, and I want to join a gym with a pool…I’ll pay 130 a month, but that’s for 8 people, and it’s worth it to swim every single day any time I like.

        • ThriftyFrugalMom says

          Good to know about the Walmart brand diapers, Sarah! I’ve not been super impressed with most generic brands that I’ve tried, other than the Walgreen’s brand, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried Walmart’s brand. And yes, finding swim diapers on clearance end of season is always fun!

  3. S says

    Holy crap where do you live ? Average cost for a large box of pampers (about 120 diapers maybe ? Maybe only 100) is about 40$ .. that’s why I always have to wait until they go on sale or buy the cheap brand . -canada

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      We live in the States and I know that prices change a lot when you cross the border into Canada. This post was published a couple of years ago, but I still can regularly get diapers for super cheap by watching for deals on Amazon and at drug stores like CVS and Rite Aid. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago I was able to get 4 packs of Pampers diapers at CVS for about $2 a pack thanks to sales and coupons! I don’t see that kind of deal very often, but you can believe I jump on it when I do! :) Obviously living in Canada might mean you can’t get the deals that we do here, but it sounds like you are being a smart shopper and saving money in the ways that you can! You also might enjoy this post where I share some other tips for saving on diapers….many of them are things that anyone can do no matter where they live.

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