About two hours after my wife handed me the stick with two lines on it, (confirming that she was indeed pregnant), my mind started to wonder about baby ‘stuff.’ I already shared some of my experiences getting things like the crib and baby clothes, but what happens when it gets down to changing a diaper? Babies poop and don’t wipe after themselves….gross. I did not look forward to years of diaper changing and butt wiping!! I had never changed a diaper in my life! But, inside my wife’s belly was an unborn life, and in a few short months, I would be changing diapers.
After visiting the store and realizing that to my horror, packages of diapers can run $9 or more, I knew I had to do something. The planner in me kicked in and I started to figure out how I could stock up on baby items. I needed to lessen the financial impact of a baby as much as possible. Babies are unpredictable, as you’ll find out in our birth story, and from a budget side, they can really wreak havoc!
Some of you may remember that during the pregnancy I polled WeUseCoupons members asking for opinions on how many diapers a baby uses! From those poll results and suggestions from members I formulated an estimate on how many diapers I would need. I even looked at growth charts to see how long the average baby stayed in size 2 or 3 diapers. I then started what I joking called ‘Diaper Math’. I wanted to figure out the unit cost of a single diaper. Then I estimated how much a normal healthy baby would use in a year’s time. Add it all together and you get a stark picture of the true nature of how much one item will cost you. Try this on for size, after doing the math, I estimated that I would spend around $750 (RETAIL) a year on just diapers alone! That sends shivers up your spine right!?
So what did I do? Well I just started buying diapers like crazy, when I found them cheap! I would wait for overages or money making deals and combine them with great diaper deals. Over the course of nine months, I literally purchased hundreds of packages of diapers.
This all sounds complicated right?! But trust me it’s not, I liken it to basic stockpiling. At the heart of stockpiling is knowing how much you will consume. If you are going to eat 30 boxes of cereal before they expire and the cereal is free or discounted 90% (with a coupon), you should try to get 30 boxes if you can, right!? The same goes for diapers, except who knows how much the baby will use. By estimating I was able buy strategically. The same goes for baby wipes. Those things don’t dry out, they are fantastic and dirt cheap if you buy at the right time (with a coupon of course)! Trust me, when I find wipes for free, I’m like a blind squirrel that stumbles into the Planters factory, I go nuts! Baby deals are all around you, all the time, you just have to open your eyes and find them!!
Let’s discuss a list that I call my baby consumables. This list is full of products that have coupons! These items will be used and consumed by your little one, so be prepared. Also everything on this list can be purchased ahead of time and is stockpilable!! Here is the list. The prices listed in parentheses are the amounts I paid for the item after coupons.
Major Baby Consumables
Diapers (FREE-$3 a pack max)
Wipes (FREE – $.50 a pack)
Formula ($2-$7 a can)
Body Wash (FREE)
Free and Clear Detergent or Dreft ($.19 for Purex Free & Clear)
Minor Baby Consumables
First Aid Kit, thermometer, nasal bulb, comb, etc (FREE)
Breast Pads ($1 per pack)
Nipple Cream ($3 a tube)
Diaper Rash Cream ($2 a tube)
Infant Tylenol ($1 a box)
Mylicon ($3 a box)
Now you’re probably wondering…free diapers, really? Yes, let me say it again free diapers. Is it common? No. But does it happen? Absolutely!! Knowing what I needed enabled me to stock up during the pregnancy and literally today I have not purchased a single package of diapers since the birth of our baby! I have so many diapers that I won’t even look at buying more, unless the deal is so good it makes them free.
As I mentioned in Part 1, when my wife first got pregnant, we discussed cloth diapers. We have a really good friend that uses cloth diapers and we were getting excited about it. But when I started finding disposable diapers for under a $1 a pack, we decided that from a financial and time standpoint, why deal with more poo than necessary!! Cloth diapers are a great option for many frugal couples, but it just wasn’t for us. Dr. Kristie McNealy from KristieMcNeally.com shares about her frugal adventure with cloth diapers in this article: Babies on A Budget – Cloth Diapers for the cost of ONE package of disposable!
I won’t tell you baby stockpiling is easy, but I will tell you it is absolutely possible, because it’s what I did! I have enough shampoo, body wash, lotion, powder, gas drops, wipes and diapers to last literally years and I didn’t spend much for it. Learning to strategically buy baby items is important, just like stockpiling household and grocery items. My best advice is to start early and save receipts! I am lucky that Hannah doesn’t care what diaper brand she uses, all of them work and none of them leak. But you run a risk of a baby being sensitive. Some babies are, some aren’t, so save receipts no matter what!! Most stores, with a receipt, will let you exchange diapers for different sizes or brands. I was prepared and that has saved us so much money it’s incredible. Now that you have all the diapers you will ever need, it’s nursery time! Part 4 in this series is entitled: Décor on a Dime – Preparing our Nursery on a Tight Budget.