Save on baby items with store programs, rock-bottom prices
Recently a reader wrote to me asking for my advice on how to save on diapers, wipes and formula. She is expecting her third child, will not qualify for WIC and is unable to breast feed. She is looking for ways to cut costs on these items. Hopefully this article will help her and other new and expectant mothers to save on these necessities for their little ones.
Saving on Diapers and Wipes: Know your prices and stock up when you find a good sale. Start watching for stock-up prices and purchase diapers before your little bundle of joy arrives. (A word of caution, there is a slight chance that your child may have sensitive skin and not be able to wear a certain type of diaper, but this is rare). My youngest child is 13, so I have been out of the diaper stages for quite some time. I did some research to help you determine a stock up price on diapers.
Diapers are priced by the package, the smaller the diaper the more you will have in the package. For example, at one store the size three and size five Huggies both sell for $19.79. The size three box contains 66 diapers and the size five Huggies contains 50 diapers.
To compare apples to apples, I compared the prices of size three diapers at the following sites:www.cvs.com, www.target.com, www.walmart.com, www.amazon.com, and www.kmart.comI recorded the store, cost, number of diapers in the package and calculated the unit rate per diaper. The cheapest diaper I found was Targetâ€™s Up & Up diapers at 15 cents per diaper. (Cost $20.99/number of diapers in package 144) If you have the Target Red Card you save an additional five percent to bring your cost per diaper down to 14 cents per diaper. (The most expensive diaper I found was 48 cents per diaper. Ouch! Knowing your prices can definitely help you save a bundle).
Based on this information, I would never pay more than 14 cents per diaper, the generic brand price. This means that anytime the name brand diapers falls below 14 cents per diaper, I will stock up. To be able to use this price point, you can compare the prices of the size three diapers as a guideline. If you select another size, your price per diaper may be more or less depending on the number of diapers in the package. By using one size for a comparison the entire time your child is in diapers, it makes it easier to compare prices because you will not have to start your â€śprice sheetâ€ť all over again.
To determine the cost per diaper, take the cost of the diapers and divide it by the number of diapers in the package. If this number is less than 14 cents then it is a good deal.
If you must purchase a specific brand, visit the online shopping portion of the websites above and start a price sheet to determine which store has the best price per diaper.
Get multiple Sunday papers: There are many diaper coupons that come out in the Sunday paper. SmartSource usually carries the Huggies coupons and P&G has the Pampers coupons. Subscribe to home delivery and have at least two papers delivered to your home. By having multiple coupons you will be able to stock up on the diapers when you see them at a really good price.
Trade coupons: Ask family and friends to save their diaper coupons from the Sunday paper for you. You can also trade with others who do not need infant coupons.
Printable coupons: Check for printable coupons at www.savannahnow.com/coupons,www.smartsource.com, www.coupons.com and www.redplum.com. You can print two coupons per computer. If there are good printable coupons available, ask your family and friends if they would mind printing them for you to score some extras.
Register for mailing lists: Register with the three most popular diaper brands: Huggies, Pampers, and Luvs. The companies will send you coupons in the mail. Luvs will sometimes publish printable coupons right on its website, so check it often.
Join the â€śclubsâ€ť on each diaper site: The Pampers Gifts to Grow program is a great program to help score gifts for your little one. You enter codes found on the diapers and wipes packages, and trade those points in for prizes. Do a Google search for â€śPampers Gifts to Grow codesâ€ť to get free codes to help you start earning points. Huggies and Luvs both have programs too.
Compare prices in the Shopping Wizard: Watch the sales ads and the Shopping Wizard atwww.savvyshopperdeals.com/georgia . Type in the keyword such as â€śPampersâ€ť and it will bring up all of the stores that have Pampers on sale. It will also show you if there are any coupons available and list which weeks they were published in the Sunday paper. To find the count in the package, you may need to go to the online shopping section of that stores website. It will usually list the price per size and the number in the package. You will also find my rankings in the wizard. I review the prices of each one and give my honest opinion of how they rate (good, great, wow).
Factor in Extra Care Bucks, Register Rewards, +UP Rewards: Donâ€™t forget about the drugstores. They have some very good diaper deals. Keep in mind the Extra Care Bucks, Register Rewards and +UP Rewards that you will get back and calculate those into the price. Example: If the diapers are $8.99 - $2 coupon - $2 Extra Care Bucks that you will receive after purchase= $4.99. The Extra Care Bucks can be used on anything in the store, including purchasing more diapers.
Stack coupons: Look for coupons that will stack. Example: There is a Publix coupon out right now for $2 off Pampers. There is also a $1.50 manufacturers coupon in the P&G insert. By stacking these coupons, you may save $3.50. By stacking these coupons, you may be able to get the price lower than the generic price, making it a true stock-up price.
Dollars off total purchase coupons: Donâ€™t forget if you have a $5 off $25 coupon for Publix or Piggly Wiggly you may be able to score diapers cheaper at those locations. Your purchase requirement is before any other coupons are applied, so be sure to stack those store and manufacturers coupons to score a great deal.
Gift cards: Pay attention to store ads that offer gift cards when you purchase a designated amount of diapers. Figure the gift cards that you get back into the cost of the diapers. You can always use the gift cards to turn around and purchase more diapers. You will have to calculate the cost per diaper after the gift card to determine if it is a good deal. Example: Target currently offers a $5 gift card when you purchase two Huggies at $19.79. The only requirement is that you must purchase two, you can stack manufacturers and store coupons when purchasing.
Amazon.comâ€™s Subscribe and Save program: Amazon did have some great deals on their website, and you can save an additional five percent off of its prices with the Subscribe and Save program. The program is free to join, and you receive free shipping. They even offer coupons on its website from some of the major manufacturers. I found a $2 coupon for Huggies when I was exploring. You just click on it and the discount is taken off at checkout. There is only one disadvantage that I see to this program: Your diapers will be auto-shipped each month. (You can cancel the shipping at any time, but I am never a fan of anything that â€śauto-shipsâ€ť).
Swagbucks: www.swagbucks.com Join Swagbucks and earn points to trade in for Amazon gift cards. Use these gift cards you earned free to purchase your diapers on Amazon. This program is free to join, and itâ€™s easy to earn points. (Some of the ways to earn points is by internet searches, watching videos, completing surveys, and polls, and printing and redeeming coupons from the site.)
Make your own baby wipes: Cut a roll of paper towels in half, and remove the cardboard center. Mix 2 cups water that has been boiled and cooled, 2 tablespoons of baby shampoo or baby wash and 1 tablespoon of baby oil. Place the liquid mixture in a round, air-tight container, with the cut side down. Start the roll by pulling the wipe form the center! Itâ€™s that easy. (My buy price for paper towels is 50 cents or less, my buy price for wipes is 2 cents per wipe.)
Saving on formula: Formula is expensive; you will definitely want to shop around to see who has the best price. Once you have settled on a brand of formula, start a price book and list the regular price of the formula at each store that you shop at. You can use the Shopping Wizard mentioned earlier in this article to watch for a sale. Having a price list will help you determine if the sale is really a sale. Stock up when you find a good deal, but look at the expiration dates carefully.
WIC (Women Infants and Children): This program offers families assistance with formula and other supplemental foods to pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women and children up to the age five. Not everyone qualifies for this program; it is based on your income. To see if you qualify visit the website: stars.fns.usda.gov/wps/pages/start.jsf
Watch for coupons: The Sunday paper will occasionally have formula coupons. You will also want to check the printable coupon sites listed earlier, I have found high value coupons on some of those sites.
Sign up for the mailing lists: Enfamil, Similac, and Gerber Good Start, all have programs that you can join. They will send you vouchers worth a significant amount of money off your formula. Because these are checks, you can also use coupons with them. They are made out specifically to you and must be used by the person they are sent to. (Unless otherwise specified).
Enfamil: www.enfamil.com You will receive:
Up to $60 in coupons
Similac: similac.com/registration You will receive:
$20 worth of Shutterfly birth announcements
Weekly Pregnancy Journal (You have to request it from your OBGYN)
Similac travel bag (Available through OBGYN in third trimester)
Similac baby organizer (Available at the hospital)
Coupons for Similac formula (from mailing list)
Gerber Good Start: www.gerber.com/AllStages/Login/Register.aspx You will receive:
Booklets packed with tips and articles mailed to your home
Online tools and videos
E-mails specific to your childâ€™s age
Join the Publix baby club: www.publix.com/clubs/baby/Home.do
When you join this club, Publix will send you coupons for items that you need for your little one. I have friends in the club and they have received coupons for free items as well as $1 off any dairy product, $1 off any produce product and many others. Some of the coupons are for store-brand products and others are for the name brand. If you score a Publix store coupon for a name-brand product, you can stack a manufacturers coupon with it for additional savings. In addition to the great savings, youâ€™ll get a newsletter full of great info, and for first-time parents youâ€™ll get a free book â€śCaring for Your Baby and Young Child.â€ť
The last tip I have for you is to sign up for American Baby Magazine: Itâ€™s free. You can sign up at www.parents.com/american-baby-magazine/
Itâ€™s been awhile since I have had a little one, so feel free to share tips atSavvyshopper@savannahnow.com
If you have questions or tips for Savvy Shopper Michelle Rubrecht, send them toSavvyshopper@savannahnow.com or post them to Savannah Savvy Shopper on Facebook.