I received this question from Jane, a reader looking for advice on diapers:
Hello! I was wondering if you could help me figure out a good stock up price for diapers. My husband and I are planning on having kids pretty soon and I’d like to start stocking up. I realize diapers come in many different sized packages, so I’m not positive how you determine stock up price. I’d assume you cost per diaper. I found some diapers on the clearance rack the other day that worked out to be $.07 each, but this was for the store brand. Help!!
Here’s the short answer:
You start buying diapers when you can get the name brand for less than the generic equivalent at Walmart, Walgreens, Albertsons, or Target.
I personally like the Target store brand (up&up) a bit better than the others, so we’ll use the up&up prices as our comparison.
Target sells the large box of up&up diapers for $19.99 in the store, regardless of size. The smaller the size diaper, the more diapers are included in the box. This goes for all diapers out there — a Jumbo pack of diapers is the same price, it’s the quantity that is different.
To make your life easier, it’s best to choose one size diaper as your price reference point and stick to it until the end of time. This way you only have to memorize one number. Since it’s my blog, I declare that the size 4 diaper price will be our reference point. Even if your baby is currently in size 2, just compare the prices for size 4 diapers and you will automatically know if you’re getting a good deal on size 2’s.
A “Club Pack” of up&up diapers at Target breaks down to 16.1 cents per size 4 diaper. I suggest you start purchasing diapers when you can get Huggies or Pampers for significantly less than 16.1 cents per size 4 diaper. Otherwise, it’s a better use of your time to just go to Target and purchase the big box of up&up’s, right?
Most diaper deals that involve coupons are on Jumbo packs of Huggies or Pampers (the smallest size packages).
The Huggies Snug & Dry Jumbo Packs (the cheapest Huggies line) have 31 size 4 diapers per pack. 31 diapers at 16.1 cents each = $4.96. This means a jumbo pack of Huggies Snug & Dry needs to be priced below $5 for me to start purchasing them. I suggest you don’t even consider deals that are more than $4 per jumbo pack. I start buying like a madwoman at $3 per pack.
Here are the two numbers to memorize:
Stock-up when size 4 diapers are 13¢ each or less
Stock-up when jumbo packs are $3.50 or less
Note that the more premium diapers in the Huggies and Pampers lines have less diapers per jumbo pack, so make sure you do your “price per size 4” calculations on the Little Snugglers & Little Movers (Huggies), Pure & Natural (Huggies), Swaddlers (Pampers) and Cruisers (Pampers) and don’t just assume that $3.50 per pack will be a good deal.
Sometimes you will find a store brand diaper on a great sale, like Walgreens, Walmart, or Albertsons diapers, or on clearance. I personally lump all diapers in the same group, so I would buy store brand diapers at $3.50 per jumbo pack. If you’re leery, set your stock-up price for store brand diapers at $1 per jumbo pack less, or $2.50 per pack.