Sunday, May 20, 2012

Buying Baby Needs: A Comparison

Buying diapers and formula for your baby is one of those things that is constant....constantly expensive.  I know some of you have been lucky enough to breastfeed for a long time.  And I know that some of you parents have elected to use cloth diapers.  Some of you do a combo of those.  And some of you need to constantly replenish the formula and/or the diapers for your children.

When I had Baby Bug I found that with 2 in the house this got to be an even crazier endeavor.  Then AmazonMom.com changed it's program (it's back, keep reading).  So I went on the prowl for the best deal.  Here is what my personal experience yielded.


A couple of things to note about this article and information. I did compare apples to apples.  At my house we use a namebrand formula and the same diapers every time.  So I was always looking at the same brands and sizes. Please know, too, that I was buying the biggest box of diapers I could every place I went and the box sizes were different.  You get per diaper cheaper the larger the bulk size so I went with the biggest bulk I could for sale at each place.

Also, things tend to change fast with pricing, deals, coupons, and discounts.  Take the research I did as guidelines but do be aware that the fat lady hasn't sung on this issue yet...and she may not.

Now I know everyone loves BJ's and even Costco for good deals on buying in bulk.  But for me, it doesn't work out well on a personal level.  You have to buy a yearly membership to join either of these discount clubs (not a terrible thing and not too expensive) but then you also have to GET there.  I live in a part of Chapel Hill where access to either one of these is a total pain and a big car trip.  So that was not a feasible option for us.  If you have prices and information to help folks out on this one, please leave a comment!

I took a look at the spots where I could get formula and diapers in a jiffy.  I went to my local grocery store. Harris Teeter is the spot closest to me and has the benefit of being a one-stop shop for me since I can get my groceries there (and even has an online service that makes life even better).  I also priced out my items at Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us, the two places that specialize in keeping parents hooked up with all their baby's needs.

I went to Target for research and to buy my stuff because, let's be honest, who doesn't love Target?  (I don't shop at WalMart, so didn't price that out folks, sorry.  But if you are a WalMart person feel free to weigh in on the comments.)

I did not look at any drug stores since, well, the drug stores near me don't really have what I need and what they did have DEFINITELY did not fit the bill for being the cheapest. 

Ok I know you are on the edge of your seats to get the results of my less-than-scientific research.  Here is what I found...

Target was the clear winner.  That made me happy since I can get Starbucks there while I get my baby stuff (I did not factor the cost of those mochas into the overall cost comparison here).  Target was the cheapest per diaper for name brand and cheapest by a lot if you get the Target brand.  They also were very great per ounce when it came to formula since you can buy namebrand formula in bulk, which you can't do in too many places.  You can get an even better deal on formula here if you buy Target brand (which we considered but given how much we travel we didn't want to be in a predicament where we were in a low formula situation and had to find a Target).  Plus if you get a Target RedCard you can save 5% on every single Target purchase.  AND I love that I can get nearly everything I need at the SuperTarget which means one stop for house, grocery, clothing, gear, office supplies, and more, all for good prices.

Babies R Us came in a very close second.  That should make all you folks who live over near Southpoint pretty happy.  Again, if you elect to use the Babies R Us brand you can get an even better deal on your goods (still not as good as the Target brand deal).

Harris Teeter was, alas and perhaps not surprisingly, not the cheapest spot.  Even though I get to save in gas money when I go to the Teeter, the formula at HT was 2 cents more than the Babies R Us same size/same brand deal and diapers were .02 cents more expensive than Target prices of the same brand and 1 cent more expensive per diaper than the Target brand.  So not a huge difference but not the cheapest either (I did not factor in my mocha purchases at my local Teeter either, which has a Starbucks).

Buy Buy Baby was a huge loser in my book/blog/whatever.  Their diapers were only .03 cents more expensive per diaper than Babies R Us of the same namebrand yet a full 15 cents more expensive per diaper than Target of the same namebrand then a full 20 cents more expensive than the Target diaper brand. (I did the math, and had DH check my math, and it really is that big a difference.)  And I couldn't even compare the formula we use since all 5 times I went in they weren't carrying my brand.  They had a shelf for it and a label for it, it was just completely empty every time.

What about online sites and diaper bargains online?

Diapers.com is the most popular online website so I took a look at them, of course.  Their prices were pretty consistent with what Target charges, in some cases even cheaper!  You do have to pay shipping fees here, of course.  But then they usually run deals and promos on that.  Right now, for example, if you buy more than $49 worth of stuff you get free 2-day delivery.  In fact, Diapers.com is always running coupon deals.  You can get a coupon for being a first time customer, and search online for coupon deals since there nearly is always one available.  Diapers.com sells more than just your average diapers, too.  You can get overnight diapers, toys, clothes, and more.  There are also several company websites attached to Diapers.com, too, that you can pay the same shipping cost on.  The BIGGEST benefit of shopping online?  Not only are you getting a great price but it is showing up at your door.  You can save money by brewing your own coffee and not spending gas money.  Plus you don't have to worry about things like getting out of your bunny slippers and getting the Cheerios out of your hair or spit up off your shirt.  You know, little nuisances like that.


As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, AmazonMom.com has a program for moms with wonderful rewards and prices that came highly recommended. AmazonMom.com has all those great things that Diapers.com has.  You can order online, it sends you reminders to refill your orders without having to re-enter items each time, and it is pretty smart and personalized.  Being an AmazonMom means that you get 20% off all baby care items and you get 2-day free shipping (if it Amazon Prime eligible, which most diapers and formulas are).  Nice.  But from my experience the price, even with the 20% off, is still a little more than you would find at Diapers.com and in some cases Target.  But the convenience sure is nice!

I know you all work hard for your money and you all work hard to keep your kids healthy, happy, feed, and clean.  Do you have any other tips for us on how to keep those kiddos diapers and fed while also saving some precious coins?

4 Comments:

At May 20, 2012 at 9:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We did the cents per diaper comparison too, and happened to love the Target diapers (cost aside) over the other brandname ones we tried. They just fit kiddo's shape better. So we do Target for diapers, but Costco for wipes. Costco has become worth the drive now that kiddo is older (plus you can pair it with a trip to the Museum of Life and Science!)

 
At May 21, 2012 at 3:43 PM , Anonymous Heidi said...

I found Costco cheapest for both diapers (huggies) and formula (no name/whatever is cheapest). I am lucky that I live only 10 minutes for Costco.

 
At May 22, 2012 at 9:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We use amazon but don't do the amazon mom because we found that for us, the cost of amazon prime is more than the extra 5% off we would get for being in amazon mom/amazon prime. We do subscribe and save which still gives you a discount and most items are still free shipping as long as they are over $50 (for less expensive items i just buy large enough quantities to get free shipping). We have also bought most of our toiletry products (lotions, soaps, shampoos, etc.) this way. It saves a little money and is super convenient. I think the biggest advantage- it keeps me from going to Target every week for "a few things" which always turned into at least $100!

 
At August 4, 2012 at 9:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do shop at BJs, I compared size 3s this is what my son is in I compared huggies snug n dry, pampers baby dry, Luvs, and the BJ brand here is the results note I didnt include any coupon prices:

Luvs- 204 diapers- PDC-.14
Pampers baby dry- 204 diapers- PDC-.20
Huggies snug n dry- 192 diapers-PDC-.20
BJ little groovers-160 diapers-PDC.-.14

I buy LUVS because my son broke out in BJ brand, Huggies leak, and well even thou I like Pampers baby dry to they cost way to much per diaper. I can get the LUVS at .12 PDC with the coupon BJ puts out every other month.

 

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