Sunday, October 10, 2010

How to Save a Bundle

First, don't have twins. Haha. But if you do have twins (or more!), you'll definitely appreciate this.

OK. Let's begin with diapers. My girls go through an average of 10 diapers a day. That's 70 diapers a week, 280 diapers a month. Most economy boxes of diapers are around 180 to 200 diapers. That's more than one huge box of diapers a month. If I paid full price for Pampers Swaddlers (which is my diaper of choice), I would pay around $42 for each box. That works out to about $0.23/diaper. That's $504 per year. Ouch.

The best way to save money was to not buy diapers at the store. There is no store--not Wal-Mart, not Costco, not Big Lots--that has diapers cheaper than you can get them online. When they were wearing newborn and size 1, I bought them a It's my favorite site (if you'd like to get some wonderful stuff there, use my link over there to the right). When they moved to size 2, Amazon's wonderful Subscribe & Save program became my best friend. If you sign up, you get an extra 15% off your purchase. Amazon already sells Pampers for less than retail, so that brought my price of diapers down to $33.50, saving me nearly $100 over the course of a year. Not bad, right? Do you want to know what's even better? The Amazon Mom program. Through this program, you get the normal 15% off from Subscribe and Save, but then you get an additional 15% off, and now I'm paying under $30 for that 184-count box of Pampers Swaddlers, and that means I'm saving over $170 a year. That's better.

For the past few months, I've been overjoyed at my savings. Instead of paying $0.23/diaper, I've been paying $0.15/diaper. YAY! I decided that this wasn't quite enough. I'm not teaching any classes this quarter, so money is a little tight. If I can save even more, I would be a happy camper. When they were small, I tried Target brand (not cheaper than buying them from Amazon). I tried Huggies (which cost more than Pampers all around). I also checked out Luvs (which were too thin and smelled odd to me). I didn't like any very much.

Now that the girls have gone up another size, I decided to give another brand a try: Fisher-Price. Yep, Fisher-Price makes diapers! They're called Happy Days and Happy Nights. I bought a box through Amazon using the Subscribe & Save plus my Mom discount. I paid, wait for it, $13.99 for a box of 96 diapers! That's $0.14/diaper. Pampers Cruisers (their new diaper) are $0.17/diaper. That's an extra $32 saved. If I bought a 160-count box of Cruisers in a store, they would run me about $41 or $0.26/diaper. That means I'm saving $0.12 on each diaper by changing to Fisher-Price. That means I'm saving $436.80 a year.

Next up--formula. I envy all the women who are successfully breastfeeding their babies. Not only because you get to have that awesome bonding time with your kiddos, but also because you don't have to worry about schilling out $200 or so to buy formula. Our girls have been eating Similac Sensitive exclusively since they were about a month old.  Just as with the diapers, we tried different formula.  Enfamil seemed to cause more gas. The Target brand of Similac caused a really bad case of constipation in both of them, so brand name is where we stayed.

But when Similac had their huge recall, we were spending lots more to buy liquid formula and smaller cans of the powder. It just isn't cost-effective, so I looked for a new solution. We were originally purchasing our formula is the huge, huge tubs (by the case) from Costco. A case ran us about $200, that worked out to about $23 per 40 bottles of prepared formula. Since the girls are older, I decided to give the Target brand another try. I haven't researched per unit costs so much, so you'll just have to bear with me and my approximations. Two large canisters of Target brand sensitive formula costs $27. Two cans probably make 50 or so bottles. Without any complicated math, that saves us some serious cash in the long run.

So what's the lesson learned? Buy online. Second lesson? Don't be afraid to check out different brands. If your child gets sick or develops a rash, simply stop using it and return to your tried and true brand...that you're now happily buying online.

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