Monday, February 8, 2016

Diaper Stockpiling: Pros, Cons, and How-To's

Why I've Been Stockpiling

One of the first things I bought for baby Lucas was a pack of size 3 overnight diapers while I was still early on in my second trimester. Yes, definitely overkill but Donna sent me a link to a 50% off diaper promotion and that was one of the few sizes left by the time I got to it! But that got me thinking about stockpiling diapers since I'm such a planner. Just like I'm never short of toilet paper or feminine products in the house, I don't intend to be out of diapers. Imagine being with a newborn and no diapers in the house - trying to wrangle the newborn to the store with me to pick up some diapers definitely does not sound like a  good time!

Cons of Stockpiling

Unfortunately, now that I have nearly 1,000 diapers in Lucas' closet, I have read some arguments against stockpiling diapers:
  • You can never be sure which brand will work best for your baby until you actually try them on him.
  • Stockpiling often involves buying the jumbo box to get the best unit price - but if it's a brand you've never used before, you may only use one pack and find out the brand doesn't work for your baby and now you can't return the half used jumbo box.
  • Amazon makes it pretty easy to get relatively cheap diapers within a day or two so you don't really have to obsess that much beforehand.
How to Mitigate Against Stockpiling Risks

So...973 diapers later, I've given my stockpiling a rest. I still don't think it's a bad idea to stockpile diapers (assuming these diapers work for Lucas!). I doubt new moms have the time to be exploring brands, clipping coupons, and calculating unit cost the way I have been. I just think there are a few key ideas to keep in mind while stockpiling diapers:
  • Buy a variety of brands, sizes, and types of diapers. 
  • Buy smaller packs versus jumbo boxes to prevent waste (this one is hard to do though - the best deal tends to involve the largest boxes!).
  • Keep receipts taped to boxes so that you can exchange for a different brand or size if needed.
How Many Diapers Do I Need?

This one is really tough, since the answers vary so widely across the internet. This is expected since every baby is so different. All my real-life mommy friends told me to avoid premie and newborn sizes so I focused most of my buying efforts on buying sizes 1-3. I do have one pack of newborn diapers thanks to a free sample but otherwise, I didn't go out of my way to buy newborn diapers. I was pretty deliberate about trying to buy less than the recommended amounts, just in case. 

Here are some of the guidelines I found across the interwebz versus what I've currently bought:

SizeToys R Us GuideThrifty Frugal Mom 1Thrifty Frugal Mom 2Moola Savings QuantitySouthern Savers QuanityMy Current StockpileSouthern Savers Price/Unit
NB16021625210003613 - 16 cents
1160160280120084031111 - 14 cents
287064056060056040214 - 16 cents
387068413681200151222416 - 19 cents

I've been using the price/unit from Southern Savers blog as a guide but that was posted a few years ago and prices tend to be higher in the Bay Area so I don't beat myself up if I can't meet it. For example, I have found newborn diapers to be the most expensive size to purchase. But otherwise, it helps me understand if I'm getting a relatively good deal or totally ripped off - I'm looking at you, Jessica Alba! Your diapers may be honest but they're very expensive, even with 50% off coupons.

Stockpiling on Wipes

On the other hand, Jeff has let me go nuts with stockpiling on wipes, since there is no dependency on size and they are so much more versatile in usage. I don't think I'll be obsessing as much about what kind of materials are cleaning Lucas' hands or tables before eating. So far, I have almost 3,000 wipes of different brands. I find that a unit cost of $0.01 - $0.03 is relatively reasonable (although I'd expect wipes on the higher end of that range be specially formulated to be gentle, sensitive, etc.).

I don't think I'll be able to be as diligent about documenting my diaper purchase prices and usage going forward but hopefully this has saved me some time and money so that I won't be as frantic and desperate to buy diapers at any price for as quickly as possible once I have a crying, stinky baby. That has been my ultimate goal of stockpiling diapers (versus thinking that I'll never have to buy another diaper again). Although I did see an ad for infant potty training lessons yesterday...I had to force myself to walk away from that! I am definitely way too much of a planner sometimes. :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! As someone who literally did not have a single diaper in my house until we came home from the hospital (steal all the free diapers you can from the hospital!), this amazes me! Also, the sizes - Ryan was so tiny, he was in newborn sized diapers for 3 months before he "graduated" to size 1, ha! I think we'll be in size 3 for several years - I can't imagine how long it will be until he hits 28 pounds.