6 Ways to Cut Diaper Costs

Baby in a diaper laying on the floor
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The cost of diapering a baby really adds up. Even "cheap" disposable diapers are costly when you consider that your baby will use thousands of diapers before potty training. It's a necessary expense that can put quite a burden on your budget—costing most families approximately $1000 in the first year alone. Here are several ways to cut diaper costs, plus a potential resource if for families in need of some extra assistance.

Consider Generic Brands

Generic diapers can be significantly cheaper than name-brand disposables. Some generic brands are pretty good options, while others leave a lot to be desired. You can discover the most well-loved generic diapers by asking around or by checking out disposable diaper reviews online. Parents and caregivers often have strong opinions about diapers, and they're usually more than willing to share their thoughts. Note, however, that different diapers may fit better on different babies.

The following are some of the most well-known generic store brands and the average price for a box of their newborn size diapers. Note that prices may vary depending on the quantity and size purchased, the store, and fluctuations in price.

  • Parent's Choice (Walmart): $4.12 for 42 ($0.10 per diaper)
  • Up & Up (Target): $4.49 for 37 ($0.12 per diaper)
  • Gentle Steps (Dollar General): $4.95 for 40 ($0.12 per diaper)
  • Member's Mark (Sam's Club): $13.98 for 108 diapers ($0.13 per diaper)
  • Mama Bear (Amazon): $23.56 for 120 diapers ($0.20 per diaper)

Shopping Tip

When buying generic or store-brand diapers, carry a calculator with you (or use the one on your phone) so that you can compare the price per diaper between brands and different-sized packages.

Some store-brand diapers are not as great of a deal when you do the math. This may be especially true if the name-brand diapers are on sale.

Buy Diapers in Bulk

In general, you'll save money on diapers if you buy the biggest package you can find. This isn't a hard and fast rule, however, so be sure to check that "per diaper" price. Sometimes, sale prices or coupons on a specific size package might throw the "buy in bulk" advice right out the window—in which case, take advantage of the deal. Bulk-purchase stores often have great prices on their own diapers.

One popular choice is the Kirkland Signature diapers from Costco. A box of 182 size 1 diapers is available for $32.99, which is about $0.17 per diaper.

Even pricier eco-disposable diapers, such as Seventh Generation, can be purchased for less than $0.30 per diaper when you look for big packages. While that's not a cheap diaper in general, it's certainly cheaper than what you'd spend for smaller packages. If your baby is sensitive to other types of diapers, the cost may become relative.

Name brand diapers also commonly cost less when you buy a big box. Pampers Cruisers, when purchased in a small package of 44 diapers can cost around $0.56 per diaper. Buying a 160-count box for $44.71 drops the price to $0.28 per diaper. Among the store brand or generic diapers, you can still save a few cents per diaper by purchasing a larger package, too, which can save you $100 or more in just the first year of your baby's life.

Use Coupons

Coupons may require effort, but if you end up with really cheap diapers, it's an effort well-spent. To find great diaper deals, you can try signing up for alerts on some online coupon sites. CoolSavings.com often has printable diaper coupons for name brands. RetailMeNot.com also has printable coupons by store, plus you can search for online coupon codes for many stores that sell diapers.

Shopping Tip

Check the website of your preferred diaper brand to see if they have sample pack offers or coupons to print. Many brands offer these opportunities to save periodically, so it's worth checking back every few months.

One legendary cheap diapers deal happened at Walgreens when multiple coupons and store deals could be combined. The end result was diapers for less than a penny each. Getting alerts on coupons and deals really came in handy for these super-savers, since they were able to plan ahead to go to multiple stores and collect coupons to combine for the best prices.

If you prefer a specific brand of diapers, try asking your friends and family to watch for coupons for that brand. Look for stores that offer double coupon days, too, so you can maximize any savings you find.

Also, consider store-specific price-matching or savings apps. Target's Circle app lets you earn rewards and have access to deals, and Walmart's Savings Catcher will check prices at other stores and refund the difference if necessary.

Utilize a Diaper Subscription Service

The internet has made it even easier to compare prices and find cheap diapers. Many online stores offer big packages of disposable diapers, and when they're combined with free shipping, you can save quite a bit of money. Additionally, if you join a subscription program, you can save both time and money with discounts and no need for trips to the store.

Several retailers like Amazon and Target offer subscription programs that offer discounts on diapers and other items when you sign up for automated delivery of your favorite brand on your preferred schedule. There are also diaper companies that offer subscriptions that often come at a discount (and sometimes with free add-ons like wipes or other baby products).

Some are online-only brands like Dyper and Abby & Finn, while some can be found in stores as well as through their online subscription such as Hello Bello and Honest Company.

Many of these newer brands also offer significant discounts and incentives for first-time purchases. If you aren't loyal to a specific brand (or you simply haven't found your favorite yet), you can use these first-time offers to try several different brands while saving money.

Consider Other Diapering Options

Cloth diapers are traditionally a cheaper diaper option that might be a good fit for your family. While there is an upfront cost associated with buying the necessary supplies, the cloth diapers can be purchased second-hand and reused again and again, potentially for more than one child.

Pre-folds and inexpensive covers are one of the most economical cloth diaper choices. Some of the new all-in-one cloth diapers and hybrid diaper systems offer convenience and flexibility but be sure you calculate costs for whichever diapering system you choose. A very large stash of the most expensive cloth diaper style may not save you much money.​

With cloth diapers, you also must figure out your costs (and time required) for washing. If you have to pay for laundry, cloth diapers may not turn out to be the most cost-effective option. Some laundromats also have rules against washing diapers. If your child is in daycare, you may also need to check with the daycare provider to see if they are willing to handle cloth diapers. Some are not.

On the extreme side of diaper savings, some parents skip diapering altogether past the first few weeks. This process is called elimination communication (EC) or infant potty training. Parents who use EC try to learn their baby's subtle signals that indicate they need to urinate or defecate, and then they hold the baby over a toilet rather than have them use a diaper.

When You Need Help Buying Diapers

Then there are times when even the best diaper deals aren't enough to make ends meet. If you're struggling to keep your baby in diapers despite trying some of the strategies above, there may be help available within your community.

Some local food banks or community pantry sites receive diaper donations and distribute them to families in need. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) offices and other federal program sites don't typically cover diaper purchases, but they may be able to connect you with resources that give out diapers. Some communities now have diaper banks that host diaper drives and actively seek diaper donations for families in need. Your pediatrician may be able to help you access cheaper diapers as well.

A Word From Verywell

The quickly accumulating cost of diapers can surprise many new parents. While it can feel a bit daunting to cover the cost of so many diapers, there are ways to get diapers for less. And if you are struggling to pay for them, there are also resources out there that can help.

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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Buying diapers.