I consider myself to be pretty frugal.
And even though we fail with out budget as often as we win, we’re focused on quality and value. When we purchase an item, we’re more concerned about whether we actually need it and whether or not we are purchasing an item that will last us for years to come. When it comes to services, we’re more focused on whether the value we’re getting out of it is more than the dollar amount we’re paying for it than the actual dollar cost of the service.
That’s all to say that when it came to diapering our daughter, who turns 2 next month, we decided that cloth diapers weren’t for us. Those of you that use cloth diapers, you’re my heroes. I have 3 younger brothers and they were all cloth diapered. And since my youngest brother was 13 years younger than I am, guess who grew up with the whole process of cloth diapering?
Yep, you got it!
By the time I moved out (even though I wasn’t planning on having kids of my own) I knew that I definitely wasn’t going to do cloth diapers. Thankfully, my husband was on board with this, and since I started my adventure in frugal living shortly after finding out I was pregnant (and this blog too!), I determined that this whole diapering thing wasn’t going to be an expensive adventure.
I worked up a stockpile of diapers while I was pregnant, and during the first 6 months after my daughter was born through a combination of making extra money, taking advantage of good deals, and a little bit of couponing – but if you don’t like couponing, don’t let that deter you. I’ll explain in a minute.
My strategy for getting free diapers was 3-pronged:
- Finding ways to make extra money
- Scoping out the best deal to spend that extra money on
- Couponing for overage
Make Extra Money
At the core of my diaper deals was finding ways to make extra money. These money makers couldn’t take too much time, had to be very simple, had to pay out within 60 days, and had to pay out in the form of a check, PayPal cash, Amazon gift card, or CVS gift card. If it didn’t pay out in one of those forms, it wasn’t for me. You’ll see why as I go along.
Here are some of my favorite ways to make extra money:
- Opinion Outpost: Opinion outpost is a survey site that I’ve found pays very reasonably for offering your opinion. No survey sites are going to pay lucratively, but this one pays better than most. Each night when I got home from work (and sometimes at work on my lunch break) I would sit down and complete at least one survey. Over the year or so that I did this I earned almost $200 in Amazon gift cards.
- SwagBucks: Swagbucks was also one of my favorite ways to make Amazon gift cards. Swagbucks is a search engine that rewards you for using it to search. I set Swagbucks as my default search engine and usually earned 20-30 Swagbucks a day. To take it to another level, I also would complete surveys, watched video clips, signed up for no obligation special offers, printed and redeemed coupons, and more! Most days I would earn 30+ Swagbucks, resulting in $350 in Amazon gift cards.
- BestMark: BestMark was a double-edged sword for me. Not only did I start secret shopping oil changes and getting those oil changes for free, I would get paid $20-$45 per oil change shop in the form of a check, which went directly in the diaper fund.
- Screenwise Trends Panel: Screenwise Trends Panel is a browser extension that monitors your browsing habits (not your personal information ;-) I earned $2.00 per week, redeemable in the form of a CVS gift card every $25. Overall, I earned $50 in CVS Gift Cards.
- Amazon Mechanical Turk: When I had extra time, I would also do micro-tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Tasks are very simple, and usually are done for research, but every week I would usually earn $5, and I earned about $200 in the year during my spare time.
In total, earning extra money, whether it was in the form of cash or gift cards, I earned almost $1,000 that I then put towards strategically purchased diapers, which you will see how to do next:
Finding The Best Deals
Most of the best deals I found on diapers were in two places: CVS and Amazon.
Right now, let’s talk Amazon. The first and best way to save money on diapers is through a combination of AmazonMom and Subscribe & Save. Several times a year, AmazonMom will offer a 30 day trial of AmazonMom, and when you enroll in that free trial, you get a $25 code good towards any package of diapers. Then, when you subscribe to an auto-shipment you save up to 20% off the cost of whatever you’re buying.
Each time the $25 offer rolled around I would find a relative who didn’t yet have AmazonMom and ask them to take advantage of the offer for me, walk them through how to subscribe to save 20%, and then whatever balance was left I would cover with Amazon gift cards I had already earned. Once the diapers arrived, I would let my relative know and walk them through how to cancel the subscription.
Because there was no cost to cancel the subscription, I got several 200+ count boxes of Pampers and Huggies diapers completely free – shipping included!
However, those offers don’t come around every week, so I looked for other ways to save on diapers. One great place to look for the best deals is Jungle Deals and Steals. This website’s entire function is to monitor thousands of products for price drops. Then they compile the best daily deals and email them out to their subscribers. Nearly ever week I could get big boxes of name-brnad wipes for less than $0.01 per wipe, and diapers for less than $0.12 per diaper – these are all great prices, if you’ve been monitoring them.!
But just those strategies weren’t enough to get me enough diapers to get her through 2 years of diapers – strategic couponing was the tool that filled that gap.
Before I started this blog, I was an avid couponer, and I was awesome at it. But, as my focus shifted more towards blogging, my career as an accountant, and towards preparing for baby, I had less and less time to coupon.
The exception was drugstore and their amazing deals on diapers. Instead of couponing for everything, I picked on drugstore (CVS was my favorite) and monitored The Krazy Coupon Lady for the best diaper deals each week. Some weeks there were many diaper deals, but other weeks there were tons. I would use their coupon matchups to buy diapers at less than $0.12 per diaper, after ExtraBucks, and whatever cost was left after coupons I would cover with either the cash I had earned, or Amazon gift cards.
Even if you’re not a couponer, or even if you hate couponing, you should really give it a try! The Krazy Coupon Lady has awesome detailed tutorials of how to coupon at CVS or the drugstore of your choice (or even Target!) and they have the easiest to read coupon matchup format I’ve ever seen!
In total we bought:
- 100 Newborn Diapers
- 800 Size 1 Diapers
- 500 Size 2 Diapers
- 2,400 Size 3 diapers (she’s skinny and still in these right now)
- 600 Size 4 diapers
- 400 Size 5 diapers
If we had bought these at regular retail prices, they would have cost us more than $2,000!
But instead of accepting the cost, we got creative, were willing to invest maybe 1 hour each weeknight while watching TV, and made it happen for absolutely nothing!
How about you? How did you get creative and save money on diapers?
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