By Jill Scott
Hi, my name is Jill, and I love to coupon.
Now, you may have seen shows like Extreme Couponing where people come away with 94% savings on shopping trips. These usually give them a lifetime supply of small toothpaste tubes and 100 yogurts that are going to expire in a week. I am not one of those couponers. I am, however, a parent of three young boys whose family is having a go at being a one income household.
The cost of diapers is a nightmare. I was blessed with a six month supply from friends and family after the birth of the twins. Like all things, it ran out while the cost of living (and formula for another six months) remained. This led me to research and try out the many methods of saving money out there.
There are tons of options for buying diapers on the cheap and not one of them works all of the time. What does work is knowing your options, having a game plan and following through with your couponing.
Step 1 - Gather coupons
Companies like Proctor and Gamble, Kimberly Clark, and even Fry’s generic brands want to introduce you to their products. Coupons are marketing tools to get products into your home so that you will buy them again. This means companies are in constantly putting coupons out there. Here are a few ways to get them.
Lost coupons never get used. Even worse, they stick to the graham cracker crumbs and uncapped lip balm in the bottom of your diaper bag. Do yourself a favor and buy an organizer to keep in your bag everyday. Find one with sections and label them (food, baby, cleaning, health, Target, etc). Put the new coupons in the back of each section and purge expired ones at least once a month. This is the model I have been using for a while.
Step 3 - Be Loyal
The reality is that joining Fry’s Rewards programs or Safeway Club Card allows retailers to track your purchases and keeps a tab on your spending habits. While this may have you hiding in your master closet wearing a tin hat, the upside is that it allows businesses to customize their offers to you. Fry’s knows we’re a young family and is very generous with their coupons and specific-to-our-family promotions called Best Customer Bonuses often on young child items (including diapers, but also food pouches, eggs, and breakfast sausage - don’t keep the Scott Boys away from their turkey sausage).
Step 4 - Throw All Loyalty Out the Window
Children have sensitivities and allergies and preferences, but if you want to make things really work you can’t have a favorite brand. Cartoon logos might be different. They smell different. Certain styles may hug them more or allow more movement, but overall diapers are all the same thing. Huggies and Costco’s Kirkland diapers are made in the same place as are Pampers and Luvs. So long as they don’t leak or cause an irritation, buy everything.
Step 5 - Stack Stack Stack
Some retailers have really cool ways to extend savings. Target for example, has its seasonal promotions on diapers ($25 gift card for $100 purchase or $15 off instantly of $100), What they’re not telling you is that the boxes sold are generally at a higher price. However, you can bring in a Manufacturer’s coupon, a Store coupon (often found in those mini coupon books for newborns), and add on Target’s Cartwheel (again an electronic app with offers that download to your phone for 5%, 10%, etc items). If you aren’t brand loyal, you can walk away great savings on diapers to create a small stash (not stockpile) of diapers that will keep you in business until you breathe a sigh of potty-trained relief or another promotion is offered, whichever comes first.
And two brief bonuses for overachievers:
Many stores price match if you bring in a physical ad of a competitor. If you know what’s going on at Walmart, Target, Fry’s, etc. most stores will honor the price to keep your business.
If prices drop within a week or a new promotion is offered within a store you shopped, you can normally bring in a receipt for a refund.
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