Diapers are expensive. At an average 20-cents per diaper (with 3,650 changes every year), that comes to a whopping $730. $61 per month.
Add that to formula, nursing supplies, diaper wipes, diaper cream, clothing, toys, and childcare, and multiply that to each additional sibling, and woah. Babies can seem like an endless money pit.
Ever the bargain-free huntress, I’ve found plenty of ways to pay for diapers. Here are 10 things that I do every month to offset the costs.
1. Every day, I print off 25 coupons on InboxDollars to earn $7.50 a month.
Yeah, yeah, I work here. Of course I’d say that. And I do. But it actually works. That’s an extra $7.50 a month cash for printing coupons, or 12% of my monthly diaper costs getting covered. For free.
Tip: redeem them in-store and earn an extra 10-cents for each coupon you redeem. There are loads of supermarket coupon deals for Tylenol, cereal, and you guessed it: diapers!
2. I let other people pay for my phone data to save $18 a month.
I lowered our data plan. It seems like everyone wants more data, right? We use our phones everywhere. And because everyone does, WiFi is everywhere. We have WiFi at home, so I always join our home network. And wherever I go — gym, hairdresser, airport, restaurant, stores – they all have free WiFi as well. Every place is giving you data for free. I don’t miss it.
The only time I actually seem to need to have data: running GPS on my smartphone if I’m going somewhere new.
3. I put grocery products on my head to save $9 a month.
With dry, coarse hair, I love conditioners, serums, and hair treatments with sunflower seed oil and coconut oil. But they’re expensive, like $25-$50 a month or more. And this is for just a tiny bottle.
Because coconut oil is expensive, right? But instead of paying $50 for a 6 oz bottle of hair product that contains “some” coconut oil, you can pay $7-$12 to get a 16 oz jar of 100% coconut oil. Much better deal. And because it’s more concentrated, you need to use less of it.
Since I go through about one bottle every three months and I save $27 a bottle, that’s roughly $9 a month I’m saving.
4. I canceled Nextflix to save $9 a month.
Gasp. We used to have it all: Hulu, Netflix, Sling. And all of these services together was so much less than cable. It felt so good to save.
But really, our “habit” is to binge-watch. And you can’t physically binge-watch more than one show at the same time, and found that there’s always one show you’re always into for a while. And then you discover something new. But it works out great since streaming services are flexible beasts with month-to-month plans, not yearly commitments.
So over 1-2 months, we’ll binge watch everything we’re interested in on Netflix. Cancel. And go onto Hulu. Watch everything we want to there, cancel, and onto the next. And we rotate that pattern. Right now, we have the Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN bundle because we were able to get all of them together cheaply as one package.
5. I plan our weekly meals in advance every Saturday to save $30+ a month on groceries.
This may sound odd. But taking 15-20 minutes to meal-plan each week has been such a money saver. When we don’t plan our meals in advance, two things happen:
1. We overbuy at the grocery store. There’s no list to stick to.
2. We eat a lot more fast food. Fast food dining is an unplanned, impulse buy 70% of the time. When we’re hungry and tired and have no plan for dinner, the lure of neon signs is powerful.
When we started making a deliberate effort to plan our meals (and we did so around weekly deals and savings at the supermarket), we shaved at least $30 off our grocery bill and even more off our total monthly “eating out” tab.
6. I buy discounted gift cards to save $5-$50 a month.
Sometimes people get stuck with unwanted store credit or gift cards. Or maybe they’d just rather have cash. Enter online gift card marketplaces and trading posts. People sell their gift cards for cash and you can also look for gift cards you do like to buy at a discounted rate. (And of course, the site gets their cut.)
My family, for example, tends to shop a lot at Target. (We live in Minnesota, land of Targets.) They have groceries there and dry goods, so it makes for one-stop shopping. On gift card sites, I’ll buy gift cards at 8% off (i.e. paying $92 for a $100 gift card). Which means I get to save 8% on of groceries, diapers, or whatever else I need at the supermarket.
Gift cards sites that I’ve used and like are:
Available gift card inventory can change a lot, and the discount amounts change all of the time. It’s a good idea to set up alerts and reminders to check-in.
7. I sell my kid’s outgrown clothes at Once Upon A Child for $10+ a month.
I bring my daughter’s outgrown items to Once Upon a Child. They’re a national consignment chain that buys gently used kids’ clothing, toys, and gear like baby carriers and strollers.
On some trips, the store will buy lots of items. On others, it seems like they reject almost everything. But on any given run, I’ll get anywhere from $8 to $27. I’m purging, which always feels good, and making some extra cash.
Tip: What gets purchased is always at the store clerk’s discretion. I’ve often seen them turn down items that I know are popular and in high-demand, but pointing this out isn’t helpful. So, when they pass on things that are in good shape and currently in-style (within a few years), I’ll bring them to a different Once Upon A Child location. (There are 2 of them within 5 miles of our house.) The other location will always take some of the goods off my plate. And sometimes, I’ll just hold onto the “good” rejected goods and bring them back to the same location on a different day. A different clerk is a different set of eyes with a different opinion. There was one dress I brought in on 4 separate trips (rejected each time) before it got accepted on the fifth.
If the item has stains, holes, or lots of fade, or was manufactured a while ago (say 2002), I’ll either donate or discard.
8. I “listen” to InboxDollars videos every day at the office to earn $2-$5 a month.
Again, yeah. I work for InboxDollars. But, that’s probably what prompts me to actually use the site to make money. Some of the earning activities InboxDollars offers, I don’t like. And some, I do.
InboxDollars Videos lets you get paid to watch streamed content from different across different categories like News, Celebrity, Food, etc. The blurbs are actually fun; they give you snack-size bits of news, politics, celebrity gossip, and trending stories.
I tend to enjoy just “listening” to the news while I start off my workday. Typically, I’ll earn $2.20 to $4.62 a month doing this every day Monday to Friday. It’s not a lot, but I enjoy it. I don’t get paid anything for watching or listening to YouTube videos or other podcasts. And it’s enough to pay 11 to 23 free diapers a month, I reason. No sense leaving free diapers on the table.
9. I buy my family ugly-looking produce to save $20 a month.
One of my girlfriends shared Imperfect Foods with me, and I’m now a huge fan.
Imperfect Foods sells imperfect produce (and other grocery goods) to consumers at 30% off grocery store prices.
The reason for the imperfection is always shared with you, and some of the reasons include inconsistent sizing, small size, surplus, scarring or bruising, inconsistent coloring, package changing, low market demand, or other cosmetic imperfections.
The food is still perfectly good to eat, but because of any one of these so-called imperfections, thousands of pounds of food are thrown out every single day.
Imperfect Foods is like CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) boxes because you are supporting local farmers. However, the difference is it’s much cheaper (even cheaper than grocery stores because you’re getting flawed goods) and you can pick out the items that you want. No getting fancy-looking root vegetables you’ve never heard of before. It gets conveniently delivered straight to your door. And if you’re a SNAP recipient, you can enjoy special discounted rates.
10. I go to Swagbucks before every Amazon trip.
Like InboxDollars, Swagbucks has a lot of cash back shopping retail partners and Amazon is one of them. (With cash back shopping on Swagbucks, you visit a retailer’s website through one of their links and earn a portion of whatever you spend there. You earn it in the currency of SB, and it’s 100 SB to one dollar.)
With Amazon, you can earn up to 5% cash back. It depends on the category. Not every item on their site is eligible, but for example, you can earn 5% cashback for apparel or 3% cashback on pet supplies or sports and fitness equipment.
The available stores, categories, and cashback percentages will change from time to time, but it’s a no-brainer. If you already shop at Amazon, JCPenney, or Retailer X, you might as well make money off of your purchase.
11. I take pictures of my receipt to make $2-$10 a month.
There are plenty of smartphone apps that will pay you cash for submitting pictures of your receipts. Typically, it’s tied to the purchase of a specific item. Buy 1 box of “Brand X” and earn $0.75. It’s not a ton of money, true. But you made the purchase anyway, you might as well get paid for it. It all adds up. And in many instances, you can earn just for purchasing items in a certain category (dairy, eggs, produce) so it can be any brand.
Similarly, you can upload your receipt for in-store purchases on Swagbucks and earn cash rewards. You earn for the purchase of specific items (i.e. Dove 6 oz. bottle), and you may be required to purchase it from a specific retailer (i.e. Walmart). The retailers and featured items change periodically. But again, you already bought the item. They’re willing to pay you for it. Don’t leave money on the table!
12. I go out to eat with the family on Tuesdays to save $40+ a month.
Foot traffic is lighter in restaurants on Tuesdays so the deals are a lot sweeter. Search your local area, but where we live, there are quite a few joints that will offer 15% to 20% off your tab or multi-course meals at a special rate, like a pizza, an appetizer, and a bottle of wine for $29.
Additionally, there are a lot of kids-eat-free restaurant deals that happen on Tuesdays.
So those are the 12 weird things I do to pay for diapers every month. You can find even more tips (weird and non-weird) on scoring diapers and free baby swag on InboxDollars. Or if you’re feeling extra motivated, check out ways to make money online in your PJ’s.
If you’ve found any of my 12 “weird things” intriguing or helpful, please share this post!