I’ll go ahead and start this out by saying if you are not a parent or a parent-to-be you’ll probably find this post a big old snooze-fest. Fair is fair and you are most obviously not obligated to stick around. Second, I’m talking about money which is tacky and rude and full of assumptions (and we all know what making an assumption makes you….) but here I go with an earth shattering revelation:
Babies are expensive yo.
Of course this is something B and I knew and considered going into it. We saw the price tags on all the gear, both necessary and not (sorry but you can’t just not buy a car seat because they cost a lot of dollars) and we know how much higher education costs since we are still paying off law school, and we talked to friends about nannies and day cares and au pairs and we started calculating how much money here and there and into this account and that.
And while I knew the basics like diapers and formula (if you are using it, we supplement with it, end of discussion) and wipes could add up I didn’t really realize just how many diapers you need. Last month? We used 260. Wipes I have no idea but so far we’ve gone through a case of Pampers wipes and we’ve made a significant dent in a Costco case of wipes since February 1. Right around the time I found myself making yet another Amazon order of diapers I decided it was time to get savvy about all these necessities and I did some serious price comparing. Down to the penny. I figured out how much formula was per ounce and how many pennies I was paying per wipe and how many cents this diaper was versus that diaper. I busted out the Ti83 ya’ll. (Amazon did the math for me, but other stores made me do my own division.) (Please note I’ve been a long time Amazon devotee, as a Prime member for years as The Namby Pamby’s “sister” since you can add 4 people to your Prime account- and I do the vast majority of my Christmas and birthday shopping on Amazon.)
And I came to the conclusion that bar none, Amazon Mom/Prime + Subscribe and Save was the way to go. I compared the following:
- Buying goods at Costco, where we have a membership ($100 a year, we will pay for this no matter what, so sunken cost)
- Buying goods at Target and grocery store
- Buying goods on Amazon, where I have Amazon Prime ($79 a year, we use this like crazy, so sunken cost)
- Buying goods on Amazon with Subscribe & Save (you save 5%)
-Buying goods on Amazon with Amazon Mom + doing a Subscribe and Save bundle of 5 or more monthly items (you save 20%)
Generally speaking I found that Costco shopping was on par with costs similar to purchasing on Amazon with Subscribe & Save bundling, however you have significantly less choice in the brands you can choose from. For instance you can buy Kirkland (Costco’s store brand diapers) for about 15 cents a diaper versus Pampers Swaddlers (considered a “premium” diaper) for 16 cents a diaper, and you can buy wipes for 3 cents a wipe at Costco (Kirkland) or on Amazon (Pampers Sensitive).
The most expensive option, by far, was just shopping at the regular grocery store. How much more expensive? For us, about $110 a month more expensive. The next option is just using Amazon to purchase as you need things, with Prime you get free shipping and it is tax free and generally has a slightly lower price…compared to the least expensive option, this was about $45 to $50 a month pricier. Sticking with Subscribe & Save bundles of five or more (or using Costco for all your needs) was the best savings. Here, let me illustrate!
Earth’s Best formula, the formula we use, is about $31 a can at the grocery store near my house. Lets say you go through a can a week (which is on the high end if you are supplementing, lower end if you are exclusively formula feeding, we fall somewhere in the middle) so you are spending about $124 a month on formula. Yikes.
(At this point I’m embarrassed by my excitement of sharing non-earth shattering money saving tips. THIS IS WHO I’VE BECOME.)
If you order it through Amazon the regular way you can get it for $26 a can. And you can see, off to the side, if you do Subscribe & Save (i.e. you tell Amazon to deliver it once a month) you can get it for $24 a can. Yup, a lot cheaper for a month’s worth, you are now paying about $100 a month. Compared to grocery store shopping, you just saved yourself a night at the movies!
But wait, you say? There is a way to save even more?
(Most of you are like “hey dummy, we figured this out a long time ago” but you know what, I’m new to this so bear with me.)
Amazon lets you create a 5 item bundle with Subscribe and Save, and if you do that, you save 20% on all the items in your bundle. So once you hit the magical “5 items set to be delivered that month” you now see this:
And suddenly the formula is almost $21 a can, which means, well, $10 a can less than the grocery store by my house.
*Fans self with dollar bills*
(Don’t even tell me that if you exclusively breast feed you can save money on formula, THANK YOU CAPTAIN OBVIOUS, but some of us need a little help and saving money on formula offsets how much I’ve spent on making breastfeeding as successful as possible.)
Worth noting, I also compared prices with Honest Company, and while I love their cute products and their environmentally friendly message, for now it isn’t for us. B just can’t handle that their diapers don’t have a wetness indicator and we can’t get quite as good of a fit with our tiny child as we can with Pampers. Their diapers are about twenty eight cents a piece, and with all my savings here, I’m paying about sixteen cents a diaper – which is substantial when you factor that by over 200 diapers a month. If you buy premium diapers at the grocery store, you will pay about the same as Honest diapers, so it can be competitive and comes with the bonus of door to door delivery.
So now I have a monthly bundle coming from Amazon – diapers, wipes, Diaper Genie refill bags, formula, some dog supplies, hand soap for the bathroom, and laundry detergent. I don’t need all of these items monthly but I can pause a delivery and I have more than 5 items in my rotation so I’m confident that I can ensure 5 items being delivered every month, to put me into the 20% savings bracket. And worth noting, with Amazon Mom you always save 20% on diapers and wipes so if that is all you need you don’t need to create a 5 item bundle. Amazon Mom does require you to be the Prime subscription holder, so I did have to shell out for my own annual account, which is fine.
And for those of you who want to save on something not-baby related? The hand soap we use is about $3.50 a bottle at Target…with all the Amazon deals factored in, I can buy a 6 pack of the soaps for $16 and have it delivered to my door. Dollar, dollar bills.
All of this fails to factor in the awesome luxury of subscription services that arrive by mail: these items just show up outside my door and don’t require me to go out and buy them, which in the city where parking is scarce and our trunk is small…well, it helps.
And thus concludes my non-sponsored, totally not earth shattering post on how much babies cost and how Amazon is my new favorite thing all over again.
I promise to never go there again.