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10 Tips: Don't let diapers become a dilemma

By Laura T. Coffey, Times Correspondent
Published March 2, 2008


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If you're a new parent, you may be far less concerned about saving for college right this minute than you are about finding ways to pay for all those diapers. These tips can help:

1 Cloth or disposable? You can save money over time by going with cloth diapers and washing them. Many parents reject this route, however, because of the inconvenience.

2 Do a little homework. Before nixing the idea of cloth diapers, research your options. The all-in-one cloth diaper features a diaper and a moisture-proof cover as one unit, and the diapering system has you insert a diaper inside a protective cover. These are nearly as simple to handle as disposable diapers, and neither uses safety pins. You do have to wash them, though.

3 Focus on fit. The real key to effectiveness for any diaper is how well it fits your child's shape.If you spot gaps or sagging, be forewarned: leaks happen.

4 Be open to store brands. If you use disposable diapers, don't feel compelled to buy a premium name brand. A recent Consumer Reports test revealed that store brands of disposable diapers performed exceedingly well. Costco's "Kirkland Signature" brand and Wal-Mart's "White Cloud" brand earned especially high marks. You can save about 10 cents a diaper, or nearly $200 a year.

5 Don't be overly swayed by absorbency claims. Despite the emphasis placed on absorbency in TV commercials, just about every diaper on the market today can absorb far more liquid than would ever normally be required.

6 Buy in bulk in person or online. Shopping in bulk really can help you save. It could be well worth the membership fee to join a warehouse club such as Costco or Sam's Club. Search for diaper deals online at sites such as www.amazon.com, www.drugstore.com and www.cvs.com.

7 Choose small diapers in big boxes. Opt for the smallest possible size that fits your child well, and then buy that size in a large container. More diapers will fit inside the box that way and you'll spend less money per diaper.

8 Just make sure the box isn't too big. In the early months of your child's life, he or she is likely to grow so fast that you might not be able to finish an entire giant megabox.

9 Hunt down diaper coupons. Look for them in the newspaper and sign up for special offers and coupons via diaper companies' Web sites. This step, however, could land you on multiple mailing lists.

10 Reflect on the pros and cons of disposable training pants. These pants are essentially diapers that look like underwear. They work well and make it easier to clean up accidents, but they pretty much do the same job as diapers for as much as 15 cents extra a pop. If you use these pants as underwear, make sure your child has mastered using the toilet. That way the pants could come in handy if your child needs a little extra protection overnight.

Laura T. Coffey laura@tentips.org

Sources: Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org); The New Parents Guide (www.thenewparentsguide.com)

[Last modified February 29, 2008, 21:18:10]


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