We find that understanding our baby supply costs and consumption pays off in several ways. Not only does it help us look for ways and places to cut costs, but it also helps us buy our regularly used products more efficiently. With baby supply costs often being drawn out over a period of years -- a little bit here and a little bit there -- the effects of such cost totals might not be felt immediately. However, moving into our second baby experience, we're much better acquainted with how to monitor, understand, and control these costs in an effort to minimize their impact, which can be significant over time.
Diapers and Wipes
The cost of a single diaper or a single wipe may at first seem minimal. I mean, ten or twenty cents might seem like a drop in the overall financial bucket. That's just the problem though, these costs can be deceiving. It would be fine if our baby only used one diaper a day, but that number is closer to 12 or more a day right now. How do I know this? Well it really wasn't that hard.
To determine our baby's consumption, I simply counted the number of diapers in our baby's bedroom diaper bag in the morning, counted them again the following day at the same time in the morning, and the difference gave me a number of how many had been used. Doing this over several days gave me an average consumption rate. Knowing that we typically use one wipe for each diaper changed (at this point, but I'm sure it will go up as she grows), I could make that correlation as well. Then all I had to do was take the price for a package of wipes ($8.63) and diapers ($6.46), both with tax included, divide that amount by the number per container, 480 and 50 respectively, and I had a price per changing amount. That amount came to about 14.7 cents per changing over 12 diaper changes a day -- about $1.76 -- or $53 a month.
This information pays off in helping me understand consumption, determine purchase levels, doing cost analysis versus other brands, as well as budget better for such costs.
With our first child, there were issues with breast feeding and we had to go largely with formula instead. Much like my way of figuring out diaper costs, I did the same thing with formula, getting a cost per serving average and being able to break that down over a day's consumption to determine cost per day and cost per month totals.
I could see the cost savings with breast milk as compared to formula coming from a mile away with our second child. With my wife pumping breast milk like crazy, we were thankfully not in need of much formula this time around. However, this didn't mean there weren't costs involved or ways we could continue to keep costs low.
With my wife able to borrow a great breast pump from a friend, we initially started with this as supplement to breast feeding; however, we ended up going to bottles of breast milk since daddy was in charge of feeding baby again after mommy returned to work. Therefore, we built up a stockpile of breast milk in our freezer using bags made specifically for the purpose. A container of such bags ran us about $9 for a package of 50, 6 ounce bags, which was great considering a container of formula that would last us about a week ran over $14. The money-saving problem came with the storage of these bags. Early on (thankfully), I realized that my wife was not labeling these bags with creation dates. This would have left us guessing about when these bags were filled and their potential for spoilage among dozens of such bags in our freezer.
Therefore, we started labeling each bag with the date it was pumped so that we knew exactly which bags to use first and in what order. Even having to buy a couple packages of these breast milk bags will likely save us around $50 a month compared to formula costs, and over the course of a year this equates to about $600.
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