One of the first things we did when we decided to expand our family was get a Costco membership, which is probably one of the most “adult” things we’ve ever done. Costco offers serious savings especially for bulk shopping, but we noticed that diapers weren’t necessarily a great deal. Looking for the best savings, we asked ourselves, do diapers go on sale at Costco?
Diapers at Costco go on sale in a cyclical pattern, but you may see deals on some brands more often than others. Huggies and Costco’s own Kirkland Signature brand are more likely to go on sale than other brands. However, Costco is not necessarily the best place to purchase diapers; Amazon, Target, and Walmart are all likely to save you more money.
Keep reading as we get answers to this important question and provide tips about where else to buy diapers at a discount.
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Are diapers ever on sale at Costco?
A newborn baby will go through approximately 2,000 to 2,200 diapers in a year. With this in mind, a good portion of your budget will go to diapers at least until your baby is potty trained which won’t happen until 2-4 years old.
If you are a discount hog and bargain hunter like me, you probably have a Costco membership which can save you some serious money. The basic membership is $60 (annually) and will give you access to numerous deals and discounts throughout the year.
Costco usually has diapers on sale every 3 months. The best way to find out about sales is through their monthly savings coupon book which you can have e-mailed or mailed to you.
When Costco has a sale on diapers, there is usually a limit of 2 boxes. So even if you want to stock up more than that, this limitation will prohibit you from buying more than 2 boxes. If you chance upon a discount, usually it’s $5.00 to $9.00 off the normal box price.
The best thing about buying diapers in Costco is that it is available in bulk sizes, giving you a month’s worth of diapers. However, this can also be a potential downside if your baby needs to go up a size when you’re in the middle of your current box. Costco will not be able to accommodate returns of open diaper boxes.
The Kirkland brand is comparable to Huggies because it is made by the same company. If your preferred brand is Kirkland and can’t get over to Costco anytime soon to purchase more, Amazon carries the Kirkland diapers at a comparable price.
How often do diapers go on sale at Costco?
Some diaper brands go on sale more frequently at Costco than other brands. Huggies and Kirkland Signature diapers go on sale most frequently as they are Costco’s preferred brands.
Diapers at Costco usually go on sale every 3 months or so. These sales offer a discount of $5.00 to $9.00 off the regular price, and there is usually a limit of 2 boxes per membership.
If you’d like to find out when a sale is coming up, you can sign up for emails; if you’re a member, chances are you’re already receiving the monthly coupon book in the mail.
What is considered a good deal on diapers?
Knowing that you will spend a considerable amount of your budget on diapers in the first years, you should have a good working knowledge of what constitutes a good deal on diapers.
The most basic way to find out what store offers the best discount is by breaking it down to a per-unit cost. To determine the per-unit cost, you divide the total amount of the item by the total number of diapers included in the box.
If you’d like to see a detailed comparison of the price of diapers by brand, check out my full comparison of prices at Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Amazon. The results may surprise you!
For example, a 192-count box of size one Huggies Little Snugglers diapers at Costco costs $39.99, making the per-unit cost $0.21. Keep in mind that even when the cost of the box stays the same as sizes go up, there are often fewer diapers in the box (making the per-unit cost greater).
Should you buy diapers at Costco?
Everything you buy from Costco is considered bulk. These discounted wholesale prices are the beauty of having a Costco membership.
Having said that, are diapers always the best deal through Costco? The answer is: not necessarily.
We’ll compare Huggies Little Snugglers Size 1 diapers at Costco, Target, Amazon, and Walmart to find out whether Costco saves you money on diapers.
Buying diapers with Amazon instead of Costco
Who doesn’t have an Amazon membership nowadays? Amazon has truly embodied the meaning of having everything from A to Z.
Popular benefits include saving up to 20% on diapers, baby food, and other household essentials through Subscribe & Save. It’s super simple to sign up for Subscribe & Save, you just have to pick the frequency when you want the item to be shipped to you and that is it.
Let’s start with an apples-to-apples comparison: for a comparable box of diapers – in this case, Huggies Little Snugglers size 1 with 198 diapers in the box – you’ll be paying $52.99 ($0.27 per diaper) for a one-time purchase.
When you choose the Subscribe & Save option, the cost drops to $50.34 ($0.25 each); even better, if you have five or more items on the same auto-delivery, you’ll get a 15% discount, making the box of diapers $45.04 ($0.23).
Costco sells a box of Huggies Little Snugglers in size 1 with 192 diapers for $44.99, making the per diaper price $0.24. So, Costco comes out on top unless you can stack your Amazon subscriptions and snag that 15% discount.
Of course, buying a Costco membership just to save on diapers won’t end up netting you overall savings, so make sure there are other things you need or want at Costco.
Buying diapers at Target instead of Costco
Target is another popular store where you can buy your baby’s needs. They offer deeper discounts and savings through Target Circle.
With Target Circle, you get 5% off with any purchases made in-store or online using your Target RedCard. Target also has a lot of savings and discounts that change every month. They also offer baby coupons or getting a Target gift card back when you spend a specific amount on baby stuff.
For our comparison, we’ll look Huggies Little Snugglers in Size 1 again, but this time at a 168-count box (the 198-count box was out of stock at the time of this writing). The everyday cost of this box is $45.99 ($0.27 each). If you have a RedCard, you can get 5% off, bringing the price down to $43.69 ($0.26 each).
While this product is not eligible for a subscription discount, Target is currently offering a special deal where you can get a $15 gift card when you purchase $75 of baby care items. This would bring the per-diaper price to $0.22.
Target’s Up-and-Up brand diaper is $0.14 per diaper at regular price. You can also save additional money if you catch these diapers during one of the gift card promos.
In comparison, $0.14 is the cheapest per-diaper price for Costco’s Kirkland Signature diapers, even when they’re on sale.
Buying diapers at Walmart instead of Costco
Walmart is a retail giant that offers affordable prices and is competing with Amazon by providing 2-day delivery.
Since they already offer cheap prices, Walmart does not offer a subscription service or a loyalty program where you can get more discounts but they do have diaper sales every so often.
Walmart offers a 204-diaper box of Huggies Little Snugglers Size 1 for $63.90 when you buy online. You might think this would be a good deal because buying in bulk typically saves money. Not here – these diapers are $0.31 each.
As a reminder, Costco sells a box of Huggies Little Snugglers in size 1 with 192 diapers for $44.99, making the per diaper price $0.24.
However, Walmart saves you money when it comes to the store brand. Parent’s Choice Dry & Gentle Diapers are only $17.48 for a 162-count box, making the diapers just under $0.11 each.
Tips for saving money on diapers
As promised, here are a few additional tips for saving money on diapers:
Add the Rakuten browser plug-in to your computer before you shop for diapers online. You can get a percentage back of your total purchase from major retailers.
While it may only save you 1%, that adds up over time (and it’s free money!).
Create an Amazon Baby Registry
Sign up for an Amazon Baby Registry and add diapers to your registry. Besides getting your preferred brand from friends and family, you also get two 15% discount codes for your registry items. You can save up to $600 with these two codes.
Consider cloth diapering
I admit cloth diapering isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great way to save money (and keep diapers out of landfills).
Even if you can’t commit to full-time cloth diapering, you can still save money by doing it part-time, like on the weekends.
To save the most money on diapers, you’ll always want to calculate the per-diaper price from the retailers that you have access to. You’ll also need to account for any running promotions to get the best deal. Sometimes Costco does have the best price – other times, Target or Amazon can be a better bet.