Baby Budgets

Solving the Diaper Dilemma

The world of diapers is often bewildering for new moms. Your busiest friends say to go with disposable for convenience, your fashion friends recommend all-in-one (AIO) systems for their adorable designs and your back-to-the-earth friends will only use chemical-free cloth. What to do?

In a way, they are all correct—at least for themselves. Choose the type of diaper that best suits the way you live and your family’s needs. Fitted cloth costs the least, and that’s often the best choice. However, if your new baby makes two or three kids in the house or if you just had twins, disposables may be the best way to protect your sanity.

In the end, it’s your decision. Here is a closer look at the options.

Disposable diapers

Disposables

Price $0.36

Widely available, no washing and easy to live with. Most expensive diaper to use, and a child creates a half ton of waste diapers a year.

Fitted cloth diapers

Fitted

Price $0.18

Reusable and the lowest cost per use. Lots of handling of dirty diapers; each time they are soiled, they must be washed.

Colorful all-in-one diapers

All in Ones

Price $0.20

Easy to put on baby and designs are very cute. But initial cost is high. AIOs hold in a lot of water and may leak. Must be washed.

Prices are approximations based on cost of one diaper change.

Diapering on a Dime

Your mother may have told you, “Buy items on sale and use a coupon.” That’s good advice.

• Manufacturer’s Website—Sign in to receive promotional offers and coupons. Check out www.huggies.com, www.pampers.com and www.luvs.com. For more baby coupons go to www.momsview.com or www.freebabycoupons.com.

• Internet—Some sites ship diapers at a discount. Go to www.retailmenot.com to find codes for free shipping and deep discounts.

eBay—We found 180 medium diapers for $34.99 with free shipping and 140 newborn diapers for $18.50 plus $5 for postage and handling. Only purchase if the diapers are in their original package and unopened. Choose a seller who has high feedback ratings.

Hidden Cost of Hiring a Nanny

If you’re going to employ a nanny, you’ll need to count all the costs, including taxes. Talk to your tax professional before hiring. Paying nannies can run anywhere from $5,000 per year to $50,000. In some cases, taxes are almost as much as the nanny’s salary.

You’ve no doubt heard all the buzz about the various “nanny taxes” that employers are required to remit to the government on behalf of their in-home employees. Although you may be tempted to avoid paying these taxes in the hope of cutting costs, don’t do it. If you get caught, you may find yourself on the hook for your share of the back taxes, the nanny’s share, plus penalties and interest.

On-line services promise to take the hassle out of handling payroll taxes. Check with the Better Business Bureau or your tax professional before signing up.

Taxes 101

Here’s the lowdown on the various types of taxes you, as the employer of a nanny, should know about:

  • Federal income tax
  • Social Security
  • Medicare
  • Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
  • State taxes