Basic household items like toilet paper and laundry detergent can be purchased in most major retail stores. And in many cases, these items can be purchased in bulk to cut down on costs.
But, what about baby gear? There is no shortage of large retailers selling these items,either, but buying in bulk (except with diapers and wipes, of course!) isn’t really an option. So, when it comes to popular baby gear, who has the best prices overall?
I did a cost comparison of nine common baby items at Babies R Us, Target, and Amazon (this list shies away from baby ripoffs). The price leaders are in bold, and for my methodology, see below. You might be surprised at which retailer came out ahead.
Retailers: Babies R Us/ Target/ Amazon
-Chico Keyfit 30 Carseat: $189.99; $179.99; $174.99
-Delta Sedona Classic Crib: $249.99; $229.99; $269.98
-Desitin Diaper Rash Ointment (4 oz): $5.99; $5.24; $5.33
-Bumbo Chair :$39.99; $33.99*; $39.74 (*diff brand)
-Chico Cortina Stroller: $179.99; $152.99; $153.55
-JP Lizzy Classic Tote Set diaper bag: $85.99; $73.10; $86
-Carter’s Wrap Me Up receiving blankets (4-pack): $16.99; $12.99*; $16.99 (*slightly larger blanket)
-Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe Baby Wash (28 oz): $6.79; $4.99; $4.97* (*price is actually $9.94 for two-pack)
-Graco Direct Connect baby monitor (two receivers): $89.99; $89.99; $85.13
Totals: $865.71; $783.27; $836.68
Who is the big winner?
Target came out as the overall price leader, with these nine items costing a grand total of $783.27. The tally at Amazon rose to $836.68, and at Babies R Us it was $865.71. Target had six low price leaders while Amazon had three and Babies R Us had none (before coupons).
If you factor in buying these 10 items at Babies R Us with a 10% off coupon (which are often available) the total drops to $779.14 and Babies R Us becomes your price leader. This should give you an idea of just how closely these retailers price their products.
The competitive pricing is good and bad. It makes it easy to tip the overall winner in favor of the store you prefer by using coupons, free shipping offers, and rewards programs. Except it also means there is no single,true price leader. Constant price comparison and shopping multiple stores is a must for true bargain hunters. In my opinion, shopping at second hand stores or getting baby stuff for free is an even better way to save on common baby items.
Methodology: I compared online prices at Babies R Us, Target, and Amazon on Nov. 10, 2011. Prices are for the exact same products, unless otherwise noted in italics. I did not include shipping charges as it’s possible to waive this fee with a coupon or bulk purchase. I did not take into account coupons, which are often available at Babies R Us, and occasionally, at Target. Additionally, I did not factor in the Amazon Mom discount, which offers an additional 30% off diapers and some other baby supplies. Prices vary in-store.
Julia Scott writes the money-saving blog BargainBabe.com. She is due in January.