Parents, watch out for a rash of diaper price hikes

For families with young children, this really stinks.

Diaper prices are soaring and are threatening to wipe away lots of the new stimulus money parents will start receiving in mid-July. For six months, households will get up to $300 a month for each child, under a temporary expansion of the child tax credit.

Here, we get to the bottom of the diaper dilemma and help you come up with a leak-proof plan for your budget.

A load of diaper price increasesLADO / Shutterstock

Some parents already may be feeling some sticker shock — whether shopping for diapers online or in stores — as the prices have been steadily ticking upward.

Over the last year, the cost of these essential items has risen 8.7%, according to recent research from NielsenIQ, as reported by multiple media outlets.

And now, Kimberly-Clark, the parent company of Huggies and Pull-Ups, has announced that starting this month it will raise its prices by mid-to-high single digit percentages.

Procter & Gamble, which makes Pampers, Luvs and All Good diapers, plans to raise its prices in similar fashion come September.

The No. 1 reason for the higher pricesSiwakorn1933 / Shutterstock

Both companies have attributed the price increases to higher costs for raw materials.

Commodity prices and overall inflation are on the rise as the economy recovers from the COVID pandemic.

Procter and Gamble expects to pay an extra $125 million in commodity costs this year, while it also deals with transportation issues.

"Rates continue to be up. Drivers and rigs continue to be in short supply. Sea freight continues to be at a premium. So we continue to see that pressure mounting," P&G's chief financial officer, Andre Schulten, told analysts during an April conference call.

What to do if you're flushing your moneyDrazen Zigic / Shutterstock

Even before the pandemic and recent price increases, 1 in 3 U.S. families struggled to afford diapers. Infants go through up to 12 diapers a day, which can cost as much as $80 a month, based on statistics from the National Diaper Bank Network.

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If the rising costs are threatening your disposable income, here are some ways to make a change in your financial situation.

Slash the cost of your debt. If you’re struggling to pay off multiple credit cards and other debts at high interest rates, consider rolling your debts into one. Opting for a lower-interest debt consolidation loan can help you pay off your balances more quickly and affordably.

Make savings your policy. When was the last time you looked around for a better price on your auto insurance? If it’s been a while, you might easily be overpaying by more than $1,000 a year. Shop around to ensure you’re paying the best possible rate. And while you’re at it, use the same technique to save hundreds on health insurance.

Invest like a pro for pennies. You might not have a lot of money to spare these days, but there’s one simple way to change that. Download a popular app that allows you to invest your "spare change” and turn your pennies into a diversified portfolio.