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A load of diaper price increases

A view of empty shelves at a department store during the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020.
Orlowski Designs LLC / Shutterstock

Last month, Kimberly-Clark — the parent company of Huggies and Pull-Ups — announced plans to raise its prices by mid-to-high single-digit percentages in both Canada and the U.S.

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

Factories faced a surge of demand in the early days of the pandemic as consumers panic-purchased items like toilet paper, paper towels and feminine hygiene products. At the same time, plants have been forced to operate under tougher safety restrictions.

But neither of those factors is the main reason behind the financial squeeze.

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The No. 1 reason for higher prices

Woman buys diapers for child at the supermarket, portrait of young mother in shop mall
Vladeep / Shutterstock

Both companies blame the price hikes on a spike in the cost of raw materials like pulp and recycled fibers.

Commodity prices and overall inflation are on the rise as the economy recovers from COVID-19.

While there’s no word on whether Procter & Gamble will raise its prices in Canada, too, the company said it expects to pay an extra $125 million in commodity costs this year while it also deals with transportation issues.

“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,” Chief Financial Officer Andre Schulten said during an April conference call.

What to do if you're flushing your money

Baby feet and a pack of diapers on a white bed.
RaspberryStudio / Shutterstock

Even before the pandemic and recent price hikes, 30% of Canadian families struggled to afford diapers, according to One Diaper Canada. Infants go through up to 12 diapers a day, which the charity says can cost as much as $3,000 a year.

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 or 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. Putting your money in a high-yield savings account can provide up to 125 times more interest than a typical savings account from one of the big banks.

  • Refinance your mortgage. Mortgage rates are shockingly low and aren’t likely to rise in the near future. While the upfront penalties to break your current mortgage can be sizable, refinancing into a much lower rate can save you thousands of dollars in interest over time.

  • Invest like a pro for pennies. You might not have a lot of money to spare these days, but that doesn't mean you can't invest and grow your wealth. Download a popular app that allows you to invest your "spare change” and turn your pennies into a diversified portfolio.

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