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May 06, 2006

Diaper Math for Engineers and Moms

Pampers is running another rewards program  (Gifts to Grow).  Every time you buy Pampers diapers, training pants, or wipes, you earn anywhere from 1 to 12 points (till December 31).  You can redeem awards starting at 20 points (small books and coupons) to 400 points (Kettler tricycle). 

As my husband is ashamed to admit, I love the thought of anything free.  I'm a sucker for coupons, loyalty programs, etc....  So when I found out about the Pampers promo, my mouth started to water.  My first thought was, I'm glad I have twins -- double the diapers!  My second thought was, too bad I need to start potty training very soon (I'll bet that's something you don't hear too often).  My third thought was, hold on, I buy Huggies, not Pampers.  Oh, well.  Never mind that Pampers don't fit as well as Huggies on my twins -- I'll switch.

But now my Engineer brain, so long dormant, is stirring.  Realistically, how many points can I earn between now and the end or the year (or when the boys are potty trained, whichever comes first)?   

First, let us assume that Philip and James will be in regular diapers from now until June 30, 55 days hence, when they turn 2.5 years old.  At that point, I will begin official toilet training, and keep them in disposable training pants for 90 days, at which point they will go cold turkey and switch to cloth pants.  I know, mothers of boys across the nation are snickering at my innocent goal of toilet-training twin boys at 2 years and 9 months old.  But I can dream, can't I?

The second assumption we will make is that Philip and James go through 5 diaper changes each.  After multiplying 10 daily changes by 55 diaper days and 90 training pants days, we have 550 diapers and 900 training pants.

Checking the Points Calculator on the Pampers website, it seems that the maximum number of points to be scored is on the 160-ct diapers (10 pts) and 66-ct training pants (5 pts).  At these quantities, 550 diapers makes just under 3 1/2 boxes and 900 training pants makes just under 14 packs.  That's 30 points total for the diapers and 70 points for the training pants.

(Side note:  At this point, the problem is beginning to resemble one of those case interview questions that consulting companies give prospective MBA hires.  Except the questions they gave me were far less interesting, such as how many gas stations there are in Chicago, or the size of the DVD market in HongKong.  Who cares?  Estimating the number of diapers your child goes through, now that's worthwhile!)

100 points -- not quite enough for the Kettler tricycle but enough for the LEGO Bob the Builder Travis and the Mobile Caravan.  Actually, it's currently on sale for $22 at AllAboardToys.com.  If I switch to Safeway or Target brand diapers, at just 3 cents per diaper cheaper, I could save $43.50, enough for 2 of these toys.  But heck, I'm going to start collecting the points anyway.