How to Save Money on Infant Formula

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We all know that it is best to breastfeed your baby.  However, there are situations which come up which may require your baby to need formula in addition to, or in lieu of breastmilk.   If you’ve priced formula lately, you know how very expensive it can be.  Here are some things you can to do try to save money while still feeding your little one.

Sign up on-line.  Many companies, such as Similac, have membership clubs you can join for free.  You simply fill out their form and then you will receive coupons and offers directly from them.  You can try Similac, Enfamil, and Gerber.  (Hint – ask your family and friends to sign up as wells and pass along coupons and offers to you as well).

Shop from home.  You can check out Amazon, Diapers.com and other baby sites to see if you can’t find better deals than you might find in the stores.  Sometimes, when you purchase in larger quantities, you can find discounts.    When you join Amazon Mom, you can always save on the purchase of diapers, wipes and other baby items.

Shop at mass merchandisers. Formula sold by mass merchandisers, such as Wal-Mart, Costco, and Sam’s Club, cost as much as 16% less than what you will pay in supermakets.  Drug stores are the most expensive, so use those stores only in the case where you find special offers (such as coupons stacked with rewards or cash back).  In most cases, milk-based formula costs less than soy.  Avoid soy or other specialized formula, unless your child’s pediatrician recommends it,

Stick with powder (if you can).  You will quite often pay less for the powdered varieties rather than the ready made.  If you are traveling, ready made certainly makes sense, but if you can use powder, you can pay less per bottle.

Opt for the store brand.  Store brands can cost as much as 50% less per ounce than the big name brands.  All formula which is marketed and sold in the US must meet the same nutrient specifications set to fulfill the needs of infants.  Although infant-formula manufacturers may have their own proprietary formulations, brand-name and store-brand formula must all contain at least the minimum levels of all nutrients specified in FDA regulations, without exceeding maximum levels, where those are specified. Regardless of the brand, make sure to check the “use by” date and follow preparation and storage instructions.  

Free Samples.  Whenever you are at your pediatrician’s office, ask your doctor if he or she happens to have any sample cans of formula.  They often receive boxes of formula and they’d love to give it to you – you just might need to ask!  Keep in mind that these cans are often 12.7 oz size cans – so they are larger than just a single serving (which can mean big savings).

Find a local mom’s group and swap samples/coupons.  If you find your infant can only digest a specific type of formula, but your friend’s baby needs another brand, why not swap coupons and samples?  This is an easy way to help one another save money on formula.

Check with your insurance.  If your baby is on a specialty formula, check to see if any of it might not be covered under your health insurance.  If you can’t get it covered by insurance, but it is prescription formula, run the expenses through your (or your spouse’s) flexible spending account.  At least you won’t have to pay income tax on the money you need to pay for your formula.

Stack the savings.  You can often find manufacturer’s coupons, store coupons and discounts and even money saving formula checks.  Stack all of these together when you shop so you can maximize your savings.

Apply for WIC.  Requirements vary from state to state, but you might find you are eligible for state assistance to for your infant formula.  Learn more about WIC qualifications.

What tips do you have to help save on infant formula?

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