What you’re getting into
No matter how much you’ve planned for your new addition, the cost of everything is still overwhelming. If you are a new parent or a veteran parent, having some options for saving here and there is always beneficial.
Formula feeding can be very expensive, depending on what you are using. Prices can range from around $2 for a single 8oz. bottle of liquid formula, to $45 for specialty canisters of formula for babies with special nutritional needs. A large percent of the population will not necessarily be needing the $45 canisters. Regardless, it could cost $60 to $160 a month per child to feed them up. It all depends on the age you start them on the formula. The younger they are, the less expensive it will be. Then it will keep on ramping up until they are on solids or regular milk.
Dollars and Cents
When you first start the process of finding the best formulas for your baby, you go to the first names that come to mind. Age-old household names that you see in all the commercials on TV. When learning how to save on formula, big brands might not always be the most cost effective. It pays to ask yourself “How much does formula cost?” before committing.
|Similac Advance OptiGro||$1.53 / oz.|
|Enfamil Milk-Based Powder with Iron||$1.36 / oz.|
|Gerber® Good Start®||$1.10 / oz.|
|Parent's Choice Gentle|
|$0.75 / oz.|
|Nutramigen with Enflora LGG||$1.92 / oz.|
|Up & Up Infant|
|$0.64 / oz.|
|Earth's Best Organic Infant||$1.15 / oz.|
|Honest Company Organic Premium||$1.44 / oz.|
|Plum Organics Infant||$1.56 / oz.|
|Member's Mark Infant|
*Sam’s Club Brand
|$0.48 / oz.|
|Kirkland Signature Non-GMO Infant|
|$0.49 / oz.|
|Berkley Jensen Complete Infant|
|$0.52 / oz.|
|Babies R Us Premium Infant||$0.62 / oz.|
As you can see, the price is shown in per ounce instead of by the full canister size. It is difficult to do a true comparison while in the store, because between brands there is no uniform packaging. The proof however; shows that cheap baby formula in the department store brands show good value, but buying formula in bulk at the club stores by and far save the most per ounce. If you don’t mind the yearly club renewals (which if you shop regularly and don’t spend your accrued points/ cash is free), then you will be stocked up for nearly the same price as you would have been to buy a single canister of the name brand.
Saving Money from the Big Guys
If your heart is set on the household names, all is not lost. Enfamil and Similac both have loyalty rewards programs. These programs give the opportunity to receive coupons, free samples of new products (or even regular ones), contests and personalized checks for future purchases of each brand’s products. All you need to do is go to their websites and register (your family can too if you want more free samples). You may be asked to participate in polls, or watch a video or two. It is worth it in the end with what you are receiving in return.
Even if you are planning on using store brand, this program is not something you want to turn away. In fact, sign up once you find out you are pregnant! They will email updates with guides, tips and nutritional information tailored precisely to your baby’s growth and development throughout your pregnancy and after. They offer gifts and benefits customized for your special needs. There is personalized formula savings, expert feeding advice and amazing savings and exclusive benefits.
This program is focused only on the baby, but that doesn’t mean it is any less ideal. Other than the rewards and tips geared towards maternity the rest of the program is the same as with Similac.
The Option Most Feel Ashamed to Do
Not every bundle is carefully planned for. Some end up being a big surprise with the worst timing. You try to plan how you are going to afford everything, but the ends are not meeting. There is no shame in asking for help. There are programs to help ensure you get what you need so that not you have a healthy pregnancy and your baby grows up healthy as well. The most important and beneficial is WIC.
WIC stands for Women Infant Child, not only as in the acronym but for whom are covered. As with the Similac rewards program, the best time to sign up is right when you find out you are pregnant. The first step you can do is to complete a 15-minute online prescreening on the site’s tool. Then you can apply with your state or local WIC by checking their websites or calling their toll-free number to make an appointment. Once you are approved, you will start receiving your vouchers. During pregnancy, you will receive vouchers for nutrient rich foods and so much milk. In post-partum, if you are breast-feeding, you will continue to receive the food vouchers until the baby is weaned onto formula. Once the baby is on formula, you will receive vouchers for the formulas your baby needs. When solids are introduced, the vouchers will add cereal to put in the formula. The vouchers will grow in need will your child until they either reach 5 years old, or you “graduate” to not needing the vouchers any more. At that point, turn them into the local office. At that point they will be shredded so the funds can be redistributed and can be paid forward to the next families.
DO not be afraid to take these steps. It can feel intimidating feeling every eye on you when you are taking longer to get scanned through at the store. You are feeding your family, that is what matters.
We’re all winners
If you take any of these routes to save for your growing family, you will benefit. With most of these being very little effort, I would do as many as possible. At the end of the day; if you’re saving money, you’re a winner.