Bringing home a baby is an expensive undertaking, regardless of whether it’s your first or your fifth. Even popular parenting magazines admit it. In a recent article, Parenting magazine cited a USDA report saying that new parents would likely spend around $12,000 in their child’s first year alone. Fortunately, many parents have extended families that help them out, and baby showers are popular occasions that provide an opportunity to socialize and also help fill the new parents’ home with costly baby essentials.
Even though babies are expensive, the necessities for their care don’t take away from the unspeakable wonder and joy that they can bring to our lives. One of the biggest expenses that new parents worry about is infant formula. Currently, 17.2 percent of babies born in the United States receive formula within their first two days of life and many stay on formula until they start eating solid food. While the American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend breastfeeding until the child is around one year old, many parents choose to supplement with formula and should be supported in their choice. If you’re a parent who is formula-feeding your child and are worried about mounting costs, there are options out there to help you cut down on your formula bills. Here are some ways to save big on baby formula.
Your Doctor Can Give You Free Samples
Both your doctor’s office and the hospital where your baby was delivered may have formula samples available. If you weren’t given any before you were discharged, you can call them once you’re home and ask. Often, hospitals and doctor’s offices are given free formula samples by the boxload, in hopes that they’ll pass them on their patients. Sometimes the hospital administration forgets, so you may have to ask. If your child is adopted or if you delivered outside of a hospital, you can still try calling a local hospital to ask as they may have enough that they’ll give them away to anyone that needs them. While you’re at it, ask for any other free samples they may have as sometimes they’re given free diapers or baby magazines to give to new parents.
Look for Coupons
Infant formula companies are eager to get samples of their product into the hands of parents, where they can test the quality for themselves. They know that once parents find a brand that they like, they’ll be buying hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ worth of their product, so they’re typically generous with freebies. Some of the biggest formula manufacturers in the country like Similac, Enfamil, and Nestle run generous coupon deals, which often include samples of their product, bottles, and feeding guides.
Right now, you can receive a 10oz free sample of Enfamil’s Enfagrow PREMIUM Toddler Next Step just by signing up for one of their mailing lists. You can also frequently find coupons for Similac, Enfamil, and other formula manufacturers on retail coupon sites like RetailMeNot. These aren’t always free samples, but you can sometimes find codes that will give you a certain percentage off your order or a code for a free gift with purchase. Sites like EverydayFamily also list coupon deals for baby gear on a regular basis. You’ll have to look regularly to see whether any of them are for formula, but it’s definitely worth signing up for their email list.
Join Brand Membership Clubs
Many of the top formula manufacturers understand that feeding a baby formula can be costly. In order to help new parents and ensure that their marketing team has a ready audience at all times, they’ve come up with the concept of membership or reward clubs. Essentially, it’s a mailing list that you can join to ensure you’re getting a steady stream of information from the company.
To keep parents happy, these marketing emails typically come with various coupons and deals, so you’ll always know when there’s a sale on their products. They also sweeten the deal by providing a generous welcome bonus. In fact, some companies will ship you up to $400 worth of product just for signing up.
Join the Similac Strong Moms Rewards Club, and you’ll be rewarded with up to $400 of product, samples, and coupons shipped to you for free as soon as you sign up. You can even sign up before your baby is born — you just have to provide their due date. Although their advertisement doesn’t say exactly what you’ll get for signing up, photos show at least two small canisters of formula, along with coupons, feeding guides, and an insulated bag for storing bottles.
If you join the Enspire Family Beginnings club at Enfamil, you’ll get free samples of their Newborn, Infant, and Toddler formulas, as well as a sample of their 2oz Nursette bottle. They say it’s over $400 in value. Plus, when you sign up, you’ll be entered into a draw for a chance to win free formula for a year.
When you’re buying formula, you should always be checking for deals in local stores. Newspaper inserts are often the best place to find sales. Plus, you can combine store or manufacturer coupons with store sales to get really great deals. Since formula is shelf-stable, you can buy in bulk when it’s cheapest and stock your pantry for months. Combining a coupon with a store sale can get you extremely cheap or even free baby formula. Don’t be shy about combining these offers or asking your local grocery store if they have a policy of price-matching coupons from other retailers.
Before you bring your baby home, make sure that you’ve stocked up on formula if you’re choosing to use it. The early days of your baby’s life will likely pass in a haze of sleeplessness and exhaustion, and you don’t want to have to run out to the store at 6 a.m. to buy more formula if you’re out. A little bit of research can really help you save big on this essential product.