5 Essential Tips to Save Money on Formula!
While we've all heard the phrase “breast is best,” there are lots of reasons why some moms may decide to feed formula to their babies. However, formula feeding can be expensive, especially if your baby requires a special type of formula for digestive or medical reasons.
So how can you cut back on the cost of formula? Well, there are several ways, and today, I am going to share with you 5 tips to save money on formula.
#1. Start with Samples!
Before you even left the hospital with your newborn, you may have been given a bag with some starter bottles and formula along with a handful of coupons towards future purchases. These gift packages are not meant to sway your decision on breast vs. bottle; they are intended to give you some options if you do decide to feed your baby formula. And, of course, the formula manufacturers are hoping to gain your business, so they would love it if you tried their product first if you decide to bottle feed. However, in recent years, many hospitals have opted to discontinue this practice.
But, did you know that formula companies often provide pediatricians with these same samples and coupon packs? They do! And many doctors' offices have closets that are stuffed to the brim with these samples, so be sure to ask your doctor or nurse if they wouldn't mind giving you a few of their samples (most likely, they would be happy to!) while you are there. And don't be shy about asking on every single visit. After all, with a newborn, you are at the pediatrician's office on a fairly frequent basis!
Pro Tip: This works for many types of OTC and prescription meds, too. My pediatrician has hooked me up with enough lotion samples (for my babies with eczema) and even albuterol samples (for my toddlers who were wheezing) that we were even able to skip getting a prescription filled at times!
#2. Get on the Manufacturer's Website
They know their products are expensive, so formula manufacturers like to make coupons and sample packs available to parents. Be sure to visit their site monthly and download whatever coupons are available. (You can often save anywhere from $1 to $3 per can!) You can also request sample packs right from the site, which can supplement your formula supply.
And don't be afraid to pick up the phone or send an email to their customer service department. Everyone loves a compliment, so be sure to tell them how much you love their product and how happy it makes your baby, and many times, they will reward your kind words with some special high value coupons in the mail.
Ever have a problem with their product? Be sure to let them know that, too. I know of one mom who was loyal to a formula brand for years with several of her children, but at one point, one of her babies became constipated for a few days. She called the customer service number and let them know that she had concerns that it could possibly be from a new can of formula she was using, and they happily sent her a replacement can, as well as two coupons to purchase more product for free!
In addition, several formula manufacturers offer formula checks, which they can send to you in the mail. They look like coupons, but the stores process them like checks, and they can save you $5 – $7 per can. Just be sure to pay attention to all of the fine print. Quite often, these checks come with your name imprinted on them, so you need to be the one to redeem them at the store and show your ID as you do so. (This helps to prevent fraud.)
#3. Know Your Price Per Ounce and Seek Coupons from All Sources!
The very best way to consistently save money on formula is to know the best price per ounce for your brand in your area and to make sure that you always stock up when you find it at that best price. Don't assume that only certain types of stores will carry your formula at the best price. Some moms report that they can get their lowest price per ounce at their grocery store when it is on sale. Other moms swear by mass merchants such as Target or Walmart and, still, others believe they score their lowest price per ounce at warehouse clubs. It is going to be different based on where you live and the brand you are loyal to.
Don't forget to check online retailers too like Amazon.com. (Be sure to take advantage of Amazon Mom for free shipping and Subscribe and Save to get an additional 5% off the list price.) Drugstore.com. and Diapers.com all offer formula deals online.
Finally, be sure to pair the best price with a coupon. Coupons can come from the Sunday paper, online resources like Coupons.com, and even digital coupons that can loaded onto store loyalty cards, such as the ones your grocery store uses.
#4. Does Your Baby Need a Special (Prescription) Formula?
Yikes! When you find out that your baby needs a special type of formula, you can be sure that your expenses have just climbed significantly.
So your very first step should be to check in with your insurance company to see if they will cover all or even part of the cost of a prescription formula.You can check out this insurance coverage map to see if your state is one of the 14 states that offers some sort of medical reimbursement program.
It is also a good launching point to learn about other types of reimbursement programs that might be available to you.
#5. You May Qualify for Assistance Through WIC
The US Department of Agriculture offers a special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children (WIC) to help lower-income families purchase the formula they need. You can check out their income eligibility guidelines here to see if you qualify for this program.
What's your best tip for saving money on formula? Please leave a comment and share them with us!