The other day, one of my friends who is done nursing and is now formula-feeding her baby said that one reason she regretted giving up breastfeeding is the exorbitant cost of formula. I have quite a few friends whose babies are formula-fed, and I’ve finally given away all of the formula samples that had been sitting around and were never going to be used. (I did take the advice of my friend Karen and kept some formula for the earthquake kits.) But since now all I can do is give out the occasional coupon, here are some tips on reducing the cost of formula:
- Make friends with moms who are breastfeeding. I know I’m not the only one who was eager to give those Enfamil and Similac samples away.
- Ask friends for coupons. Now that I know which of my friends uses which formula, I always give them the coupons that come in the mail. You can also swap coupons with friends who are feeding their babies a different brand of formula.
- Sign up with the formula manufacturers and they’ll put you on their list for coupons. Click for Enfamil, Similac, and Nestle Carnation.
- Do the math. This technique actually works for any product and will itself be the subject of a future post, but here’s the quick version: Take a small notebook to each store where you buy or might buy formula and write down the cost and number of ounces for each can. At home, sit down with a calculator and divide the cost by the number of ounces to get the cost per ounce. Keep this information handy and revisit it when there are sales or you have coupons. Your goal is to always pay the lowest cost per ounce possible, so you might very well find yourself going to different stores each week.
- I don’t know much about this, but it was suggested when I mentioned that a friend’s baby hates the taste of formula now that he eats so much “regular” food: When your baby is a little older, say around 9 months, and is eating several meals of solids a day, ask your pediatrician about switching from formula to fortified rice milk.
I hope these suggestions help those of you who are paying for formula!