How to Save Money on Baby Formula

by Ashley Eneriz · 5 comments

Breast milk is without question best for your baby and for your budget, but there are cases where formula is needed. And it can be costly. Feeding your baby formula for the first year of their life can cost up to $1,000 – yikes! Here are a few ways to save money on this hefty expense.

Free Samples

Many states are passing laws to ban hospitals from giving out free samples of formula. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask your doctor or nurse for samples. Also, when you sign up for a formula company’s product, they will often times send you a free sample kit. It can be hard to know which formula your baby will prefer, so it is a good idea to sign up for several brands to test them out.

Formula Checks

Formula companies also give out formula checks that can be used as cash to buy formula, which can be combined with manufacturer coupons and store coupons. When my first daughter was on Similac, I tried to always combine a formula check with a Target coupon/Cartwheel (if applicable) and a Target gift card deal. My sister-in-law and I both had babies at the same time, but our babies like different formulas, so we were able to trade formula checks. Some retailers will check the name, but I have never had that happen. I also will sign myself and my husband up to receive the checks.

Online Ordering

For my second daughter, we went with Baby’s Only formula, which can only be purchased online. A lot of online vitamin shops sell it, and these shops usually have sign up promos, such as $10 off and free shipping. I use these promos to save more on the formula. The best deal I got was with the sign up.

Bulk Ordering

Stock up when you find the right formula brand for your baby. You can generally save up to a $3 or more per can if you buy in bulk at Costco, Sam’s Club, or through Amazon. It is a bigger cost up front, but buying in bulk can save $100-200 per year if your baby goes through a can per week.

Skip the Convenience

The pre-mixed bottles are easy, especially when you are sleep deprived, but the convenience will cost you more. Measuring out formula and putting it in an inexpensive formula dispenser is one way to make bottle feeding on the go easier. At home, you can mix several bottles’ worth of formula and keep it in the fridge for the day and warm it up with a bottle warmer.

Amazon Subscribe and Save

Not only can you buy formula in bulk on Amazon to save, but you can also save even more through their subscribe and save service. The initial subscribe and save will save you an additional 10 percent. If you are a member of Amazon mom and you subscribe to four more items, you will then save an additional 20% off of everything.

Formula is expensive. Taking these little steps can help reduce the cost of feeding your precious one. And while you might not have much control over formula spending, you can save money on other baby expenses, like borrowing gear and buying used clothing.

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  • dunkinluther says:

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  • Ryan G says:

    Breastfeeding is generally considered to be best here in America, but not all mothers can breastfeed. My wife and I adopted our infant daughter, so we were using formula from day 1 (literally!). Formula is insanely expensive, and the tips here are all good. I have a few of my own:

    1) Don’t stock up or buy in bulk until you find a variety that “agrees” with your child. Our daughter had reflux and we ended up needing to get some medicine for her, but we found that she did best on Gerber Good Start Soothe. Unfortunately, there was no generic version of this formulation. At its worst, we were spending ~$150/month on this formula.

    2) Go generic if possible. Most standard formulas, such as blue similac, have several generic versions. The Target brand of the same color is basically identical, so use it instead of the name brand unless you have some killer coupons.

    3) Consult with your doctor on when you can switch off of formula. My wife and I switched my daughter to whole milk and “people food” at 1 year of age. We don’t use toddler formulas, as based on the advice of two doctors and a variety of other source, there is no real need as long as your child eats a relatively healthy and balanced diet.

    • David @ says:

      Good insight Ryan.

      Formulas (and everything else raising a baby for that matter!) are expensive, but you’ll also get so much out of the process!

      Children really are a bundle of joy!

  • Chrissi says:

    Not sure how things in the States compare to here in Germany, but Breastfeeding is claimed to be best for baby here – and I breastfed my daughter, and it didn’t cost me a penny!
    Breastfeeding was a good way to spend time with my child, and helped us to bond.
    Of course, not every Mother can breastfeed, or indeed, has the time to do so, but if at all possible, I think this is really the best and cheapest way!

    • David @ says:

      You are bringing up a great point Chrissi. Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to bond with the child, not to mention the most effective way to keep the infant from getting sick.

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