Spend Less on Baby Formula

by Guest Contributor · 7 comments

For young couples, having a baby is one of the most life-affirming experiences they will ever have. At least it is until the bills start piling up. Between disposable diapers, formula and clothing, a very small person starts to eat up a significant part of the monthly income. Parents often wonder how such a small individual costs so much, the baby years is actually just the beginning.

This could sound discouraging, but the first years of a person’s life are actually the cheap years. Before you know it, your child can point at a toy on the shelf and start making demands. And let’s not even talk about college. Nevertheless, any money you can save now will more than pay off in the future.

Buy Formula in Bulk

Everyone knows that “breast is best” not only from a nutritional perspective, but also from the financial point of view. While mom eats more to produce the milk, those costs don’t approach that of formula. Formula companies definitely want to push mom’s buttons and imply that their formula is clearly the best one if mom isn’t going to nurse. Don’t fall for the hype, because they are all similar. Every formula has to meet government standards, so find something your baby will tolerate and bulk up.

Before the baby arrives, head to the local grocery warehouse and find out what they stock. Then contact the company that manufactures the formula and get them to send you samples, coupons, a baby bag and any other free merchandise they can think of. They are trying to woo you, after all, so encourage their generosity. Once you get home with your new baby, try out your samples and make sure your baby tolerates this formula well. If so, you now know of a source of the same formula for less.

Companies also send out little “checks” for you to use on their brand of formula. Take a good look at the conditions of use. It may very well pay to get that pack of single serve cans instead of the bulk box.

Buy Powdered Formula, Not Liquid

The costs per serving of powdered formula are considerably lower than that of liquid. Not only is powdered formula cheaper, it can be carried about without worry of spoilage. If you don’t teach your child to expect their formula warmed up, that means you can add some water to your powder wherever you are and provide a meal in a couple of minutes.

Liquid containers of formula, especially single serve cans are very convenient, which can make up for the price if you are on a plane or driving for hours. Keep such cans for special occasions, realizing that they may be thicker or thinner than what you mix up from powder and require a bit of coaxing at first.

Consider Generic Formula

If all these tips still leave you grasping at financial straws to feed your baby, consider generic varieties. Since the government does strictly monitor what is in baby formula, you are unlikely to have any problems with a generic option. After all, don’t you purchase generic foods for yourself? There is nothing wrong with doing the same for your precious baby.

In the end, baby only drinks formula for about a year before transitioning over to other liquids. When you can make the change, you budget will make a sigh of relief.

Like these tips? Check out the How to Save Money on Everything ebook, available free when you sign up for the frugal newsletter here.

Money Saving Tip: An incredibly effective way to save more is to reduce your monthly Internet and TV costs. Click here for the current Verizon FiOS promotion codes and promos to see if you can save more money every month from now on.

{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Squeaky says:

    DON’T DILUTE the strength. There were growth defects in poor parts of African after they diluted it too much. One other idea which we really did try was made at home formula to supplement breast milk. Goats milk based with distilled water, back strap molasses for iron and perhaps a few liquid vitamins added. DO RESEARCH exact ingredients and ratios. We settled on one Dr Mercola suggested. Our child loved it and no allergies. There was a big recall on formula at the time, so we felt good doing this because we knew for sure what was in it.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much for posting this. I hadn’t planned to use formula at all, but it was largely out of my hands. I was grateful to have some samples at home when we came home from the hospital, but wasn’t sure what kind to buy on my own and had trouble finding supportive information about it, so we bought the name brand liquid. I mentioned it at one point to a nurse at our pediatrician’s office and she said, “That’s crazy. Get the powder.” So we switched to name brand powder. It made getting around much easier, as we would measure out the powder in bottles and just add water on the go. Then a few months later we were at Target (when my son was quite young I sent my husband on his own) and I saw how much cheaper their store brand formula was, and I figured we’d try it, especially since my son was a little older and used to more variety. He’s been drinking it just fine ever since, and I kick myself for not having used it sooner. You’re right – I can’t WAIT to switch to regular milk next week!

  • Tot Shaker says:

    One easy way to save big on formula is to water it down to 1/4 strength before feeding it to the mongrel.

  • Luisa says:

    I would also hesitate to buy formula before your baby is born and your baby has tried the formula. But I would advise stocking up on discounts like that will help you save on it when the time comes. I did it with my daughter and it worked out really good after only 3 weeks of breast feeding.

  • Steve Jobs says:

    I had never used liquid formula for my babies. The liquid containers are not that safe for babies as most of them are n cans on which we know have some effect on liquids over time. Powdered milk formula is good but must consult a doctor first on what kind of formula is best for your baby as some contain ingredients which might cause some stomach upset on your baby.

  • Squirrelers says:

    Generic powder is a really good cost-conscious choice, if you’re using formula. The cost differential between branded vs. generic can be surprisingly large. Additionally, the cost differential between liquid and powder can be surprising as well. Best of both worlds: generic powder. Check out the prices and see.

    I would be careful with buying in bulk, at least initially. Make sure baby takes to it.

  • Money Beagle says:

    Costco’s Kirkland brand of formula is $20 for two cans, which is over half off what you’ll pay for any of the name brands. If your baby is cool with it, this is a sure-fire way to save lots of money on formula.

Leave a Comment