Although I have decided to breastfeed our son for the first several months, I looked into ways to save money if formula feeding became necessary. Here’s two ways I found to save yourself some money on formula that require almost zero effort.
1. Ask your for samples. Pharmacy reps frequent doctors offices to give them free trial packages of medicines and formula companies tend to do the same. Next time you are at your OB, midwife, or pediatrician, ask if they have any coupons or formula samples. Some popular baby stores also give you coupons. When I created my registry at Babies R Us and Target they both had goody bags with coupons and even a bottle and formula samples. So far I have received 6 bottles of infant formula with nipples, a bottle, 2 packets of formula, 4 coupon booklets, a pregnancy journal, and a handy traveling case that I converted into a makeup bag (it just didn’t look like something I’d carry with me everywhere!).
2. Register for freebies. Enfamil and Similac both have membership programs that are completely free to sign up for and offer great deals. A couple months after joining the Enfamil program I even received 2 cans of baby formula absolutely free. They also send out loads of coupons that expire in different time frames so you should have a pretty constant flow of savings.
Theres a slew of online sites and local thrift stores that offer great deals on baby gear, but here’s a fresh new idea that you may find worth trying….
My mother runs a daycare and often hears stories of how quickly the kids grow out of their clothes and the mothers don’t know what to do with them besides having a rummage sale every couple of months (which nobody really wants to do). One of the moms has a child who was born during the same season our little guy is due and still had all of his clothing and baby things. Since she was so desperate to get rid of everything, we were able to purchase several outfits, an entire set of Tommee Tippee bottles, a Diaper Genie, a bouncy seat, and a play mat for $40.
The lesson? If you are taking your child to a sitter with other kids or a daycare or you know someone who works at a daycare, have them keep an eye out for kids who would wear the same size/season as your child. Offer the mother to help take some of the old items off of her hands when she’s ready and chances are she will be very grateful. If your care center has a bulletin board you may even post a “baby gear wanted” sign, even before your baby goes there (as long as the staff approves, of course). A lot can be said for using connections outside of just your immediate friends and family. The mommy with too much stuff gets her closets cleaned and your little tyke gets their closet filled!
In recent years some experts have said that it is not necessary to sterilize bottles at home due to better clean water practices by most cities (webmd), but many new moms still find themselves wondering how on earth to make sure baby is drinking from a clean cup. After my baby shower I made it my mission to get to the bottom of the whole bottle sterilizing debate (some sites such as babycenter.com still recommend it just to be on the safe side) since for some reason nobody bought me the $30 bottle sterilizer I registered for. And here’s why…. you don’t need one. Microwave and steam bottle sterilizers range in price from around $20 on up. Sure, they may get the job done in 2 minutes and they may have a nice holding rack or other fancy features, but you can get perfectly sanitized bottles at home with what you have in your cabinets already. I learned this from pretty much every female family member I know, and they learned it from the generations before them. Home bottle sterilizing is still widely accepted and if you haven’t gone out and bought a commercial sterilizer yet I’ll share with you so you can save a little money and room on your baby registry. If you think it’s too time consuming, think about this: I sterilized our bottles while I was cooking. Since I had to wait for the water to boil for our spaghetti noodles, I figured I might as well put the water to boil for the bottles at the same time. It all worked out so well that I’ve decided that weekly pasta night will also be bottle sanitizing night. Since time is money, there’s saving a little more right?
Here’s what you need:
A large pan
A mat or clean spot to dry bottles
1. Heat water to boiling in the large pan.
2. Completely disassemble bottles.
3. Once water is boiling, use tongs (to avoid splashing) to place bottle parts in water.
4. Allow bottles to boil at least 5 minutes, making sure that all parts are submerged (no bottles just floating on top).
5. Use tongs to remove bottle parts and place on drying rack, mat, or other clean spot to dry.
For starters, I’m a 21 year old soon-to-be mom from the Midwest United States. My husband works full time and I work part time, so in my spare time I like to find ways to spread our dollar a little further, especially since we’ll be welcoming our new little one any time now. I have always had a “thing” for secondhand stores and clearance sales and was raised on off-brand groceries (Fruity O’s instead of Fruit Loops, anyone?). Despite my love for saving, I do not “extreme” coupon, so don’t expect a whole lot about that on this blog. I think it’s absolutely fabulous when people do clip coupons and save hundreds of dollars but with a job, a new baby on the way, and a fairly busy social life it doesn’t fit my lifestyle (or my very short attention span). As far as recycling and eco-friendly products are concerned, my house isn’t completely green, nor is my cupboard, but I like to find little ways to recycle and lessen my family’s footprint. I like to find my inspiration for saving and repurposing from sources both old and new. The internet is a wonderful place to gather innovative ideas, but so are the generations before us who went through tough financial times and came out with some pretty great ideas on how to save a buck or two. I’ll always leave a reference with any of my articles so you can find out more for yourself on a topic if you’d like. All in all, I hope you’ll enjoy what you find here and can join me in saving money while being a bit green and having lots of fun.