Hello, faithful readers! I’ve been on hiatus, and for good reason: Our little miracle baby arrived five weeks early, on Groundhog Day! Baby Saver didn’t want to wait and impatiently entered the world weighing 4 lbs., 8 oz. and measuring 17 ¾ inches long.
Because of her prematurity, our pediatrician had me hold off on breastfeeding because we needed to make sure she was getting enough milk in order to thrive and put on weight. Instead, I pumped as much milk as I could without her “helping” to increase my supply. Once I got the go-ahead, I tried breastfeeding our little one, who was not having any of it, no matter what I tried. This led to supply problems, and after 6 weeks of feeding her breast milk and supplementing with formula, we had to go to an all-formula menu.
That meant I needed coupons for our formula, Similac Sensitive, STAT.
Out of necessity, I’ve discovered a number of ways to save on our preferred formula brand.
Search for sales. This is a no-brainer, but not all parents have the time or energy to do this. But if you want to save, you’ll need to carve out a bit of time each week to see what the prices are at your local stores.
Each week, I check out the Sunday circulars for Target, Rite-Aid, CVS and our local grocery stores to see if Similac formula is on sale anywhere. If so, I’ll make a point to get to that retailer during the sale week.
Tip: Sometimes, the store is out of our particular kind of formula. In that case, it’s worth it to stop at the customer service desk and pick up a raincheck for a few containers.
Sign up for manufacturers’ mailing lists. Similac, Enfamil and Gerber are some of the formula manufacturers who have membership programs. There’s no cost to sign up – be sure to include your real name, address and email, and you’ll get on their mailing lists. In this case, that’s a good thing – they occasionally send coupons through the mail or via email, and what’s more, you’ll likely receive free samples.
I’ve gotten coupons for free formula, along with the coveted $5 off “checks.” Depending on retail store policy, you can usually combine these checks with manufacturer and store coupons. This only increases your savings.
Tip: Sign up for all three programs a month or two BEFORE your due date to ensure you’ll have some samples on hand. Your hospital/pediatrician will help you decide which formula will be right for your newborn, and you’ll have coupons/checks available to you, no matter what! The checks are generally good for a few months, so don’t worry too much about them expiring.
Hit up friends and family. Not for money, but for coupons! Have them save the coupon fliers from the Sunday paper or forward you any extra formula coupons they may have. I’ve scored multiples of $3 and $5 manufacturer coupons by getting fliers from my father and in-laws.
Tip: Make sure your relatives and friends know which formula you use. That way, they can clip the coupons and either mail them or give them to you.
Check out message boards. Many people post on message boards such as The Bump or BabyCenter in order to swap coupons with other parents. If you have Enfamil coupons and need Similac coupons, ask the other board members – someone may have what you want. It’s a great resource, and a $5 coupon (or three!) is well worth the price of a stamp.
Tip: Subscribe to both parenting and couponing boards to double your chances of scoring some sweet savings.
Utilizing some of these tactics, I’ve been able to save $5, $10 and even $15 off each 23-ounce tub of Similac Sensitive formula, which runs anywhere from $19 to $24, depending on the store. Combined with sales, you can get truly great deals. If I find the formula is on sale, I’ll make a point to take my checks and coupons over to that particular retail store and stock up. Powdered formula lasts about a year unopened (always check the use-by date stamped on each container). I always have four or five tubs of formula in the pantry so I won’t run out – that’s about a month’s supply. Any more than that, and you could find yourself stuck with non-returnable items in the event that you have to change the baby’s formula. Keep your receipts and you can return or exchange the formula.