Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Baby Formula Price Point

If you read about my shopping trips you may have noticed I've been stocking up on baby formula recently. This is in preparation for Phoebe's arrival. I don't want to go to the store for a good while after a c-section and when I do eventually get there, I don't want to pay ridiculous prices for formula!

Carly asked about brands I buy so I thought I'd post my general formula shopping strategy.

1. We have been blessed with 3 non-picky girls so far. We don't think this is just lucky, we have prayed for each of them to have good digestion and not to have food difficulties. Praise the Lord, we have been able to feed them any brand without trouble, we haven't had major spit up or reflux issues, and we've avoided gas & colic, too. We are trusting the Lord this will be the case again with Phoebe.

2. In general powdered formula is the least expensive. With liquid formula you pay for the convenience of having it mixed already.

3. Costco has the best price on powdered formula. My pediatrician told me that most formula is the same, even made in the same facilities, but different labels get put on the cans for various stores. I am fine using the Costco brand. It costs about $10 for the 25ish ounce can compared to $15-20 for generic store brands and $22-27 for the name brands.

4. I compare all sale prices on formula to that Costco price point. Sometimes if a store has formula on sale I can combine it with a store coupon and/or a manufacturer's coupon to get it under the $10 Costco price. Usually this is not the case. Clearance prices are a different matter and I can usually get under the $10 with a coupon on top of the clearance price.

5. Coupons are more valuable on smaller packages. This is just basic math - a $5 price reduction has more effect on a price-per-ounce basis on a small package than a large package. That's why you see me purchasing small bottles of formula I would almost never otherwise buy.

6. A Costco can of formula makes approximately 25 - 8 oz bottles. At $10/can that's $.40 per bottle. A quart of liquid formula costs about $6 and makes 4-8 oz bottles. That's $1.50 per bottle! A huge difference for convenience, right? Well, if I use a $5 coupon on a quart of liquid formula, then the price of an 8 oz bottle just went down to $.25 making it cheaper than Costco.

7. Costco doesn't take coupons and the name brands at the grocery stores are significantly more expensive, even with the coupons. I would rather get fewer name-brand bottles at $.25 each (buying small packaging) than a week's worth at $.70 each using the same coupon (buying large packaging). When I run out of coupons and $.25-per-bottle formula I can plan a trip to Costco for my price point.

So in response to the questions about formula coupons and/or checks the answer is Yes! I'd love to have anything you're not using.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting.

    Wow, Costco is so much cheaper, and interesting what your pediatrician said about it having the same ingredients as the more expensive brands. Sounds like that's the way to go, especially if you know you're going to be going through significant amounts of formula and need the big cans.
    So far I've been able to get by with the other two babies on breast milk for most of the first year, but supplementing is always a possibility and by now I've learned that you've got to roll with the punches when it comes to getting baby fed!
    I'm right there with you and on praying for a good eater with no allergies/reflux issues this time around.

    I always get tons of coupons/samples for stuff via my OBGyn so I'll see how good they are and pass on any that look like decent discounts.

    Thinking of you and am excited for you guys!


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