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Articles: Food

The Quest for Cheap Baby Food

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My daughter turns six months this month and we are preparing to dive back into the world of baby food again. With our son, I prepared all of his baby food from scratch. It was a lot of work, but it was gratifying financially and rewarding to know that we were saving so much money.  With two children, I am feeling a little less ambitious and am open to the idea of buying baby food, as well as making it. Here are some of my own personal tips on how to feed your baby on the cheap.

A Word About Solids

First up, I would like to just say a quick word about starting solids. Pediatricians now recommend that you wait and offer solids to your baby at the age of six months. As first time parents, we are so excited about offering our children solid food. Not only are we excited, but our grandmothers will tell us that the best thing you can do is put cereal in your child’s bottle or to feed them cereal so that they will sleep through the night. This is false and not recommended. Your baby will not sleep longer through the night and you may end up with a whole host of other problems, such as allergies, which will make things more difficult on both of you. Being patient will not only help to keep allergies at bay, but it will also keep your grocery budget down for a few extra months. By waiting until the recommended age, you will avoid paying for the baby food that your child didn’t really need in the first place.

Starting Solids the Cheap Way

It is good to start pricing out baby food, if you are planning to purchase the store-bought variety. Keep this information in your price book and try and compare prices between different grocery stores. The first thing I did was call around and ask the grocery stores what their price was on their baby food. By calling, I found Beech-Nut baby food to be the cheapest at our local Save-A-Lot store. I understand that the selection there was limited, but the price was a little bit cheaper than other locations. I am willing to sacrifice on the selection, in order to get the best deal for my baby. Save-A-Lot seemed like the answer for us because they offered three jars for ninety-nine cents. The nice thing too, that I found with Save-A-Lot, was that they take coupons so I can bring in any coupons that I want to on this brand of baby food.

Where to Score Coupons for Baby Food

Now where do you get coupons for your baby food? Well, first you will want to sign up for each individual company mailings that they offer. You will find a great resource list, at the end of this article, for where you can get coupons and freebies for your baby. After you have signed up for these mailings, the next best bet for coupons (besides your family & friends) is eBay. Tons of sellers offer coupons on eBay and many package these in baby bundles for you and include coupons for a variety of baby items you might need to purchase.  By checking eBay, I found a seller who was offering twenty Beech-Nut baby food coupons- $1 off 6 jars of any variety of Beech Nut Baby Food. The total cost (including shipping of the coupons) was $3.99. According to my calculations, this means:

120 Jars of Beech-Nut Baby Food (at Save-A-Lot) $39.60
Coupons ($1 off 6 jars purchased from eBay) $20.00
Total Cost for 120 Jars of Baby Food $19.60
Cost for Coupons $3.99
Cost Per Jar of Baby Food $0.20

Now according to my numbers, that is a good deal!  Beech-Nut also offers a great program  (http://beechnut.com/Special%20Offers/index.asp) where you can receive more coupons by sending them your proofs of purchase. 48 proofs of purchase from any Beech-Nut product will give you four coupons for one dollar off of any ten items. That means that after I make my purchase of 120 jars, I will get an additional eight dollars in coupons for the next round of baby food (plus more proofs of purchase to credit towards the next round of coupons).  This goes to show that when making the purchase for your baby food, make sure to visit the website for the company and see if they offer any specials during that month.

Homemade Versus Store-Bought Cost Comparison

What is the cost per ounce for homemade baby food versus the Beech-Nut variety that I ran across? Well, there are 2.5 ounces of baby food in a standard baby food jar. The cost per ounce is $0.08. The estimated cost to make my own baby food is $0.04 per ounce (give or take a penny depending on what food I am trying to prepare). That means if I actually took the time to make the baby food, I could shave fifty percent off of the cost of baby food. That is a lot to save, but it also would require time and effort on my part. My feeling about this is buy the prepackaged baby food, but only buy the items that require more cost to me or require more effort than they would be worth to be made at home. For example, mashing a banana with a fork is much cheaper and less time consuming than buying the prepackaged baby food. More exotic and expensive fruits & vegetables are more money for me (and many require a little more preparation) then I might be willing to exert so I will probably spend my money towards these items.

Additional Resources for Mailings

Here are some additional resources if you are looking for baby food, formula, and diaper coupons. It will definitely save your family money if you sign up for with these companies and participate in their mailings. I wish you much luck with your little ones and may your child’s bowl runneth over with good deals!

Good Eats:

Beech-Nut bowl and coupon
Sign up for our monthly e-newsletters, and we'll send you information tailored to your baby's age, helpful tips, money-saving offers, plus this FREE bowl.

Growing Up Gerber Club
Become a member of Growing Up Gerber and get a personalized Web site, newsletters, free samples and coupons.

Good Drinks:

Welcome Addition Club from Enfamil
Become a Similac Welcome Addition Club member today! Membership is free and offers you up to $450* in offers and savings. Register now with our 3-easy-steps and you can start enjoying your benefits right away.

Bright Beginnings baby Formula
When you become a member of the Bright Beginnings Customer Club, we will send you valuable Coupon Paks good for savings on our already sensibly-priced formulas and nutritionals.

Nursery Water
Click Magnet Offer & Coupon Offer to receive this freebie

Dry Bottoms:

Pampers
This was my favorite club when we had our son. They had a great site that explains how your child is growing & their developments and sent me tons of diaper coupons. We are cloth diapering this one so I didn’t sign up this time, but if you are using disposable, this a great club!

Charmin Potty Training Kit
The potty training kit includes a storybook, poster, stickers, roll ruler, photo magnet, & potty training diploma. This is a really neat freebie and I highly recommend this if you are potty training. Even if you are not potty training, the stickers are great to keep little hands busy during church service!

Pull Ups Success Guide
Fill out the form for a free Pull Ups Success Guide (allow 6-8 weeks for delivery)

Good Reads:

Very Best Baby Magazine
Every free issue is tailored to your stage of pregnancy or to your baby’s age and packed with lively articles on topics of interest to moms-to-be and new moms. Plus, you’ll receive valuable checks for savings on infant nutrition products!

American Baby
Get a free subscription to this great magazine! Every issue is loaded with vital parenting information from the experts.

Preemie Magazine
Free one year subscription to parent’s of preemies

Miscellaneous Baby Goodies:

Orajel
In order to help us provide the best Orajel products we can, please take a few minutes to complete the following survey. Your time is appreciated and we will thank you by sending you coupons for your favorite Orajel products. Please allow 4 weeks for processing.