Monday, December 9, 2013

How to Save Money on Baby Formula (and get some for free)

When I was in high school there was a local billboard sign that read “A baby costs $785.00 a month; how much is your allowance?”  This sign was to warn teenagers about the seriousness and responsibilities of babies. It’s funny that the information has stuck with me all these years; and now here I am, a mother of twins. Does that mean our twins cost us $1570.00 a month? I really don’t want to think about it!

Kids truly are expensive, especially if you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. The price of formula is outrageous; especially when I consider that the alternative is made by my body for free! But alas, my premature twins never could breastfeed, thus we have had to buy formula from day one. The average price of a regular size can of formula is around $19.00 and heaven forbid you should have to buy the special preemie formula or the hypoallergenic formula (like we had to) which can run up to $37.00 a can. And with twins, we used about 10.5 cans per week!

I mean, really, what did people do hundreds of years ago before formula was available? Or even before baby bottles existed? Those babies survived without the special “gas eliminator” bottles and the hypo-allergenic formulas…but I digress.

There was a silver lining to our dark financial formula cloud; Enfamil, the formula brand. When the twins were first born the hospital gave us samples from the different formula companies. We had Enfamil, Gerber, and Similac. I contacted each of these companies and inquired about discounts or programs for families with multiples. No one offered me such a program except Enfamil.

Enfamil will send you two cases of 12 cans of their expensive preemie formula or infant formula. They will also send you several coupons a month. They also told me I could call every 30 days to request more coupons. When my twins had a bout where we thought they needed the uber expensive hypoallergenic formula, Enfamil once again sent us 24 cans of Nutramigen, which is $37.00 a can! I couldn’t believe it.

One time we had a request in for a free case of formula but it never came. When I called back to complain, we found out that the formula was on back order, so the Enfamil representative offered to send me the liquid, ready to use, version of the formula in the meantime. So I received that PLUS the 24 cans of formula. Enfamil has been so great with helping us along the way. Any time I had a question or needed help they didn’t hesitate. When it turned out that we didn’t need a certain type of formula, a company rep simply told me, “donate it to someone who needs it, and we will send you what you need.”

Also, on top of free formula and coupons, Enfamil also offers a rebate program that we received info on when we received coupons. All you have to do is send in your receipts and UPC’s from the time period of that particular rebate offer and you get $15.00 back. It was great! And we received multiple rebate offers from them!

I may have originally fallen in love with Enfamil because of their multiples program, but I also know that they will send free sample cans (regular size) of ANY of their formulas to anyone. And multiple cans if your doctor switches you. So if you have kids on formula or know someone who does, be sure to tell them to contact Enfamil for help with formula costs. The coupons alone saved us over $20.00 a month!

Remember to slow down and enjoy the fruits of your labor and love on a daily basis and you will start to see life as a Mama on the Bright Side.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha Season

I am an impatient person. I’m not sure if I have always been impatient, or if there was some cataclysmic moment in my life where I suddenly became a foot tapping, finger drumming, clock watching woman. Most of the time, I don’t even have anywhere to be. I just rush. I am constantly looking ahead to what is next. When my babies were born I remember thinking, “when are you going to not need me so much?” and now that they will be a year old next month, I find myself often thinking, “why don’t you need/want me anymore?” They are so independent now. I feel like I wished away their babyhood.

This time of year is a special time, filled with holiday events, good people, and good food. But I think it should truly be a time of reflection. A time of thanks, yes, and also a time of remembering all that God has blessed us with and then taking more time to pause, and savor it. Soon it will be 2014. What will that look like? What new challenges/blessings await us in this upcoming year? We don’t know, and in fact we aren’t promised tomorrow. So I am going to try and live this last month of 2013, in 2013. I am going to enjoy every day and moment with my children and husband, knowing that even the hard days are worth it. So very worth it.

What are we doing for Christmas? I don’t know. We just put our tree up, but we haven’t decorated it. My living room is full of blue storage bins containing a plethora of Christmas d├ęcor, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Some days this drives me mad; the clutter. And on days like today, days of reflection, I am glad that I used my spare moments to hide and play with my kids or watch The Walking Dead with my husband rather than worry about those darn blue storage bins.

So all of this month, I am going to attempt to be Mary, during a holiday that insists we as women be Martha, busying ourselves with cooking, cleaning and decorating. I will sit with my guests and family. I will let the dishes sit in the sink. And I will let the fur ball tumbleweeds blow across my hardwood floors (for a day or two), and I will attempt to enjoy it.

Ask me how I feel in 2014…

Remember to slow down and enjoy the fruits of your labor and love on a daily basis and you will start to see life as a Mama on the Bright Side.