Most babies begin to transition over to solid baby food when they are about four to six months old. This transition can be incredibly expensive for new parents with baby food adding an additional $100 per month to their budget. Most babies eat up to three jars of baby food per day, and these jars can cost one dollar each. For financially savvy parents on a budget, there are many strategic ways to combat these costs and save money on baby food.
Make Your Own Baby Food
One of the top recommendations for parents who want to save money on baby food is to simply make their own. This can save parents a significant amount of money in the long run; however, making baby food from scratch typically involves a bit more money to start than simply buying pre-packaged baby food. A food processor or blender is the biggest expense in making your own baby food. For parents who do not mind this added expense or who already happen to have a food processor at home, this could be an excellent option.
While some may argue that the ingredient costs could end up being more than the baby food, that’s typically not true, especially if you purchase ingredients for homemade baby food in bulk and freeze the food for future use. Another argument against making your own baby food is time and convenience. While it’s true that making baby food from scratch will take a bit more time and effort than just opening a purchased jar, it can be a smart investment of your time with all of the money you will save. An additional perk of making your own baby food is the knowledge that what you are feeding your baby is fresh and completely natural rather than riddled with unnecessary preservatives.
It is also important to note that strategic parents will be able to save even more money in making homemade baby food by planning baby food around their own meals. In many cases, side dishes for your own meals can be pureed into very acceptable foods for your baby. When your baby transitions from pureed baby food to eating real food, you can eat some of the same cereal and snacks you are feeding your baby so you don’t have to buy a double set of groceries for both you and your child.
An obvious solution to save money on baby food that you purchase rather than make yourself is to be extremely conscientious and intentional about hunting for deals. First and foremost, parents buying baby food should be sure to look out for coupons. While some may prefer to clip weekly coupons from newspapers and magazines, you can also find plenty of printable coupons online. Many grocery stores also have apps for your phone to track different coupons and deals, and there are other savings and couponing phone apps that allow you to receive couponing points on your purchases.
It is also important for parents to compare prices on baby food across different stores. Many parents may be able to save significantly if they shop somewhere different than what they are accustomed to. Additionally, a number of stores will do price matching if you can prove the lower price of the same item at a different store which can help if you like to do the majority of your shopping in one place. Finally, much like making your own baby food, purchasing baby food in bulk will often help you get lower prices. You can do this by either shopping at a bulk store or using coupons to purchase larger quantities of baby food than you would normally buy.
Another less obvious solution for parents hoping to save money on baby food is to carefully monitor the portion sizes of the food you are feeding your baby. In many cases, parents can save a lot of excess food by paying attention to portions rather than wasting it. For traditional baby food in glass jars, portion sizes are typically very intuitive because of the size of the jar; however, for those who choose to make their own baby food, it is very easy to waste food by giving your baby portions that are too big. Reusing some of those small baby jars for homemade food can help monitor these portion sizes.
When babies move on to foods other than that of pureed baby food, portion control becomes even more important. Parents will often waste food on their baby thinking that their child can eat much more than they are actually capable of. Experts suggest that typical portion sizes of actual food rather than baby food for little ones is approximately 25% of the recommended serving size for adult food portions.
Baby food can be an expensive part of raising a child, but there are many smart strategies for parents to save money. By being very strategic in your meal planning, taking the time to make homemade food, and aligning your baby’s meals with your own, you will be able to save a significant amount of money on the cost of baby food.