Saturday, July 21, 2012

Did you say FREE? Yes, please!

Babies are expensive.  Who knew?  J

A little over a month ago, we had to start supplementing the girls’ diet with formula.  I agonized over it for at least a week before I decided we just needed to do it.  I just couldn’t keep up with them anymore and we were depleting our frozen milk supply in a hurry.   So, I made their first bottle of formula.  Fortunately, we still had the few samples we had saved from the hospital when the girls were born. 

Then I figured, since I have to give them formula anyways, I should just start weaning them.  So I did.  Over the last month, we slowly moved to giving them formula for all their feedings.  And that is when I realized just how much formula we will be going through…

“It’s like we go through twice as much formula as everyone else…” I said to Chaz.  I know, I’m hilarious.

Sometimes I regret weaning them, but I LOVE not having to pump anymore.  I have literally gained AT LEAST 3 hours back into my day.  Yes, I spent a total of 3 hours a day just pumping (it was even more when they were younger).  In addition to that, there was time spent washing the pump accessories, getting all hooked up to the pump, unhooking from the pump, and measuring out the girls bottles or putting away some to freeze, etc.

What I DEFINITELY regret is not stocking up on formula!  Oh, I don’t need formula, these girls are getting breast milk even if I have to pump and feed,” I had said before the girls were born.  And low and behold, that’s what I had to do.  Even at the hospital, we didn’t take as many formula samples as we could because I was nursing.  DUMB!  Who turns down free formula?!?!  Apparently, we did.  Then there were the awesome formula coupons that came in the mail right after the girls were born.  We don’t need these…” and out they went.  Or the time(s) that the pediatricians office asked if I wanted some formula samples.  Nope, the girls get breast milk.”  Again, we turned down FREE FORMULA!  I’m really kicking myself for that now that I see how much formula really costs.  I always knew that I wasn’t going to breastfeed the girls forever… At first my goal was to get through my maternity leave.  And after that, it was just one month at a time… And we ended up giving the girls 100% breast milk for the first 6 months of their lives, which is actually pretty good, so let me just give myself a little pat on the back!  J

Anyways, after buying our first can of formula, I realized how quickly the cost of this was going to add up.  So, I started looking into how we could save money on formula.

I think I started by Googling “free formula” or something like that.  And because Google knows exactly what I’m thinking, one of the little options it gave me in the search window was “free formula for twins.”  Well, thank you Google, that is exactly what I’m looking for.  Click.

And a whole new world opened up to me!  It’s almost like I could hear the angels singing “aaaahhhhh...” and golden lights shining out from the computer screen.  From this little Google search regarding formula, I discovered that just because I have twins, there are a bunch of companies out there that will give me free stuff!  Who knew?!?!  I guess that thought never occurred to me because I had only heard about the people who had litters of children and were on the news and whatnot would get sent free stuff.   But nope, even my tiny, little litter qualifies! J

Ok, so from my Google research, I found lists and lists and lists of companies that had “multiples programs” where they might send you samples, free products, or high value coupons.  Some of these lists overlapped, and a few had miscellaneous companies that I hadn’t even thought of.  Most of the lists said to just mail in copies of your children’s birth certificates with a short note that you had twins/triplets/quads/etc, would like to participate in their multiples program, and include your address.  And then free stuff would show up in the mail!

However, I noticed a lot of these lists were from a few to several years back.  I’m cheap, and didn’t want to waste a stamp and the ink to print off letters and copies if I wasn’t absolutely positive that I was going to receive something worthwhile.  So, I decided to call companies to ask if they even still had a multiples program.  Yup, I just looked on their websites, called the 1-800 numbers, and asked “if they offered any samples or special promotions to parents with twins.”  I am glad I called first, because quite a few places didn’t even require any proof, so I saved myself a stamp and ink!  I also liked calling instead of using a “contact us” email form on their websites because I was able to get an instant answer.  I have had to use that form for some companies because I couldn’t even find a 1-800 number on their website, and a few I did get a response from, and a few I am still waiting to hear back on...

Anyways, after calling the first few companies, I realized that this could get confusing...  So, I set up a simple little spreadsheet.  It has the companies I have contacted and companies that I plan to contact (I picked some companies from the lists I saw online and added a few that I was interested in), the date that I contacted them, what their response was and if anything special was required, their contact information, and what I received from them and when.

And if you are still reading this, and you don’t have twins, and you are feeling kind of jipped, don’t worry!  After calling MANY baby related companies, I’ve learned something… it doesn’t even matter if you have twins, if you’re Jon and Kate Plus 8, or if you have an only child – you can still get free stuff!  Or at least some pretty awesome coupons!  Companies seem to LOVE to hear from consumers, and they seem to LOVE wanting to advertise to them and get them to at least TRY their product.   Yeah, that makes sense to me.  So really, all you need to do is just get on the phone.  Call their customer service or consumer relations or whatever they call it department.  Ask them about their product and that you’re interested in trying it.  Ask them if they could send you samples, or if they have any special promotions, or if they have any coupons.  Or maybe even tell them you love their product, maybe they reward loyal customers (I haven’t tried that yet, but I plan to with a certain company).  I HIGHLY recommend calling as opposed to email though, I think you will get a much better response that way and are more likely to get some cool stuff!  (Also, this doesn’t apply to just baby stuff. I bet this would work on any product you like.)

Anyways, if you read through this whole thing, then thanks!  This has been my OBSESSION for the past few weeks.  Just ask Chaz.  It’s all I talk about and as the free stuff roles in, I sing a silly song and dance around, even if it’s just a dinky little 50cent off coupon.  I’m pretty sure he’s sick of it.  But whatever, I’m saving us money, so that should make him happy!

Oh yeah, and I do plan on posting who I contacted and what I received.  I just felt like this post was super long already, so I decided to split them up.  I’m working on the other post now!  Stay tuned… J YOU CAN SEE THAT POST BY CLICKING HERE!

UPDATE 3/25/14: Since having my 3rd child, my days have become more than just "life with twins."  So, I decided to move on over to a new blog!

Come check me out at!
My new blog deals with kids crafts and activities, mommy ups & downs, and what it's like to suddenly find myself as a 30-year-old widow with 3 kids under the age of 2.

So again, please stop by my new blog, and tell your friends too!

Thanks so much!

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