How To Get The Best Deal On A Breast Pump
OK, so this might seem a bit strange coming from a father and not a mother, but it turns out my wife and I got pretty creative when it came to purchasing our Medela breast pump. As you probably know, i can be one of the cheapest people on the planet almost to the point of an obsessive compulsive disorder. I painstakingly research any large purchases and scour the internet for deals and coupons. If it's an item that I can purchase used at a reasonable discount I most certainly do. However when it came to purchasing a breast pump for our newborn, the savings I was able to accumulate might surprise you!
Ahhh The Sales Pitch!
When my wife and I attended a breast feeding class together the lactation consultant was raving about one brand in particular: Medela. Apparently they are the Cadillac of breast pumps. Well, we are more or less a Ford Focus type of family, and not really that into bells and whistles, but something made this purchase a bit different. This particular brand came very highly recommended. It also just so happens that the hospital that we chose to deliver at actually sells this brand of products. Wait, did I just say the hospital sells something? Yepp, it turns out they are actual resellers of the Medela brand products.
As is turns out, the particular model (The Pump In Style Advanced) normally retails for around $300 at most retail outlets. If it was purchased through the hospital, they would let it go for $250. Not a bad deal when you think about it, $50 off the retail price isn't bad. In addition since it was a medical expense it would be sales tax free. One extra perk of purchasing it at the hospital is that I could be purchased on a Flex Spending card. If you have time, make sure you add some extra funds to your flex spending account if you want to go this route. It would be almost like spreading out the purchase price over 12 months and getting a payroll deduction. Not a bad idea if you can think that far ahead.
I Know, We'll Buy A Used One!
This was my initial thought... Until my wife totally smacked it down.. The "experts" including the manufacturers website state that you should never purchase a used breast pump. Apparently moisture, condensation, and expressed milk can actually accumulate in the home brand pumps and cause health issues. Well in retrospect I wish this is what we should have done. (GASP! I'm a horrible cheapskate parent! - Not Quite.) To humor me, my wife checked at a few local baby consignment shops and found the model she wanted for $80 used.
As it turns out used might be a great way to go and here's why: When we actually opened up our brand new out of the box pump, we registered it online to keep up with safety recall issues and what not from the manufacturer. We had to pry off the front cover and lo and behold it turns out the actual pumping diaphragm is completely sealed. That's right, its not like milk actually flows through this pump. heaven forbid some moisture or milk actually gets into the pump from a a previous user, it could be easily cleaned using some germicidal wipes.
If you go the used route, just buy new hoses and breast shields (I think they are shields anyway, I'm referring to the conical pieces that actually attach to the breast and nipple.) That could have potentially saved us a small fortune. Oh and if you have insurance, when you deliver at the hospital, be sure to tell them that you plan on breastfeeding and theta you will be purchasing a pump. We received a complete kit to be attached to a pump, shields, tubing and everything that was billed to our insurance. The used route is looking better and better.
Want To Save? Buy Some Diapers A Week Before
It turns out the best deal that we could get on this Medela pump was actually at Babies R Us. But we used a sneaky little tip that I bet you haven't read before. We purchased a few baby items about 2 weeks before we bout the pump. Why is this you might ask? It was because of the register coupons! It seems like every time we checkout at this store, we get a coupon for 20% off of one baby item. The coupon generally is "time shifted" meaning that it's good for about two weeks in the future. This is the retailers way of getting you to come back to their store at a later time. The coupon had a laundry list of items you couldn't use it for, including breast pump rentals. But it didn't exclude a breast pump purchase!
So now that $300 Medela Pump In Style Advance was now $240! A few bucks shy of the hospital purchase price. Granted I still had to pay for sales tax, but I still have a few tricks up my sleeve to help drive down the cost of this large purchase.
Lets go ahead and factor in the sales tax at this point. Local tax is 6.5% so this actually adds in $15.60 to the total. Now we're up to $255.60.
Other Payment Tips and Tricks!
As it turns out, one of my colleagues was kind enough to give my wife and I a gift card for the little one's arrival. My wife had already spent all the gift cards from the baby shower on other items that were needed for the nursery so this contribution was greatly appreciated! It was a nice $20 deduction from the overall cost of the pump. Great we're now down to $235.60!
Again, I'm the type of guy that likes to squeeze every pennies' worth of savings out of a purchase so I whipped out my Discover Card. I get 1% cash back on a purchase. I know it sounds trivial, but I'm all about the realized savings here.. That means I can technically deduct another $2.36 from the price. That brings us down to about $234.14
Also, don't forget if you are a part of the Rewards R Us loyalty program, you actually get a $5 off coupon quarterly for every $150 you spend.. Great, so now I just earned about $8 worth of rewards. Now the realized cost of the pump was $226.14!
Check For Rebates!
So I thought I was getting a great deal on the breast pump when I brought the realized price down to $226.14. It gets even better! While I was thumbing through some of the promotional material that we received from the hospital I was very surprised to find a breast pump rebate form at the back of a booklet.
Why do I find that so strange? Because it was a $15 rebate from Enfamil! This is the company that makes baby formula and is sorta like a competitor of natural breast milk. There was no purchase from Enfamil necessary, I just had to mail off the UPC code and a copy of the pump receipt for a $15 rebate! When factoring in the price of postage to send it in, the realized purchase price is now only $211.59!
Overall I went from a $318.44 total purchase (including sales tax) down to a realized price $211.59. This is over a 30% savings when everything is factored in. Sure some of the savings are discounts to be used at a later time, but we saved over $100 on the breast pump and being a new parent I don't have to tell you just how far that savings can stretch!