I am a bargain hunter, have always been and probably always will be. I guess my momma taught me to be thrifty since an early age, being that she had 4 children under the age of 5 and all of us living in a 500 square foot house for the majority of our developmental years.
Last year, after having my first child, I planned to breastfeed her for as long as possible but ended up needing to supplement my supply with formula after about the 6th month. My budget was not prepared to handle the additional cost of formula, so I had to get “creative” in looking for deals on baby formula.
I tried pretty much all of the major brands, requesting samples and hunting for coupons online and off. I was happy to find out that my daughter pretty much let me change brands as any new deal came up, which was great. I never needed to try soy formula though, since her tummy allowed for regular blends. Since I was leery of cheaper brands, I started off with the major brands, but after trying a sample of Parent's Choice Baby Formula from Walmart, realized that they were pretty comparable with the major brands and my daughter would drink these formulas just as well as the popular major brands.
I found that an average family could save roughly $600 per year by switching to a baby formula like the store brand from Walmart. Luckily, my daughter is just about done with formula at a year old now, but I was happy to find that you don't have to spend an arm and a leg for baby formula. As long as your infant is tolerant of different brands, I'd say venture out and take a look at some of the lesser known brands before spending your whole budget on the “popular” formulas.
Just be sure to do your homework and check the labels and ingredients to make sure any new baby formula you try has all your doctor's and FDA recommended vitamins, minerals and nutrients.