Baby food can be pricey, and adds to your growing list of expenses with a little one. Here are practical ways to save money on baby food, from parents who have been there.

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Feeding your baby solid food for the first time is a big developmental step—but it also means there is one more thing to add to your grocery list. With all the expenses you already have as a new parent, you shouldn't have to spend a ton of money on baby food—especially since there are plenty of ways to feed your baby simple, healthy, meals that don't cost you a fortune. Here are some easy ways to save money on baby food.

An image of a close up of baby food and spoon.
Credit: Getty Images.

Make your own baby food.

You probably have a lot on your plate as a new parent already, and making your own baby food at home might be daunting, but it can save you big on your grocery bill. "The idea of making my own baby food seemed overwhelming given everything I was trying to juggle as a working mom," savings expert Andrea Woroch tells Parents. "The reality is though, it's fairly simple," says Woroch. She suggests taking time to prep your baby's favorite foods ahead of time and freeze extras to heat and eat later. No need to spend money on fancy baby food-making gadgets either—Woroch suggests simply steaming some veggies and using a blender to make the food softer, or cutting it up into tiny pieces if your baby can feed themselves.

Kumiko Love, accredited financial counselor and owner The Budget Mom blog, says she learned how to make her own baby food when her son was a baby. "As a new mom, it gave me peace of mind knowing what was in my son's food, especially since he had a sensitive stomach. I just used seasonal fruits and veggies, used a stick blender, and then stored them in baby food containers in my freezer," explains Love.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are great for prepping baby food for later. "Frozen veggies are always available, so they are perfect if you want to cook up and puree a batch to freeze for baby," Teresa Britton, owner of the blog, Moms Who Save, tells Parents. "You can do the same with fruit—again, buy frozen fruit, thaw and puree, or buy fruit in season to save money," adds Britton. Sure, there will be times when you need you buy pre-made baby food from the store, but finding ways to cook more of your baby food at home can help you stay within budget.

Have your baby eat what your family is eating.

Have your baby eat what the rest of your family is eating—this is a great way to save money and cut down your time in the kitchen. "The next thing that ended up saving me money (and still does to this day) is recognizing that my son can eat what I eat," says Love. "After 10 months, I would puree any of the foods I was having with my meal (separating out a small portion before adding seasoning)," she adds.

Of course, it might not always be possible for your baby to eat what you're eating, especially if they have any food allergies. Still, you stand to save money (and time) by having them eat with you when possible. "A benefit of your baby eating what you eat, is that they will grow up to enjoy a wider variety of foods when they aren't limited to just a few "baby foods," says Britton.

Look for deals on baby food online and in-store, and stock up when you can.

The next time you go grocery shopping, look for deals on baby food, or prepare ahead of time by scoping out any deals on the store's website or on an app such as Ibotta. "I like to save on baby food the same way I save on food for the rest of the family—by shopping sales, using coupons and savings apps, and stocking up when there's a great deal,"says Britton. You can also check manufacturer's sites for coupons and deals on baby food. For example, Gerber often posts coupons for baby food on its Offers page, and signing up for the Beech Nut newsletter gives you access to discounts. Be sure to check coupon sites such as Coupon Cabin and RetailMeNot.

Most drugstores offer promotions and coupons when you sign up for their free membership programs. Get personalized coupons and cash-off deals with CVS's Extra Care program or become a Walgreens Balance Rewards member to earn points you can redeem for dollars off future purchases. Rite Aid also has a rewards program that allows you to save up points to put toward savings on future purchases. "Amazon offers discounts on regular shipments of baby food when you subscribe for auto-shipments," says Woroch. "In many cases, you can get a steep discount on the first order and then 5% off on subsequent shipments," she adds.

Another tip? Save yourself a few extra dollars and buy regular applesauce instead of "baby food" applesauce, suggests Britton. "Just look for the kind without the added sweeteners," says Britton.

When you come across these deals, stock up on your baby's favorite food items so you can save money. "Just be sure to check the expiration dates of whatever you buy to make sure you'll be able to use it in time," advises Britton. Also make sure it's a food your baby actually likes—you might save money buying in bulk, but it will go to waste if it's something your baby decides they suddenly don't like.