If you plan to go back to work full-time after your baby is born and continue breastfeeding, a double electric breast pump can help you get the job done fast and efficiently and help maintain your milk supply. But the price tag — as much as $500 for a decked-out Medela — can be a budget buster, especially when you’re busy stocking up on other big-ticket baby items such as a crib, car seat and stroller. Fortunately, there are smart ways to save on this breast-feeding mommy’s must-have.
- Get a rental. Breastfeeding can be unpredictable, but renting a breast pump can help with the learning curve without requiring a major initial investment. Why not rent? Renting a breast pump is now free. Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans must cover the cost of renting a breast pump without requiring cost-sharing such as copays. Rental pumps are different from single-user pumps; they’re built to last for multiple users and designed to prevent cross-contamination. Each mom must supply her own collection kit to attach to the pump, and that’s covered by the Affordable Care Act, too. Check with a lactation consultant or the hospital where you plan to give birth for rental details. The downside? Rental pumps aren’t as portable as single-user purchase pumps so schlepping one to work might not be doable.
- Milk your FSA and HSA accounts. If you’d rather buy a breast pump and have a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health spending account (HSA) through your job, the cost of a breast pump is likely a covered expense. An FSA is a type of tax-advantaged financial account that allows an employee to set aside a portion of pre-tax earnings to pay for qualified medical expenses as established in the health plan. An HSA is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers enrolled in high-deductible health plans.Unlike HSAs, FSAs are use-it-or-lose it accounts. You have to spend the funds you allot for the account, up to $5,000 in most states, each year or lose the funds. FSAstore, an e-commerce site that’s stocked exclusively with products that are FSA-eligible, estimates that consumers collectively forfeit roughly $400 million back to employers each year because they didn’t deplete their FSAs by year’s end. Ouch! Buying a breast pump and other baby supplies through your FSA can help you avoid leaving money on the table. Before buying a breast pump, be sure to contact your employer to determine what’s covered under your specific FSA/HSA and the steps you need to take to be reimbursed. Check your health insurance policy, too. Maybe it covers the cost of a buying a breast pump.
- Put a breast pump on your baby registry. Hey, let other people buy a pump for you. If you feel funny registering for something so expensive in this economy, keep in mind that several well-wishers may pool their money, buying the pump as a group gift. Another alternative is to register for money at a site such as Deposit a Gift and use your monetary gifts to buy a breast pump on sale. Or, if nothing else, join a rebate site such as Ebates and get 2.5 to 3.5 percent back in cash on your breast pump investment.
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- 6 ways to save big on baby gear
- Save money by sharing toys at a toy co-op or library
- Consignment sales help you make money on kids’ stuff
- How to set up a money-saving child care co-op
- Does it pay to return to work post-baby? Do the math
- Free, hands-on craft workshops for kids