Formula checks are used as a form of payment towards formula, and retailers deposit them as checks at a bank. They are not coupons. They are usually mailed to consumers who have signed up to receive offers from the various formula companies. You can sign up using the following links:
Formula checks are great for several reasons:
- They can have a high value. People have been known to receive checks for $10, $11 or $12!
- They can almost always be used on any size or form of that brand of formula. Bottles of pre-mixed Similac formula tend to run between $5 and $6 a bottle. If you have a $5 check, you can get the formula for less than $1.00. Of course, this bottle won't last you very long, so you'll have to make the decision on how to best spend the check.
- They can be combined with manufacturer coupons and store coupons! Since they are a form of payment, you can use a coupon in conjunction with them.
- They can be traded! It's in your best interest to sign up with all of the companies. If you are expecting, one formula may not agree with your baby, so you will have other checks to fall back on. If you don't use some from a particular brand, you can often trade them for the brand that you do use. You can find potential traders on coupon forums such as PinchingYourPennies, or by posting a “For Trade” advertisement on Craigslist.
- They can be used for specialty formula! Most checks that I have seen are generally good for any type of formula, as long as it's the right brand. If your baby is on a special, more expensive formula, work hard to obtain checks to help offset the cost. That stuff can be expensive!
While coupons for formula are rare, they do exist!
- Check your Sunday paper: Similac has recently started occasionally offering coupons in the coupon inserts in Sunday papers. While some have been for the pre-mixed “singles” a recent coupon was for $2.00 off a “tub” of Similac Advance.
- Check the packaging: I recently found coupons stuck to formula cans at both CVS and Babies R Us. These are generally intended to be used when puchasing the can of formula with the coupon on it.
- Be alert at the checkout: Many grocery stores and drug stores (including Walgreens) have Catalina machines that print coupons when you purchase certain products. Baby formula purchases generally produce a coupon, although it's usually for a competitor's brand. Even if you don't use that coupon, hold onto it for trading!
- Ask your doctor! I ask my pediatrician for formula samples every time we have an appointment. She always gives me at least two small cans, and I'm sure I'd get more if I asked for it! These samples are given to hospitals and clinics for free from the formula companies. I wish doctors just offered them, but it seems that you do have to ask to get them!
- Ask at the hospital before you're discharged. We left the hospital with our newborn and about 10 pre-mixed singles of Similac, plus a some premeasured “sticks” of formula that came in the Similac diaper bag we received. If they don't offer you any, make sure you ask for it! It doesn't cost the hospital any money, and you'll save money!
- Network. If you're in a parents group, you may be able to trade or just get formula samples that another parent isn't using.
According to Mayoclinic.com, “All infant formulas sold in the United States must meet the same nutrient standards set by the FDA. Although manufacturers may vary in their formula recipes, the FDA requires that all formulas contain the same nutrient density. ”
If you're still unsure, do a side-by-side comparison of your preferred brand-name formula to the comparable Target-brand formula at Target. You will be pleasantly surprised that they are very similar. Now, do a price comparison! The store-brand formulas are usually less than half the
price of brand-name formulas!
You can also be purchase formula checks on Ebay. The checks often sell for close to their face value, but it may be worth your while to check it out.
Craigslist can be a good venue to obtain formula checks. You can post a “wanted” ad on your local Craigslist site, or you can check and see if anyone is selling or giving away the checks that you want. I have obtained quite a few checks this way!
I am also not a doctor. Please follow your doctor's recommendations on brands and types of formulas to use.