Christine is sharing tips for how to use coupons when you are on food stamps to stretch your grocery budget further.
If you are one of millions of Americans who use the SNAP program (what used to be called “food stamps”) due to hard economical times, you may not know that you can save money with them by using coupons. Coupons are not only a great way to save but to build up a stock of free or nearly free food products and help you create less dependence on your small SNAP budget.
Couponing on Food Stamps (SNAP)
Couponing with food stamps is just like doing it without for the most part. The coupon is not a discount. It is like a form of payment since the manufacturer is paying the store back for items bought with coupons. It may be a little tricky if you are buying food and non-food items with coupons, though, so it may make more easier for you if you split up your food and non-food items into two separate purchases so you can make sure the proper coupon amounts get applied.
Learn your store's couponing policies. When couponing, whether with SNAP or not, it is important that you understand the store's policy and guidelines for couponing in their store. Some store allow doubling and others don't. Some only allow a certain amount of like coupons per transaction. Be aware that these policies change frequently, especially with the boom in couponing, so make sure to always keep up on them and bring a printed copy with you to the store so you can show a clerk who may not know the new policy.
Know that you can combine sales, manufacturer coupons and store coupons in most places to get the best deal. This often means you will get items for free and is a great way to stockpile staples like canned goods, soups, seasonal boxed items and so on.
Make sure you give the cashier your coupons first, before paying with your EBT card. If your card gets swiped, it is pretty much a done deal.
Shop around. It might be automatic for you to believe that Walmart has the lowest prices, but this is often not true at all. If you shop around, you may have to take longer at the store, but you will also find that when other stores have sales, they can be significantly lower than the retail giant. Plan your shopping trip by making a list of items you have coupons for, and then looking at the ads either online or in print and figuring out where you can go to get everything on your list at different stores for the best prices.
Don't assume the grocery stores have the best deals. Shopping at drug stores, who also accept food stamps in most cases, can reveal some great sales on staples like bread, cereal, soups and canned vegetables. You can often get great deals on things like frozen foods as well and these stores take coupons.
Use the Favado app to find the best sales at not only your local grocery stores, but also the best deals at dollar stores, drug stores, warehouse stores, and superstores. The Favado App requires a smart phone, if you don't have one, then find a blogger in your area that shares store sales and coupon matchups. It is a little more time consuming, but you canalso search your local store's website for the latest sales.
You don't have to buy a Sunday paper to find coupons. There are many coupons available online including both printable coupons and eCoupons. If you don't have a printer, ask a friend if you can print coupons on their printer. Most printable coupons can be printed twice, so you can offer to split the coupons with your friend and you can clip and organize their coupons in exchange for using their printer.
Sources of Printable Coupons:
- Coupons.com Printable Coupons
- SmartSource Printable Coupons
- RedPlum Printable Coupons
- Target Printable Coupons
Sources of Electronic or Mobile Coupons:
Sign up for rewards programs. Many stores now have rewards programs for frequent shoppers and you can get discounts on gas even if you are paying with food stamps because these programs tally the total spent, not how it was paid for. At pharmacies, you can enjoy points programs that can get you other non-food essentials such as toilet paper. If you combine with your coupons, you can really save a great amount.
Do you have any tips for helping SNAP budgets stretch further? I would love to hear your ideas!