How to Use Coupons with the SNAP Program
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How to Use Coupons with the SNAP Program

Posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Fake CouponsPeople who are eligible for the SNAP program have very low income. It becomes very important to make the most of the benefits. Many people are unaware that a person can use coupons while they are using their SNAP benefits.

What is SNAP?
SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. It used to be called “food stamps” and once included actual stamps that people had to rip out of a booklet and hand to the cashier at the grocery store. Today, the stamps have been replaced by an EBT card.

SNAP is a program that helps people who meet certain financial criteria In other words, this is a program designed to help low-income people to obtain food.

What does SNAP cover?
There are limitations on what SNAP benefits can be used for. SNAP benefits can be used to buy breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, and dairy products. Any food that fits into those categories will be covered. It also covers seeds and plants to produce food for the household to eat.

There are also some things that SNAP benefits will not cover. SNAP won’t cover: beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco. It won’t cover pet food, soap, paper products, diapers, or household supplies, vitamins, medicines, or other “non-food items”.

How to use coupons with SNAP.
It is really easy to use coupons with SNAP benefits. First, make a grocery list like you usually would. Look for coupons that will help reduce the cost of the foods and non-alcoholic beverages on your list. Coupons can come from anywhere: online, Sunday newspaper inserts, or from the email you get from your favorite brands.

Bring those coupons with you to the grocery store. The coupons will help you spend less of your SNAP benefits than if you didn’t use any coupons at all. This could help stretch those benefits for another week.

Another really good idea is to use coupons for the items that SNAP doesn’t cover. Look for coupons on toilet paper, cleaning products, vitamins, and the other necessities that you cannot spend your SNAP benefits on. Doing so will help reduce the amount of money you need to spend “out of pocket” for the household items you need.

Read the weekly sales ads.
What’s on sale this week at your local grocery store? How do those sale prices compare to the sales at the other grocery stores? You can stretch your SNAP benefits a little bit further if you start by choosing the store that has the lowest prices for the items you need. Before you go, it is advisable that you make sure the grocery store will accept SNAP benefits.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.