All About SNAP
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All About SNAP

Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 at 12:12 pm
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SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  It is the new name for the federal Food Stamp Program.  Individual states might have a different name for the state version of the SNAP program.  SNAP provides healthy food for struggling families that are unable to afford to properly feed their families, even if they Print Grocery coupons.

The first federal Food Stamp Program started in 1939.  The program literally used colored stamps.  People who were “on relief” were able to buy orange food stamps that were equal their normal food expenditures.  For every $1.00 of orange stamps a person bought, they got $0.50 worth of blue stamps.  The orange stamps could be used to buy any food, but the blue ones could only be used to buy food that the Department of Agriculture considered to be “surplus”.

This was long before it became a common practice for people to receive Coupons in the mail and way before people could Print Grocery coupons from their home computers, like so many of us do today.  Between 1988 and 2004, the program switched from stamps to electronic benefit transfer.

Eligibility for SNAP depends on a certain number of factors.  It depends on the number of people in your household, your income, and your resources.  Those resources can include the amount of cash you  have on hand, the amount of money in your bank account.  It takes into account the money you earn from work, and how much you receive from Social Security, unemployment, Supplemental Security Income, and other government assistance programs.

It doesn’t take into account the simple things that people do to try and save money.  Go ahead and sign up for companies to send you Coupons in the mail.   It is perfectly fine for you to Print Grocery coupons and take them with you when you go shopping.  You can use coupons while you are receiving assistance from SNAP.

There are a wide variety of products that you can use SNAP benefits to purchase.  You can buy breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, and dairy products.  You are not restricted to certain brands, so you will be able to use the Coupons in the mail and the coupons that you find in your newspaper to purchase your favorite brand of cereal.

You cannot use SNAP to purchase alcohol, tobacco, pet foods, soap, paper products, household supplies, vitamins, medicines, hot foods, or food that is intended for people to eat while they are still in the store.  Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, ice cream, steak, seafood, and bakery cakes are SNAP eligible products.

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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.