I’m not sure the image that comes to your mind when you hear Food Stamps. Maybe it is a life saver that you are grateful for. Maybe you see people who are looking for a handout. Maybe you envision that half dressed mom at the grocery store with three dirty, screaming kids and carts full of junk food and beer. I’ve recently had a more humbler, hands on view of EBT (SNAP). We are in a tight spot right now and humbly in need of a little help. Being pregnant I can’t just go without. I need quality nutrients, and a lot more than normal. I see those people in the grocery store that I shamefully judge and now realize, they would probably spend it the same way if it came from their own hard earned cash. They buy junk food because that is what they know. I must admit, I’m a little ashamed when I pull out that card at the grocery store. Its hard. Admitting you need help. Feeling like you might be lumped into a category of irresponsible, lazy people. I now see that it isn’t a fair label. That while there may be some who misuse the system. It is a great help for those of us who are in need and have a reason to remain healthy and fed.(only 7 weeks left until he is here!)
Now with that said, I look at this precious gift as exactly that. A gift that was granted and could be taken away at anytime. I am so grateful for it and want to use it in the BEST possible way to feed me and my unborn child. I have found out a lot of amazing things that one can do to make the most of grocery shopping with an EBT card, and I’m so excited to share those with you.
*These may be different per state. I live in MAINE currently. Check with you DHS or State Regulations*
1.) You can use COUPONS!!! I have become a firm believer in coupons. I”m not extreme nor do I have a massive stockpile. I do however see a huge savings in planning and using coupons to buy my groceries. If you need some help getting started here are some great resources.
Complete Guide to Beginning Couponing
Krazy Coupon Lady
2.) You can shop at Wholesale Stores such as BJ’s, Bakery Outlet Stores, Sam’s Club, etc. They accept EBT and most memberships are worth the savings. Right now you can get a FREE 60 Trial membership to BJ’s. They also often have coupons for their members that you can combine with your regular coupons.
3.) You can shop at Farmer’s Markets. I’m not sure if EVERY Farmer’s Market accepts EBT, but many do. As a bonus the one near us also gives additional discounts to those purchasing with EBT. Fresh fruits and veggies for your family and giving back to the local farmer. Can you beat that?
4.) You can purchase fruit or vegetable bearing plants with your EBT card, including most herbs. I can’t wait to start a mini garden in our new kitchen. How amazing is it to have fresh veggies that you grew and one plant will produce food throughout the year.
5.) You can shop at your own pace. There is no need to stock up on the first of the month and then go without the last week. You can plan, stock up on on-sale items, purchase fresh produce weekly, and use it wisely as you would your own grocery money that you have budgeted.
I hope this post helps you make the most of your grocery shopping and helps you feed your family more healthy and efficiently.