7 Ways to Get More Out of Your Snap Benefits!

Your dollars lose a little more of their value with each passing day, thanks to the fastest rate of inflation in 40 years, and it appears that you spend more to get less with each trip to the grocery store.

For tens of millions of Americans who shop at supermarkets with their EBT cards, the question has been the same for months: how can I stretch my SNAP benefits?

Even in the best of circumstances, surviving the supermarket only on SNAP necessitates discipline, sacrifice, and a slew of difficult decisions.

Getting what you need in the grocery store with what you have on your EBT card is more difficult than it’s ever been in today’s world of high costs and tight money.

Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your benefits and checking off as many items on your shopping list as possible.

Avoid buying little, individually wrapped items in packs

Buying in bulk saves money per serving almost every time, and even little savings pile up over time for frequently used items. You can save $36.50 per year by paying just 10 cents less for something you consume every day.

It only makes sense if you have the space to store excess and are confident you will use it before it expires. Keep in mind that buying in bulk costs more upfront, and people who have a lot of something are more likely to overuse it, according to US News & World Report.

If you can’t buy in bulk, at the very least, avoid individually wrapped things, which almost always cost more per unit.

Before you go shopping, eat

More than a decade ago, Psychology Today reported on research presented at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior’s 2011 conference, which found that rises in the hunger hormone ghrelin motivated test subjects to shop for food regardless of price.

The journal referred to “don’t go shopping while you’re hungry” as “age-old counsel” even back then.

7 Ways to Get More Out of Your Snap Benefits!

Even the savviest shoppers are compelled to make poor judgments based on fleeting desires, not nutritional content or price, according to research published by the National Institutes of Health seven years later in 2018.

That same age-old counsel is more pertinent than ever in 2022, four years later.

Allow a meal plan to guide your purchases

You can save time, take the guesswork out of buying and cooking, prevent food waste, and, of course, save money by meal planning before you go to the store, whether you’re using an EBT card or not.

The fundamental concept is to plan recipes for X number of meals for X number of days — often a week — and then shop strategically for the components in those recipes.

Consider using one of the following meal planning/grocery shopping apps, all of which are available for free:

  • Prepear
  • Paprika
  • Mealime

Keep in mind that Eye Level equals Purchase Level

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the products in grocery shops that are most likely to catch buyers’ attention are situated 14.7 inches below eye level and up.

This isn’t surprising to product placement experts, who have long recognized the value of strategically positioning more expensive, branded products in the direction of the average-sized customer’s sight, especially on the right side.

“Eye level is buying level,” as the old supermarket(ing) adage goes

If you search 14.7 inches or more beneath any product that catches your eye, you’ll almost certainly find a comparable product with a lower price tag.

Learn to Love Legumes and Rethink Your Protein Choices

Adults require roughly seven grams of protein per day for every 20 pounds of body weight, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, but the source of that protein will affect how much you pay per gram.

Beans and other legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts, are virtually always the most cost-effective source of high-quality protein in the store.

Related Topics:

They’re also high in fiber, filling, adaptable, and can be purchased in bulk — either dry or canned — and stored for months or even years.

The grass family, which includes corn and all cereal grains, is second in significance, according to the US Forest Service. If you don’t like legumes, keep trying; with over 16,000 species to choose from, you could just haven’t met the right one yet.

Calculate the cost per gram of animal-based protein

Meat, fish, pig, and poultry are on the other end of the range. They’re the most expensive ways to get protein, but they’re not all equal in terms of price per gram. Because most fish has a lower density than most meat, it provides less protein by weight.

This method from VeryWellFit can help you determine the protein value of your per-pound purchases:

  • One gram of protein will normally cost less than a penny per pound — 0.9 cents to be exact — for every dollar spent.
  • Divide the price per pound by the number of grams of protein to get the cost per gram.

Everything in the formula is assumed to be edible. When comparing the cost per gram of a whole chicken vs. chicken cutlets, or a fillet vs. a bone-in cut of meat, you’ll need to adjust.

Make It Your Own

The USDA permits SNAP members to use their EBT cards to buy seeds to grow their own food, which is a little-known fact of the program.

SNAP can also be used to purchase edible plants such as oregano and mint, as well as food-producing plants such as cucumber bushes and tomato plants.

Plants and seeds can be purchased with your EBT card at any SNAP-approved supplier, including farmer’s markets. It’s one of the most cost-effective aspects of the program,

according to the USDA, for every dollar spent on fertilizer and seeds, you can raise $25 worth of food.