How to Combine Food Stamps and Grocery Coupons to Save Big

If you are a food stamps recipient, you may be wondering if you can combine food coupons from your local grocery store with your food stamps or whether the government will prevent you from doing so.

All recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, are entitled to store coupons like any other shopper. However, to use grocery coupons with your food stamps, you may want to learn some tips and tricks.

Unlike regular shoppers who use coupons at a variety of stores and items, recipients of food stamps do not have the same luxury. Electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, which are issued to food stamps recipients, are not accepted at every store. There are also restrictions on foods that recipients can buy with food stamps. Therefore, before you plan to use store coupons with your EBT card, you must know how to combine food stamps and coupons for maximum savings.

How Using Store Coupons is Different for Food Stamp Recipients

It is common for extreme couponers to use printable grocery coupons from a variety of different stores for many products. By doing so, they can usually find the best deals. However, if you are a food stamps recipient, you will most likely not be able to coupon shop the same way.

Related Article: Foods You Should Buy in Bulk

Because shopping with SNAP benefits has a variety of limitations, as EBT cards are not accepted in all grocery stores for all food items, food stamp users need to shop even smarter than extreme couponers. While most shoppers can use coupons on whatever they want, SNAP recipients should focus on the items they can purchase with their EBT card, and then see if they can afford anything extra with the help of grocery store coupons.

Plan Your Purchases

The first step to bundle food stamps and grocery coupons is to choose a grocery store where you feel comfortable shopping. First, find out their coupon policy and make sure that they accept EBT cards. Then, get copies of the coupons that the store offers to customers. Compare the coupons with foods that you usually purchase to see if there are any overlaps in order to create an accurate budget. By carefully planning trips to the grocery store with coupons, you could potentially double how many groceries you can buy while still saving money on food.

Determine the Local and State Taxes

When combining food coupons with food stamps, it is important to know that grocery stores that accept EBT cards will most likely charge you the taxes due on the products that you purchase with coupons. For example, if you purchase a food item with a grocery store coupon, you will most likely need to pay the taxes for the item, regardless if you are using your SNAP benefits.

To make sure that you use coupons and food stamps wisely, you will need to determine your local and state food taxes. By determining how much you will need to pay in taxes for food items you are using coupons for, you can better gauge your total.

Split Up Food and Non-Food Items

After you determine which food coupons you will use for your purchase, and how much you will be paying in taxes, it is time to divide your items.

To start, you will save time by separating the items in your cart before you reach the checkout line. When you purchase a combination of food and non-food products with coupons, your transaction may get tricky. Therefore, to make things easier, you should separate food and non-food products into two separate transactions. By doing so, you are making sure that the right coupon gets applied to the proper transaction.

Determine Which Items are Covered by Food Stamps

When you grocery shop using grocery coupons, you may find that you are purchasing food items that are not covered by food stamps. If this is the case, you may find that dividing your grocery cart into food and non-food products is not the right approach for you. Therefore, you may decide to split your order into items that are covered by food stamps and items that are not.

If you use grocery store coupons on foods that are not covered by food stamps, it tends to come off of your food stamps total. Meaning, that you end up paying more out of pocket. To avoid this problem, you will want to separate your items into two separate transactions.

For the first transaction, choose the items covered by food stamps. Before the transaction is complete, be sure to give the cashiers your coupons. Then, pay for the transaction with your EBT card. Now, you are ready to pay for the items that are not covered by food stamps. Once again, hand over any coupons for these products before you make a payment. Then, you can pay for the non-food items with whatever method you prefer, such as cash, debit or credit card, or personal check.

Combining food stamps and grocery store coupons does not need to be intimidating. Once you find the best method for you, you will discover that using both to purchase food is a breeze and a great way to save.

Related Article: What can I buy with food stamps?

It might also interest you: